Earl Weaver insists he’s not dead

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Earl Weaver is not dead. We know this because he says so.

This is contrary to a political column in the New York Times on Saturday, which referred to Weaver in the past tense. “Texas Democrats have become the Baltimore Orioles of politics,” wrote Ross Ramsey. “Somewhere in heaven, Earl Weaver and Ann Richards are comparing notes on what went wrong with the teams they left behind.”

Mike Klingaman of the Baltimore Sun called Weaver, 80, at his home in Florida to notify him of the bad news:

“I’ll be damned,” said the Hall of Famer, who managed the Orioles to four American League pennants and a World Series title. “All I can do is say, that’s false.

“I’m still here, although my knees have given out, so I don’t play golf anymore. I’ve always said that there were two places that I wouldn’t mind dying. One was Memorial Stadium; the other, the golf course.

“Now I’ve got to wait forever [to go], because both of those places are gone.”

That’s it? I have to admit I’m disappointed that Weaver’s response wasn’t a little more colorful.

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Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.