Washington Nationals Photo Day

Elijah Dukes is now a rapper. And he used to smoke weed before Nats games.

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The guys over at Nationals Enquirer directed my attention to this Tampa Tribune story about former Rays and Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes.  Seems that Dukes is now a rapper known as “Fly Eli.”  He’s got an album ready to drop, as the kids say, and has concerts scheduled and all of that.  Oh, and like Jose Canseco, he believes Major League Baseball has blackballed him:

In several interviews, including one at his home and one at the studio, Dukes talked about how the police are out to get him, the difficulties of being a black athlete in Tampa and how he was “thrown under the bus” by Major League Baseball.

He says he was blackballed by baseball after he came forward last year with allegations that fellow ball players were smuggling drugs onto chartered aircraft, using drugs in hotel rooms after flights and how he would sometimes smoke marijuana before home games when he played for the Washington Nationals.

Maybe Elijah Dukes was exposing wrongdoing.  But Dukes was also given a bunch of chances by Major League Baseball and he always — always — ended up alienating his teammates or worse. There was promise there once, but he was never worth the baggage, and I find it rather hard to believe that baseball went after Elijah Dukes the whistleblower as opposed to simply cutting ties with Elijah Dukes the enormous pain in the ass.

But hey, good luck storming the hip-hop charts, Fly Eli.

Corey Dickerson has lost 25 pounds

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Corey Dickerson #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo during the Rays' photo day on February 25, 2016 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.

Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!