Bob Wickman used to throw up to make weight with the Yankees

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Before becoming as successful closer in his thirties Bob Wickman was a starter and then a middle reliever for the Yankees, debuting at age 23 in 1992.

Later in his career Wickman’s gut expanded significantly, but with the Yankees he was merely chubby (or perhaps even in The Best Shape Of His Life) and general manager Brian Cashman shared a story about how the right-hander used to throw up to meet the weight clause in his contract:

He had weight clauses. My recollection would be is, say, it was on the first and 15th or every five days he had to be a certain weight on a day, in season, when he is trying to pitch out of the bullpen he’s drinking water, sitting in saunas, dieting, doing everything he can to lose weight, maybe even sticking his finger down his throat to make the weight.

Then, all of a sudden, our manager might be asking him that day to pitch the seventh inning. You are not getting the real player at that point. You are getting a worn out, drawn out [player], trying to make a $30,000 bonus or whatever it was at the time. So I believe those things are counter-productive.

Cashman relayed that story in order to explain why the Yankees no longer enforce weight clauses for guys like CC Sabathia or Michael Pineda, but I’m pretty sure the image of a young Bob Wickman throwing up in the bullpen is what most people will remember. Seriously, try not to think about that. Just try.

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.