Jackie Robinson

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.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.