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Scenes from Spring Training: Photo of the Day

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Actually this was a photo of the night.  This is my friend Connor rocking the Expos gear last night:

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Also worth noting that I’ve hung out with Jonah Keri for a couple of days down here. Jonah grew up on the Expos and is writing an Expos book.  Between Connor and Jonah I think I have dined with a good 40% of the extant Montreal Expos fan base this week.

Bonus photo time!  This has nothing to do with baseball, but the basement of the restaurant Connor, Voros McCracken and I went to last night had this set up in a dark corner behind a chain link fence:

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Nope, not creepy at all. Didn’t have any nightmares last night, no siree!

Off to Phoenix Municipal Stadium to see the debut of Yoenis Cespedes.  Keep the dial tuned to HardballTalk, your home for interesting international free agent debuts and pictures of creepy dolls reenacting the Last Supper in scary basements.

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.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.