brandon phillips getty

NBC SportsTalk: Brandon Phillips confirms that, yes, Jared Hughes said something racist, but it’s all over now

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The ugly comment threads that developed following the Brandon Phillips-Jared Hughes posts yesterday were made ugly when a number of people decided — based on nothing other than their own preconceptions and prejudices, it seemed — that no, there’s no way Jared Hughes could have said something racist to Brandon Phillips. That it must be Phillips who is the racist, and he must by lying! Oh, and white folks are the real victims of racism these days.

You think that’s an exaggeration? Go back and read the comments if you have the stomach for it. I assure you, it’s not an exaggeration. People actually said that stuff.

However, Brandon Phillips went on NBC SportsTalk last night, and was interviewed by Erik Kuselias. The video is below. There are two takeaways from it:

(1) The issue is in the past, as he and Hughes talked it out, they came away with it with newfound respect for each other, and it’s over; BUT

(2) When asked point blank if something racist was said, he said yes, something racist was said (go to 1:50):

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Obviously this is over now. Phillips was surprised and understandably agitated about it on Monday night, as he noted it was the first time he had ever heard such a thing on the diamond. Despite this, Phillips is putting it in the past, made it clear that he’s not going to make a federal case out of it and wants to move on. Good for him for being so levelheaded. We should move on too.

But all of you guys who jumped to immediately scoff at the notion that something racist was said — the people who, it always seems, want to offer any remotely possible explanation for an event, however ridiculous, before acknowledging that racism still exists in this country — should take note.

It does exist, it does happen, and your desire to pretend otherwise — or, to go even further and actually claim that white people are the real victims of racism — is pretty frickin’ astounding.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.