Matt Moore

With Alex Cobb down, Matt Moore is ready and willing to help the Rays

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In another organization, Matt Moore would likely already have arrived in the majors.  The 22-year-old was dominant right from the start in Double-A this year, going 8-3 with a 2.2o ERA and a 131/28 K/BB ratio in 102 1/3 innings.

The Rays, though, are probably more cautious with their pitching prospects than any club in baseball.  And it’s worked for them.  They could have called on Moore when Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis went down, but they kept him in Double-A and only recently promoted him to Triple-A Durham.

Moore, meanwhile, has gone about his business without complaint.  He struck out 10 and walked none in another win for Durham on Sunday.  In four starts in the International League, he’s gone 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA and a 39/5 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings.

The Rays again have an opening for Moore with Alex Cobb landing on the disabled list over the weekend due to numbness in his pitching hand.  Still, Cobb was the sixth man in a six-man rotation, and the Rays were looking to return to five starters anyway.  Besides, especially now that they’re 10 games back in the wild card, they may decide against giving Moore a look this year.

That’d be a shame, because the left-hander is probably the best pitching prospect in the minors at the moment and it’d be fun to see what he could do against AL East competition.  He’ll get his opportunity next season, but perhaps not in April or May.  Even discounting the financial incentives for holding prospects back. the Rays believe in taking their time with young pitchers.  Of course, they can only hold him back so long.  By 2013, David Price and Moore could form one of the game’s best one-two punches in the game.

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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Associated Press
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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.

Jeremy Jeffress will enter rehab after Friday’s DWI arrest

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 23:  Jeremy Jeffress #23 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 23, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Texas 3-0.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress was arrested on Friday for driving while intoxicated (DWI). According to a report from WFAA-TV in Dallas, Jeffress changed lanes without signaling and almost hit a car. While he was undergoing sobriety tests, he could not keep his balance or stand on one leg. His blood-alcohol content registered at .115.

Major League Baseball has opted not to suspend Jeffress as he has voluntarily chosen to check into an inpatient rehabilitation clinic, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. He’s expected to spend about a month at the clinic, which is based in Houston. There is still a possibility Jeffress can rejoin the Rangers in time for the postseason.

Jeffress issued a statement, which Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provided:

This is not the first time Jeffress has had trouble with substance abuse. He was suspended 50 games in 2007 after testing positive for a second time for a drug of abuse, which was marijuana. He tested positive again in June 2009 and was suspended 100 games. It was later revealed that Jeffress suffers from juvenile epilepsy and he was self-medicating with marijuana.

Hopefully, his time in rehab helps him recover from substance abuse. Substance abuse is an issue about which people have a shortage of empathy, especially when it comes to celebrities, including athletes.

The Rangers acquired Jeffress along with catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers at the August 1 trade deadline. They sent prospects Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named to Milwaukee. In nine appearances with the Rangers, Jeffress has a 4.00 ERA and a 6/5 K/BB ratio.