Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal receives threats after tweeting in support of Cardinals

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Bradley Beal, the No. 3 overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, was born in St. Louis, grew up there, and became the best high school basketball player in the city’s recent history at Chaminade College Prep.

Like most St. Louisans, his love for the Cardinals runs deep. Even while at the University of Florida for his one-and-done freshman campaign, Beal could often be spotted wearing a red fitted Cardinals hat.

But he now lives and works in Washington, D.C. and will head up a promising young Wizards backcourt this season alongside former University of Kentucky star John Wall. You can probably guess where this story is headed…

Beal sent out a congratulatory tweet — “STL turnupppp !!!” — after the Cardinals pulled off their stunning ninth-inning comeback Friday in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals. It swiftly brought on negative reaction from sports fans in and around the nation’s capital, including threats and requests that he be traded.

“People forget I’m from St. Louis!” Beal, who turned 19 years old on draft night, tried to explain in a follow-up tweet. “It was a great comeback for my home team, am I wrong for cheering them on?”

Beal spoke with Michael Lee of the Washington Post on Saturday about the reaction:

“I was hearing threats and everything, like, ‘Watch your back,’” Beal said. “People were like, ‘I’m not going to cheer for you.’ I was like, whatever. It was probably moreso the timing, but at the same time, it’s my city. It’s not going to affect the way I play. I got to do something to redeem myself, I guess. … Every time I stopped watching the game, they started [coming back]. They did it last year, and they came back and won. That’s how it is.”

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.