Papi Claus

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Christmas Eve is a good day for stories about ballplayers doing philanthropic things. Though the stories tend to sound the same, the underlying message never gets old. And that’s especially true when the message involves David Ortiz dressed up like Santa Claus:

In many ways, Ortiz is like a Dominican Santa — gregarious in nature, large in stature and always looking to make young people smile.

“Kids, man, you can never go wrong when it comes to kids, you know what I’m saying?” Ortiz said. “Kids are like the future of life. You need to try to teach them how to do the right thing, even though they might not have what everybody would like as a kid. Any time you can bring happiness to kids, you have to.”

Click through to See Papi Claus. He looks pretty awesome.  But I wonder if he spits on both his hands and rubs them together before each kid gets on his lap.

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.