Pete Rose, Lance Armstrong and an obligatory mention of Manti Te’o

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I’m sure you wanted to know what Pete Rose thinks of the Lance Armstrong situation. Thankfully, he was on Today Show this morning and was asked about it:

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No word on his views of Manti Te’o.

Speaking of Armstrong, Rose and Te’o, it’s probably a good time to think hard about why our sports media keeps getting duped by lying athletes.  To that end, here is a great article from Poynter about how these things keep happening and how the media can most effectively address it.  As for how we ended up here in the first place. It’s not just lax fact-checking. It’s that baloney has is, in reality, a feature of sports coverage, not a bug:

But this relaxed approach to sports coverage — which certainly isn’t universal — is only part of the problem. More problematic these days is the fact that sports writers and producers are always on the hunt for a narrative, something that can elevate games above boring statistics and leaderboard shuffling.

All journalists love telling a good story, but sports coverage and presentation have become reliant on it. A game can’t just be a series of pre-prepared tactics and random interventions of chance. These days, it needs to be a clash of iconic personalities, the heroes of our modern mythology playing out their epic storylines one installment at a time.

We’ve been railing against that kind of thing in baseball for years. When we do, we’re often told that we don’t truly understand what’s going on if we don’t know the personalities and the drama involved.  Personally, I’m cool with staying away from that kind of drama.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.