Marx Lennon

Reader Dissent: “Craig, you are such a pinko communist tool”

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This is in response to the Luke Scott stuff, obviously. And I disagree with it even if the reader is 66% correct in his first sentence:

Craig, you are such a pinko communist tool.  You certainly are not qualified to comment on anyone’s beliefs, even those that aren’t part of the orchestrated drivel the “news” feeds us.  You are part of the mind feck that MSNBC and all those sites engage in.  The only sheep are those that don’t question the shite that is force-fed down Americans’ throats.  The fact that you use your sports blog on a major website to forward your political beliefs shows what a complete tool you are.  I would love for you to see Scott again and he kick the libel b.s. out of your arse to teach you some manners.

And no, I didn’t change his spelling. He used the cleaned-up version of the curse words on his own.  I appreciate that kind of courtesy.

As for the substance: sorry, but you don’t get to place “100% counter-factual assertions” into the category of “beliefs.”  A difference in beliefs would exist if Luke Scott was a passionate supporter of the Taft-Hartley Act and I, in contrast, believed that it was in conflict with important principles of our democratic society.  In that case, to each his own, and I don’t think anyone would be objecting to Scott’s statement today. But the assertion of something that is 100% factually incorrect gets no protection as the product of one’s belief system. Unless one’s belief system is premised on stupidity.

One other thing: someone asked me today why I think this is even blog-worthy.  The easy answer is that, well, it’s interesting, as the  response to it makes clear.  But I’ll give you an even deeper answer, and it has to do with athletes and how we view them as a society.

There are no public figures in life who are more lionized than professional athletes. They are presumed — without any reason other than their athletic exploits — to be role models before we know anything about them. Unlike other people, they are lauded as heroes for simply doing their job. The only people who deserve that kind of treatment are fireman, policemen, soldiers and the people in the business of saving lives, in my opinion.  While many athletes are admirable and wonderful people — and it always makes me happy when we learn that they are — many are given a status in our society that far outstrips their actual accomplishments simply by virtue of their ability to hit or throw or tackle or dunk.

As such, when one reveals himself to be aggressively and proudly ignorant regarding the issues of the day, yes, I do believe that is worth discussing in this forum, if for no other reason than to make the case that athletes are of little value to the public at large beyond the entertainment value they provide.  And they do provide a ton of entertainment. But let us not forget that we are their fans because of what they do on the field. Not because they’re smarter or better or more respectable than any of us are.

Not even Luke Scott, believe it or not.

The Mets are among six teams that help Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 19:  A detailed view of the blackboard with theoretical physics equations in chalk by Alberto Ramos, Theoretical Physics Fellow and visitor, Antonio Gonzalez-Arroyo from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (both not in frame) at The European Organization for Nuclear Research commonly know as CERN on April 19, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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In a special for USA TODAY Sports, Mike Vorkunov details how six teams — the Mets in particular — provide an education program that helps their Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas. It seems like an obvious win-win: smarter players make smarter decisions, making them more likely to achieve their potential as athletes. That, of course, requires spending money, which is why only six teams make the investment. For the players, if baseball doesn’t work out, they are better able to support themselves in other ways.

Vorkunov lists the Pirates, Tigers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners as the other teams who provide an education program for their Dominican prospects. We learned earlier this month that the Phillies were also investing in making sure their minor leaguers eat healthy. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “few teams” supply their minor league players with healthy food options.

Juan Henderson, the head of the Mets’ Dominican academy, said, “We see the benefit of it. I gotta tell you, we’re working with a new generation of baseball players. You see in the past that players just carry a bat and a glove and a helmet on the baseball field and in the academy. Those years, I think, are going to be pretty much over. Now they also do that, but they also carry books, they also carry an iPad, they also carry a laptop.”

Kudos to the six teams for making a great decision and here’s hoping the other 24 teams follow suit.

Video: Albert Pujols hits 569th career home run, tying Rafael Palmeiro

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 22:  Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 22, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
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Angels first baseman Albert Pujols cranked out a two-run home run in the third inning against Rangers starter Derek Holland, breaking a scoreless tie. It’s the ninth homer of the season for Pujols and the 569th of his career, putting him into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.

Harmon Killebrew is Pujols’ next target at 573, followed by Mark McGwire at 583 and Frank Robinson at 586.

Pujols hadn’t homered since May 13. He entered Monday night hitting a mediocre .228/.309/.395 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 188 plate appearances.

Alex Gordon to miss three to four weeks with a fractured scaphoid bone

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 22:  Alex Gordon #4 and Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals collide going for a foul ball against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on May 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Royals 3-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Monday has unfortunately been a day of injury news. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is the latest to hit the 15-day disabled list, as he has been diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. The club has recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha.

Gordon suffered the injury colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas attempting to catch a fly ball on Sunday afternoon. He is expected to miss three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.

Gordon was having a tough 2016 campaign and the injury only makes it worse. He’s hitting .211/.319/.331 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 166 plate appearances on the year.

The Royals will likely use Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando in left field in Gordon’s absence.

Orioles trade reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 17:  Brian Matusz #17 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning on May 17, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Orioles announced on Monday night that the club has traded reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves are also receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the 2016 draft.

Matusz, 29, made his season debut on April 23 after battling a back injury since early March. It’s been a struggle, as the lefty has yielded eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks with just one strikeout in six innings. He is earning $3.9 million and can become a free agent after the season.

MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to designate Matusz for assignment. Essentially, the Braves bought the draft pick for Matusz’s remaining salary of $3 million of $3.9 million total.

Barker, 23, has been pitching at Double-A Mississippi after getting a taste of Triple-A last year. So far this season, the right-hander has a 2.00 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings spanning eight starts and a relief appearance.

Belicek, a 23-year-old left-hander, has spent most of the year with Single-A Rome, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 29/1 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings over 11 relief appearances.