Earl Weaver: 1930-2013

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Sad news to pass along from Baltimore, as MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko reports that Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver passed away last night. He was 82 years old.

An iconic figure with the Orioles, Weaver compiled a 1,480-1,060 record over 17 seasons as the team’s manager. This included stints from 1968-1982 and from 1985-1986. Known for his unique wit and progressive baseball strategy, Weaver led the club to six American League East titles, four pennants and a World Series title in 1970.

Weaver is 22nd all-time in managerial wins and ninth all-time in winning percentage. His fiery personality often led to some legendary arguments with umpires. Only Bobby Cox and John McGraw were ejected in more games.

Weaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 while his No. 4 is one of six numbers retired by the Orioles. He was present last June when the Orioles unveiled a statue with his likeness at Camden Yards.

So long to a true baseball legend.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.