Fired by Angels, Rally Monkey creator selling World Series ring

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Robert Castillo created the “Rally Monkey” in 2000 when he was the Angels’ production manager, but the team fired him in 2007 and he’s been out of work since. And now he’s trying to sell his World Series ring from 2002 for $19,000.

Here’s what Castillo told Darren Rovell of CNBC:

Having been out of work for nearly three years and unable to find work has left me in debt and on the brink of total financial ruin. The World Series ring is the only item I own of value. It’s been a long time now since I felt the goose bumps from a deafening crowd at the Big-A.

I’m just another statistic now. But when people walk into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and see a stuffed Rally Monkey doll in the case honoring the Angels championship, they will see that I truly left my mark in this world.

Prior to being fired Castillo spent 14 years in the Angels organization. I’m sure the team had their reasons for firing him, but it is sad to see a guy in such rough financial shape when the thing he created for his former employers is no doubt bringing in tons of merchandising revenue every season.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.