Bob Sheppard, The Voice of God: 1910-2010

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Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that longtime Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard passed away this morning at his home in New York.  He was 99.

No matter your team affiliation, it’s easy to recognize greatness.  And Sheppard was great, in every sense of the word.  A great person, a great personality, and, boy, what a voice.  As Peter Gammons notes, Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski once said:

“You’re not in the big leagues until Bob Sheppard announces your name.”

Sheppard officially retired from his post as the Yanks’ PA announcer in 2007, but his voice still resonates through the new Yankee Stadium and on the YES Network’s broadcasts.  In fact, shortstop Derek Jeter is still introduced by a voice recording of Sheppard to this day.  Sheppard took part in over 4,500 major league games in his 56-year career and Yankees legend Reggie Jackson famously dubbed him “The Voice of God.”

Sheppard will forever remain a part of the Yankees’ history and steps have been taken to maintain his legend far into the future.  This tribute video, run on “Bob Sheppard Day” in May of 2000, basically sums up the way he was embraced by athletes, managers and fans alike:

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.