Atlanta Braves Photo Day

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

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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.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.