Brian Shouse retires. And it’s more significant than it seems

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Relief pitcher Brian Shouse, most recently of the Rays, has decided to retire.  Normally I’d skip over something minor like this, but Shouse’s career arc has a certain beauty to it.

Shouse was drafted by the Pirates in 1990. That’s when being drafted by the Pirates was a good thing.  In his first 12 years as a professional baseball player he pitched all of 13 games in the major leagues.  His odyssey through the minor leagues is truly something to behold. I bet he could recommend a place to eat in 95% of the cities in this country. Then, after converting into a sidearmer, he returned to the bigs in 2002 where he stayed through 2009. During that run he was a good and sometimes pretty damn good lefty specialist and middle relief man.

I could make jokes about how lefties never die, but even most rubber-armed lefties would have called it quits sometime before Shouse’s breakthrough in 2002.  There’s some serious work ethic and determination there. Shouse’s retirement is something that should not be left to a three-word entry in the “transactions” section on page C52 of your newspaper.

Nice career Brian Shouse. Kudos to you for sticking with it when most others would have packed it in a decade ago.  Enjoy your rest. You’ve earned it.

The St. Louis Cardinals announce their first Pride Night

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The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they will hold their first Pride Night on August 25th.

A lot of teams have Pride Nights, but it’s worth noting that the Cardinals are holding one given some bad press — some fair, some unfair — they have received in recent years when it comes to matters of diversity and inclusion.

Earlier this month the club received criticism from the LGBT community due to Lance Berkman’s presence for the team’s annual Christian Day, given his past comments about transgender people and his participation in a Houston political campaign over access to public restrooms. Recently, a former Cardinals minor league player claimed he left baseball after enduring anti-gay comments from his coaches and teammates.

As club president Bill DeWitt III noted in the official announcement however, the Cardinals have hosted LGBT groups in the past. He says that the club is eager to “remind fans that everyone is welcome at Busch Stadium.” He notes that the event will raise money for the PrideSTL Scholarship Fund which, in DeWitt’s words, “help courageous students in our community.”

Nice move, Cardinals.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.