Brian Banks was a football player. He may be again if things break just right. But there’s also a chance his athletic career ended before it could even begin because he spent several years in prison serving time on a rape charge he didn’t commit.
If the multiple invitations for tryouts with NFL teams he has received don’t pan out, however, he could have himself a job with the Arizona Diamondbacks:
Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall is willing to wait for Brian Banks. Hall, in fact, hopes he has to. He would prefer not to hire Banks just yet. That is for an NFL team to do. But if circumstances present themselves in the future, count the D-backs among those who would welcome him with open arms.
Banks, a former star high school football player with NFL potential, last week was exonerated after losing 10 years of his life for a crime he did not commit. Hall was so taken by Banks’ composure and professionalism during a television interview afterward that he obtained Banks’ email address and fired off a job offer. If the time comes, they’ll find a fit.
“I just thought, ‘This guy needs a fresh start,’” Hall said.
There’s no way to replace the ten years of his life that were taken from him, but it looks now at least that Banks will be able to land on his feet even if the NFL doesn’t work out for him.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer homers in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.
Following the announcement of the 24-year-old’s death, Major League Baseball observed a moment of silence for José Fernández before each of today’s games. While this afternoon’s Marlins-Braves game was cancelled out of respect for the organization, Miami painted Fernández’s jersey number on the mound in honor of their former pitcher.
Other teams, like the Mets, Mariners, and Dodgers, chose to honor Fernández by hanging his No. 16 jersey in their dugout:
Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that David Ortiz‘s pregame retirement ceremony at Tropicana Field was canceled at the player’s request:
The Astros and Diamondbacks each displayed a personal tribute to Fernández, writing the number 16 on their caps and etching his number and initials in the bullpen:
Rest in peace, Fernández.