Neanderthal

Mets player: “most of us are still Neanderthals”

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Last month when I wrote about Charles Barkley’s comments on an active gay athlete coming out, I referred to those who would not be accepting of such a thing as “Neanderthals.”  Some people in the comments thought it was a low blow of me to refer to simple dumb bigots as “Neanderthals.” To each his own, I guess.

Know this, though, someone on the Mets agrees with me.  In a blog post by Andy Martino talking about Mets players’ mixed reaction to New York’s passage of gay marriage law, one anonymous Met said this:

As [Ron] Darling said the day before, most players felt that the professional sports locker room might not be ready to fully accept an openly gay athlete.  Asked why this was, one Met said, “Most of us are still Neanderthals.”

Know what? Between last month’s thing and this, I believe my strongest feelings about all of this have to do with my sense that the Neanderthals are being slandered. Neanderthals were actually pretty cool! They made advanced tools. They had complex social groups, were able to control fire, skinned animals and it is believed that they even had a language.

To suggest that someone who has enmity for another simply because of who they choose to* love is a “Neanderthal” is truly unfair to a species as evolved as the Neanderthal.

*Lazy choice of words on my part because obviously we don’t choose such things. If you differ on this point, I’d simply ask that you tell me the date on which you chose your sexual orientation before offering your comments. Thanks!

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.