Two Rockies minor leaguers charged with first degree rape, face life in prison

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This is ugly and awful: Class A Asheville relief pitchers Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux were charged today with two counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree sex offense. From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

The alleged offenses involved one woman and happened in the early morning hours on Saturday at the players’ apartment on Ascot Point Circle, according to a police incident report and arrest warrants. Both players have been suspended from the baseball team.

Meaux was released from custody after posting a $100,000 bond, according to The Citizen-Times. Mason is still in Buncombe County jail. Both have been ordered not to leave North Carolina.  The Rockies have released a statement:

“The Colorado Rockies and their affiliate, the Asheville Tourists, are aware of the arrests and the very serious allegations made against two players, Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux,” the Rockies said in a statement Thursday night. “Each organization is shocked and deeply concerned about the allegations. At this time, the players have been suspended as the investigation and legal process continue.

“We are working with the authorities investigating the circumstances and issues surrounding the events and are awaiting further details and findings. Given that this is an ongoing legal investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment or speculate any further.”

As MiLB.com notes, Mason had a 3.38 ERA in 21 appearances this season. Meaux had a 0.90 ERA in 16 games but hadn’t pitched since May 24 due to a right-shoulder injury.  Each of them face life in prison without parole if convicted.

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.