Atlanta Braves Photo Day

Allegation: Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell made “shocking gay slurs” to fans at AT&T Park


So, the major league coach who celebrity attorney Gloria Allred was going to accuse of making homophobic slurs at a fan?  It’s Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell. From TMZ:

The coach in question is Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell — who allegedly targeted a group of male fans at San Francisco’s AT&T park last weekend … asking them, “Are you guys a homo couple or a threesome?”

This allegedly happened on Sunday. Allred contends that McDowell also made lewd gestures with a bat, and threatened one of the men — Justin Quinn — asking “how much do you think your teeth are worth?”  As reported this morning, Quinn had his daughters with him at the time and, after the homophobic comments, McDowell said “kids don’t belong at the f***ing ballpark.”  After this happened, Quinn complained to AT&T Park staff whom he said were “very attentive, and took it seriously.” He also filed a police report.

Quinn, his wife, and his daughters — twin nine-year-olds dressed in pink — were at today’s news conference, and Quinn and Allred reenacted the thing with the bat.

Allred said in the news conference that she wants baseball to fine McDowell and the Braves and is demanding that McDowell apologize to the fans who witnessed his alleged homophobic remarks.  If what she says happened is true, I can’t think that Major League Baseball or the Braves would think that sufficient. This is the kind of thing that could and maybe should get McDowell fired.

Remember, oh, 25 minutes ago when I said there was nothing cool about the Braves?  Yeah, that still holds, at least with respect to the pitching coach, at least if what Mr. Quinn is saying is true.

UPDATE: Major League Baseball has issued the following statement regarding the allegations:

“I was informed today that Roger McDowell, a coach of the Atlanta Braves, is being accused of engaging in highly inappropriate conduct toward fans at a game in San Francisco. Although I do not yet have all the factss regarding this incident, the allegations are very troubling to me. The Atlanta Braves have assured my office that they will immediately investigate the allegations, and report the results of the investigation to me. After I have all the facts, I will make a determination of how to proceed.”

In case it was not already clear: the allegations against McDowell are just that — allegations.  It is wise for everyone to wait and hear his side of the story before coming to any conclusions about what, if anything, occurred that would require any sort of action, be it legal or disciplinary or whatever.  That’s certainly what baseball seems to be doing.

UPDATE II:  McDowell has apologized and the Braves have made a statement as well.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.