Ronan Tynan has had a bad couple of months

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You’ll recall Ronan Tynan, the Irish tenor who used to sing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium.  You’ll also recall that Tynan ran into some trouble back in October, getting sacked from his Yankees gig as the result of some comments he made to a realtor about Jews looking at apartments in his building.  Will Leitch of New York Magazine caught up with Tynan recently and has the singer’s first public comments since the incident. It’s been a rough time for him.

I suppose my sympathy for the guy is dependent on whether his comments at the time are, as he claims, the result of a misunderstanding or a misguided attempt at a joke or, as was reported at the time, constituted some sort of racial slur.

Limited sympathy at best, of course, because as even Tynan said at the time, he was being stupid.  And though we may not particularly like the overly-sensitive world in which we live, the fact is that in this day and age, even casual remarks by barely public figures can turn into public relations issues if it even smells like it touches on race.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.