Was Bobby Cox messin' with Scott Olson's head?

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Scott Olsen.jpgScott Olsen had his no hitter broken up with one out in the top of the
eighth inning against the Braves.  If he had actually no-hit Atlanta, it would have been the second time on the young season that it happened (See, Jimenez, Ubaldo). That wouldn’t have been good. Indeed, after the game, Chipper Jones said “”I think if that would have happened you’d probably have to put us all
on suicide watch.”

Sounds to me like the Braves would have done anything to avoid that.  But would they have sunk to mind games, dirty tricks and general nefariousness?

That’s what the Nationals Enquirer blog thinks. After pointing out that Bobby Cox had the grounds crew come out to the mound to tamp it down and do a little maintenance a half-inning before the no-no was broken up, Nats’ Enquirer says:

Okay, so maybe in the grand scheme of things, this request by Bobby Cocks Cox and/or Tim
Hudson had nothing to do with David Ross breaking up the no-no an inning
later, but damn if that doesn’t appear to be a totally Bush League,
classless move.

Hurm. Though I’m sure mound
maintenance during a no-hitter is not printed somewhere in the unwritten rule book, I can’t say I know the politics of that sort of thing.  For what it’s worth, I scoured various Braves and Nats blogs this morning, as well as the game reports from the AJC, the Washington Post and MLB.com, and I couldn’t find a single mention of the mound tamping thing.

I’m not one of those guys who offers knee-jerk defenses of my team, but
in this case I’m not seeing it.  If any of you have any insight into this matter, by all means, I’d love to hear 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.