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Tim McCarver wins the Ford Frick Award for broadcasting excellence

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This tweet from Major League Baseball speaks for itself, so I’ll just let it speak:

Tim McCarver selected as recipient of Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by [The Baseball Hall of Fame].

Fine, go ahead and say what you want to say. I’ll defend McCarver, though.  While he hasn’t been at the top of his game for the past few years, he was a pretty fantastic color man for a long, long time and went a long way towards upping the intelligence of the discourse.

If you doubt me, go back and pull some tapes of games from the 70s and 80s if you can find them and listen to just how boring and basic the second banana’s commentary often is.  “Yeah, he really smoked that one,” passed for insight for a lot of guys back then. It seems obvious now, but McCarver’s ability to explain what is going to happen next and why was arguably revolutionary for the position.

My personal preference is a single-man booth. But I’m not necessarily the audience to whom a color commentator is aimed.  For those who do want a little more explanatory framework with their baseball viewing, McCarver has set a standard of sorts over his career, and is worthy of being honored.

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)
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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.