Matt Garza calls out “fake fans” on Twitter

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As far as I can tell this is Matt Garza’s Twitter account. He keeps it locked which, all things considered, is not a bad move for an athlete who is actually going to use social media for social purposes as opposed to P.R. purposes.  He must allow a lot of people to follow him, reporters included, because Paul Sullivan of the Tribune reports that Garza told off some Cubs fans last week:

Most observant fans already have deemed the 2013 season a hopeless cause, despite their improved play against the lowly Marlins.

But rehabbing Cubs starter Matt Garza had enough of such talk last week, and went on a Twitter rant against what he termed “fake” fans “who do nothing but talk smack.” In one tweet, Garza wrote he was “just tired of the so-called diehards being negative! Negativity breeds negativity! So break the cycle.”

OK, that’s not exactly a Lee Elia moment, but it’s inspired by the same thing: negativity from Cubs fans.

Sullivan takes off from that to ask aloud what fans are supposed to feel about a clearly bad, but clearly rebuilding team. Is negativity cool? Should it all be leavened by an understanding of where the team is in the success cycle?  It’s an interesting conversation, even if the answer always does — and probably should — come back to “well, fans can feel whatever the hell they want. The team’s job is to get better.”

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.