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Pablo Sandoval walks off the Giants, Bryce Harper feared the wall

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Sounds like it was a wild game in San Francisco. Stephen Strasburg had a filthy changeup working and allowed only one run over seven, but the Giants came back. The first big hit: Gregor Blanco tripling in a run in the ninth.  The bigger hit: Pablo Sandoval hitting a two-run homer to walk it off in the tenth. The ball went 464 friggin’ feet.

But about that Blanco triple, get this:

Watch the play. Harper has a long way to run and a lot of guys likely miss that ball. But Harper does do a bit of a weird short-arm hop as the ball is getting to him. It’s hard to tell from the angle exactly how close he was to it. It’s possible that he just knew he was short and decided to cut off a leap and just get to the ball. But it’s also possible that, yes, he was feeling the wall, even though he wasn’t really close to it.

All of this, however, seems to be way less about fear vs. reckless abandon and more about Harper needing to get some confidence about where he is on the field at an unfamiliar park at any given time. I know the legend of his collision in Dodger Stadium is that he was sacrificing his body because he goes Mach 2 with his hair on fire all the time, but the fact is that he just didn’t know that he was that close to the fence. Same thing here.

So Bryce: don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not going to Triple-A. You’ve had a bad week on a crappy road trip. Get some reps and confidence on balls back over you head and get beyond this.

Giants sign catcher Nick Hundley

DENVER, CO - JUNE 07:  Nick Hundley #4 of the Colorado Rockies takes an at bat against the Miami Marlins at Coors Field on June 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.

Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.

MLB reorganizes its diversity and social responsibility leadership structure

Billy Bean
Associated Press
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Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority.  Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”

To that end:

  • Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
  • Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
  • Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.

Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”

While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.

Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.