Bobby Valentine is keeping busy

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Many thought that Bobby Valentine’s return from Japan would mean a manager’s job. Washington? Pass.  Cleveland?  Pass. Queens? Pending.  In the meantime, however, it’s good to see that he’s keeping busy:

Bobby Valentine has guided baseball teams to championship titles in faraway
countries, helped professional baseball players gain free agency rights
and won a National League pennant with the New York Mets. Now, the Stamford native will attempt to reform the city’s fire service.

Valentine, the hometown celebrity whose career in professional baseball brought him from manager of two Major League Baseball teams to the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, will join local fire
officials, attorneys and politicians on a group formed by Mayor Michael Pavia.
The group’s goal, the mayor said, is to improve the city’s fire service
after years of litigation, mistrust and dysfunction between the city
and its six fire departments.

My old man once headed up a similar task force with respect to ambulance services in Flint, Michigan back in the mid 70s. It bought him a bunch of headaches and even a few death threats from the people who didn’t much care to be reformed.  Eventually he said to hell with it.  Here’s hoping Bobby V. has better luck.

Especially considering that I have a vested interest in certain buildings in Stamford, Connecticut not burning down to the ground because of some bureaucratic snafu. No, I don’t work in Stamford, but I’ve got an NBC Sports fanny pack on order, it’s probably in a warehouse there right now and I’d hate to have something happen to it.

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.