Johnny Damon "definitely leaning toward staying" with Tigers

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Johnny Damon has until tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. ET to accept or decline a potential trade to the Red Sox, but said after last night’s game that he’s “definitely leaning towards staying” with the Tigers.
As part of the no-trade clause negotiated into the one-year, $8 million contract Damon signed with the Tigers in February he has the ability to nix a deal to 21 teams. That list includes the Red Sox, but interestingly does not include the Yankees or Rays, who were both blocked from possibly acquiring Damon when Boston put in a waiver claim for him.
Damon indicated to Jason Beck of MLB.com that he’s uncomfortable with the notion of both rejoining the Red Sox and playing the Yankees in a Boston uniform, saying: “What a scene that would be, playing for the Red Sox while the Yankees go there, and everybody there hates me. That’s the craziness that’s involved.”
Beck notes that “Damon’s issue with Boston appears to be the way things ended after the 2005 season” and the veteran outfielder also explained his preference for remaining in Detroit by saying: “I like to believe that we can still get back into this thing. Our schedule looks OK. We can definitely make a run.”
In reality the Tigers are below .500 and 10 games back in the AL Central, so “run” or not they’re definitely out of it. Damon has repeatedly said he loves playing in Detroit and would like to re-sign with the Tigers for next season, but as a free agent he’d still be able to do so even after accepting a move to Boston for the final six weeks.
Boston’s playoff chances aren’t particularly good either with the Red Sox back 5.5 games for both the AL East and Wild Card, but they have significantly higher odds of playing meaningful games deep into September. Accepting the move wouldn’t change Damon’s salary or status as an impending free agent, so either his love affair with the city of Detroit is truly extraordinary or the way he left Boston in 2005 makes him never, ever want to return there again. Because for a purely baseball move, accepting should be a no-brainer.

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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Associated Press
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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.

Jeremy Jeffress will enter rehab after Friday’s DWI arrest

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 23:  Jeremy Jeffress #23 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 23, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Texas 3-0.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress was arrested on Friday for driving while intoxicated (DWI). According to a report from WFAA-TV in Dallas, Jeffress changed lanes without signaling and almost hit a car. While he was undergoing sobriety tests, he could not keep his balance or stand on one leg. His blood-alcohol content registered at .115.

Major League Baseball has opted not to suspend Jeffress as he has voluntarily chosen to check into an inpatient rehabilitation clinic, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. He’s expected to spend about a month at the clinic, which is based in Houston. There is still a possibility Jeffress can rejoin the Rangers in time for the postseason.

Jeffress issued a statement, which Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provided:

This is not the first time Jeffress has had trouble with substance abuse. He was suspended 50 games in 2007 after testing positive for a second time for a drug of abuse, which was marijuana. He tested positive again in June 2009 and was suspended 100 games. It was later revealed that Jeffress suffers from juvenile epilepsy and he was self-medicating with marijuana.

Hopefully, his time in rehab helps him recover from substance abuse. Substance abuse is an issue about which people have a shortage of empathy, especially when it comes to celebrities, including athletes.

The Rangers acquired Jeffress along with catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers at the August 1 trade deadline. They sent prospects Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named to Milwaukee. In nine appearances with the Rangers, Jeffress has a 4.00 ERA and a 6/5 K/BB ratio.