Chipper Jones is filling his retirement with activities. Like getting involved in a Twitter battle. The short version:
- A former Deadspin writer named Pete Gaines tweeted some insults at Jones, telling him to “go do some adultery and steroids.” It doesn’t seem to have been a situation where Jones did anything to instigate it. He just tweeted some stuff about a college basketball game and Gaines, by his own admission, may have been “miffed that Jones’ mere presence happened across my Twitter timeline.” Thus the insult.
- Jones tweeted stuff back at Gaines, calling him “an ignorant, balding, overweight dumbass,” and taking a cheap shot at Gaines’ fiancee, who appears in his avatar. Because Jones has over a quarter of a million twitter followers, many of his followers went after Gaines too. It’s a tale as old as, well, at least as old as Twitter.
- Yesterday, Gaines wrote a column in The Classical, explaining the situation and accusing Jones of “cyberbullying.” Jones saw the column today, retweeted it, and then let loose a bit on Gaines once again.
No one looks great here. Gaines likely never would have taken a gratuitous shot at Jones if he wasn’t famous and, like a lot of internet commenters and folks on Twitter, likely felt, on some level, like his words don’t matter as long as the target is big enough or there remained a fair chance they wouldn’t be read. At least Gaines’ admits in his column that he behaved poorly.
But Jones’ stuff — particularly the shot at Gaines’ fiancee — was low rent, uncalled for and, above all else, inexplicable. You’re a big famous ballplayer. If someone is being immature and rude, how about ignoring them? You took jeers from the worst of the worst for 20 years and you decide to go off on some guy on Twitter? Really? And even Jones’ defense — that he was just dishing back what was given him — rings hollow given that Gaines was just being an ass to Jones while Jones — after returning the favor to Gaines — decided to escalate by picking on the guy’s fiancee.
The Internet: yes it’s newish to some. And yes it has changed a lot. But it doesn’t, as far as I know, trump the “don’t be a jerk to people” rule. Amazing how many people forget that.
In a special for USA TODAY Sports, Mike Vorkunov details how six teams — the Mets in particular — provide an education program that helps their Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas. It seems like an obvious win-win: smarter players make smarter decisions, making them more likely to achieve their potential as athletes. That, of course, requires spending money, which is why only six teams make the investment. For the players, if baseball doesn’t work out, they are better able to support themselves in other ways.
Vorkunov lists the Pirates, Tigers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners as the other teams who provide an education program for their Dominican prospects. We learned earlier this month that the Phillies were also investing in making sure their minor leaguers eat healthy. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “few teams” supply their minor league players with healthy food options.
Juan Henderson, the head of the Mets’ Dominican academy, said, “We see the benefit of it. I gotta tell you, we’re working with a new generation of baseball players. You see in the past that players just carry a bat and a glove and a helmet on the baseball field and in the academy. Those years, I think, are going to be pretty much over. Now they also do that, but they also carry books, they also carry an iPad, they also carry a laptop.”
Kudos to the six teams for making a great decision and here’s hoping the other 24 teams follow suit.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols cranked out a two-run home run in the third inning against Rangers starter Derek Holland, breaking a scoreless tie. It’s the ninth homer of the season for Pujols and the 569th of his career, putting him into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.
Harmon Killebrew is Pujols’ next target at 573, followed by Mark McGwire at 583 and Frank Robinson at 586.
Pujols hadn’t homered since May 13. He entered Monday night hitting a mediocre .228/.309/.395 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 188 plate appearances.
Monday has unfortunately been a day of injury news. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is the latest to hit the 15-day disabled list, as he has been diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. The club has recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha.
Gordon suffered the injury colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas attempting to catch a fly ball on Sunday afternoon. He is expected to miss three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
Gordon was having a tough 2016 campaign and the injury only makes it worse. He’s hitting .211/.319/.331 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 166 plate appearances on the year.
The Royals will likely use Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando in left field in Gordon’s absence.
The Orioles announced on Monday night that the club has traded reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves are also receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the 2016 draft.
Matusz, 29, made his season debut on April 23 after battling a back injury since early March. It’s been a struggle, as the lefty has yielded eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks with just one strikeout in six innings. He is earning $3.9 million and can become a free agent after the season.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to designate Matusz for assignment. Essentially, the Braves bought the draft pick for Matusz’s remaining salary of $3 million of $3.9 million total.
Barker, 23, has been pitching at Double-A Mississippi after getting a taste of Triple-A last year. So far this season, the right-hander has a 2.00 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings spanning eight starts and a relief appearance.
Belicek, a 23-year-old left-hander, has spent most of the year with Single-A Rome, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 29/1 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings over 11 relief appearances.