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The Elusive Citizens Bank Park Dumpster Hippie

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One of the better developments of the early season has been the return of The Fightins. It’s a great Phillies blog that had gone on hiatus for a while.  I missed them because they are one of the few Phillies voices out there that doesn’t obsess about how the world views Philly. Rather, they actually, you know, seem to have a lot of fun watching a great baseball team and don’t cry if someone disrespects the blog’s namesake. What a concept.

Oh, and then they do stuff like unleash The Elusive Citizens Bank Park Dumpster Hippie.  Which is pretty much what it sounds like. And be sure to read the second comment.

In other news, the Braves head to Philly for a big series this weekend. If Atlanta is going to at least try to make a race of it it’s pretty important that they do well.  If you’re looking for a nice preview of it, you can start at Crashburn Alley, who talks to Braves blogger Peter Hjort about the series.

My personal view: life is always better when the Bravos miss Roy Halladay.  Life is always worse when they face Cole Hamels. It’s not like there are a lot of good options in matching up, however.  That said, I like the way Atlanta is playing right now a hell of a lot better than they were the last time these two met.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.