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Previewing Saturday’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League

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Bored without some baseball games in your life? Well, I have good news for you. Some of the game’s top prospects will be featured in tonight’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League, which will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET.

The annual Rising Stars Game has proven to be a stepping stone for prospects since the game’s inception in 2006, as Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com notes that 72.6 percent of participants have gone on to play in the major leagues. Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Derek Norris and Mike Olt are among those who played in the game last year.

If we’re lucky, we might get to see Reds prospect Billy Hamilton run the bases tonight. The speedy 22-year-old set a professional baseball record with 155 stolen bases this year and is currently making the switch from shortstop to center field. Some other notable names to watch tonight include Tigers prospect third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos, Astros prospect first baseman Jonathan Singleton and Mariners prospect infielder Nick Franklin. Nationals prospect third baseman Anthony Rendon is a reserve for the East team while Mariners prospect catcher Mike Zunino, Cardinals prospect infielder Kolten Wong and Marlins prospect outfielder Christian Yelich are on the bench for the West. Cubs prospect shortstop Javier Baez likely would have participated, but he was recently forced to leave the Arizona Fall League due to a fractured thumb.

Jarred Cosart of the Astros is scheduled to start for the East team while Kyle Gibson of the Twins will get the call for the West squad, though they are unlikely to throw more than a couple of innings.

Below are the lineups for tonight’s game:

Rising Stars West: CF – Billy Hamilton (Reds), SS- Hak-Ju Lee (Rays), RF – Rymer Liriano, (Padres), 1B – Hunter Morris, (Brewers), 2B – Nick Franklin (Mariners), 3B- Cody Asche (Phillies), DH – Bryce Brentz (Red Sox), C – Tommy Joseph (Phillies), LF – Brian Fletcher (Royals)

Rising Stars East: LF – Brian Goodwin (Nationals), CF – Gary Brown (Giants), 1B – Jonathan Singleton, (Astros), DH – Nick Castellanos (Tigers), 3B – Kaleb Cowart (Angels), C – Austin Romine (Yankees), RF – Corey Dickerson (Rockies), 2B – David Adams (Yankees), SS – Chris Owings (Diamondbacks)

Ichiro was happy to see Pete Rose get defensive about his hits record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins warms-up during batting practice before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.

There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:

I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.

There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.

The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.

There will be no criminal charges arising out of Curt Schilling’s video game debacle

Curt Schilling
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In 2012 Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, delivered the fantasy role-playing game it had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours trying to deliver. And then the company folded, leaving both its employees and Rhode Island taxpayers, who underwrote much of the company’s operations via $75 million in loans, holding the bag.

The fallout to 38 Studios’ demise was more than what you see in your average business debacle. Rhode Island accused Schilling and his company of acts tantamount to fraud, claiming that it accepted tax dollars while withholding information about the true state of the company’s finances. Former employees, meanwhile, claimed — quite credibly, according to reports of the matter — that they too were lured to Rhode Island believing that their jobs were far more secure than they were. Many found themselves in extreme states of crisis when Schilling abruptly closed the company’s doors. For his part, Schilling has assailed Rhode Island politicians for using him as a scapegoat and a political punching bag in order to distract the public from their own misdeeds. There seems to be truth to everyone’s claims to some degree.

As a result of all of this, there have been several investigations and lawsuits into 38 Studios’ collapse. In 2012 the feds investigated the company and declined to bring charges. There is currently a civil lawsuit afoot and, alongside it, the State of Rhode Island has investigated for four years to see if anyone could be charged with a crime. Today there was an unexpected press conference in which it was revealed that, no, no one associated with 38 Studios will be charged with anything:

An eight-page explanation of the decision concluded by saying that “the quantity and qualify of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”

Schilling will likely crow about this on his various social media platforms, claiming it totally vindicates him. But, as he is a close watcher of any and all events related to Hillary Clinton, he no doubt knows that a long investigation resulting in a declination to file charges due to lack of evidence is not the same thing as a vindication. Bad judgment and poor management are still bad things, even if they’re not criminal matters.

Someone let me know if Schilling’s head explodes if and when someone points that out to him.