The Rangers give Ron Washington a 26 year-old GM product as a thank you

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I kid the GM people!  It’s just that I lived in Flint, Michigan for the first 11 years of my life and was surrounded by people — and continue to be in contact with many of them — who act as if General Motors didn’t make some pretty awful cars in the 1980s. And not just that, they treated you (i.e. my old man) like he had committed treason for buying a 1980 Toyota Supra back in the day.  As if he were trying to betray the auto industry. Pshaw! It’s just that he was entering his midlife crisis years, needed a peppy little sports car and couldn’t afford a Corvette thanks to the UAW blowing up the cost structure with their cushy, industry-killing demands!

Wait, I may have lost the thread there.  Never mind. The point here is that Ron Washington had a customized 1985 Cadillac Eldorado that he loved more than life itself which he lost in Hurricane Katrina. As a gesture of gratitude for the 2010 pennant, the Rangers tracked down one just like it, had it customized and presented it to Washington as a gift, and he is over-the-moon happy about it. Which is beyond cool.

Don’t laugh at Washington for loving that car. We all have irrational loves when it comes to vehicles. The car that I loved the most in my life was my 1987 Chevy Cavalier RS. Midnight blue. Got it before my senior year of high school and kept it through college. Despite it, you know, being a 1987 Chevy Cavalier RS, it ran like a top. And I didn’t care if the paint faded the hell off it in no time, a phenomenon with which anyone who owned a blue 1980s Chevy product is intimately familiar. It was my car, man. I loved that car. If they all hadn’t rusted out years ago, I’d buy another one in a second.

And no, that has nothing to do with the fact that I am the same age my dad was around the time he bought that 1980 Supra.  No midlife crisis here, no-siree, nope!

Kris Bryant on Joey Votto: “He’s the best player ever … He’s a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

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The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”

Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”

Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.

Video: Daniel Descalso hits D-Backs’ third inside-the-park homer of the season

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Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.

It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.