Jackie Robinson statue defaced with swastikas, racial slurs

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Proof that there are some horrible, horrible people in the world: Vandals have defaced the famous statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese standing arm-in-arm outside the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium in Coney Island. Among the messages written on the statue: “Heil Hitler,” “Die n—-r,” “F–k n—-r” and “F–k Jackie Robinson.”

An NYPD spokesman tells NBC Sports that a black marker was used to write the racist statements, and that the matter is being investigated by the hate-crimes task force.

Billy Harner, director of communications for the Cyclones tells NBC Sports via e-mail that “Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese embody the humanity and inclusiveness that make our borough, city and country great.  It is both heartbreaking and deeply disturbing that this statue, which is a symbol of equality and tolerance, has been defaced in such an offensive and hateful way.”

As this picture shows, the Cyclones have covered up the base of the statue pending it being cleaned up.

Just atrocious.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics