Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera hinting at retirement after this season?

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Mariano Rivera was asked this morning if this will be his final season and the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer gave an interesting answer: “I know now, but I don’t have to tell you.”

Different reporters had different takes on exactly what that implied, but Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger thinks Rivera was hinting at retirement. Carig wrote: “He wouldn’t say it straight out but Mariano Rivera sounded like a man at the start of a farewell tour.”

If true that would be pretty huge news and, while Rivera might think he can dance around the topic for now, it’s tough to imagine the constant spotlight of the New York media won’t eventually get him to address it further.

Rivera has yet to experience a decline in his performance, saving 44 games with a 1.91 ERA and 60/8 K/BB ratio in 61 innings last season. It was the eighth time in the past nine years that he’s posted a sub-2.00 ERA and the 7.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was the second-best of his entire career.

I’m about as far from a Yankees fan as someone can be, but selfishly I’d sure love to see Rivera keep pitching until he at least ceases being amazingly dominant. Which, knowing him, might be 2017 or so.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.