The Mariners will be the first team to fly a Gay Pride Flag at a game this Sunday

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It’s the time of the year when many cities hold their Pride parade and festivals, and Seattle’s honorary Pride parade is going on this Sunday. In honor of it the Seattle Mariners are going to raise the Pride Flag. They’ll be the first-ever baseball team to do so at a game. From Seattle Out & Proud:

While the Mariners play against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday June 30, Safeco Field will fly the rainbow Pride flag, making Major League Baseball history as the first MLB Team to publicly fly the Pride flag at a game … Rebecca Hale, Director of Public Information for the Mariners told Seattle Out & Proud this morning, “We’re a part of this community. Our fans are a reflection of our community. We thought this was an appropriate gesture on a day that is very meaningful to the LGBT community.”

This comes on the same day when, in case you hadn’t noticed, the Supreme Court issued a couple of big decisions today about gay marriage, so there is double the reason to celebrate.

If you care, my legal take on the opinions: the Defense of Marriage Act case seemed like a no-brainer Equal Protection case which the majority got right, even if it did shy away from the formalized strict-scrutiny analysis we have come to expect in Equal Protection cases. The law’s stated basis was essentially that homosexuality is wrong and icky and those people shouldn’t be able to do what other people can do. You have to make a much greater showing than that to treat one group of people differently than others under the law, and obviously no one ever bothered with that with DOMA.

The Prop 8 case from California had way weirder legal reasoning. Reasoning to do with standing that I think was erroneous and was picked up by the Court in an effort to skirt the issue of making a sweeping federal ruling about gay marriage. I feel like if they said there was standing and took it on that the Defense of Marriage Act majority may well have come to a pro-gay marriage ruling there too, but it didn’t happen. This means a good outcome but for odd legal reasons, which always makes me uncomfortable.

But yes: good outcomes. What my ex-wife and I did to marriage was way worse than anything gay people will do to it, and if they let us get married everyone should be allowed to.

But in all seriousness: People should be able to marry who they love. And I’m happy that today that is attainable for many more people than it was yesterday.

(via SBNation)

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.