In Missouri, opium not as bad as steroids

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Let this be a lesson to you children: If you take steroids, you will never have a highway named after you.

In the wake of Mark McGwire’s admission that he took performance enhancing drugs, the Missouri Senate has decided that the stretch of I-70 in St. Louis – which runs near a stadium named after a beer company, by the way – should no longer be known as Mark McGwire Highway.

The bill, which would also name sections of other highways after noted (and presumably non-doping) Missourians, was passed by unanimous vote on Monday. It will now move to the House to waste yet more taxpayer dollars.

The hard part of this whole endeavor, of course, will be deciding whose names to put on all these highways.

Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia asked if those getting the honors were alive or dead. Schaefer says it might be wise to name roads only for the deceased, because they can’t do something worth changing the name over one day.

So there is a ray of hope for McGwire should he turn his life around in his remaining days on Earth. It’s also a practical plan, as dead people rarely go out of their way to ruin reputations, including their own.

The Senate proposes that the McGwire Highway should instead be named after Mark Twain, the legendary and beloved writer who was … ummm … also known to … err … frequent opium dens in San Francisco.

*Awkward silence*

Uh oh. Crap. Now what? Don’t tell anyone about that.

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Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.