Jose Fernandez

Jose Fernandez one-hits the Nationals over seven innings

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Marlins starter Jose Fernandez padded his NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young cases with seven outstanding innings against the Nationals tonight, bringing a no-hitter into the sixth inning. The Nationals stood no chance, recording just one hit — a squibber down the third base line by pinch-hitter Zach Walters with one out in the sixth — against the Marlins’ rookie while striking out nine times.

Marlins manager Mike Redmond pulled Fernandez after seven as he had thrown 94 pitches. The team plans to shut Fernandez down after his next start, which could come on Wednesday against the Braves. With 165.2 innings pitched, a career-high at any professional level for the 21-year-old. He has struck out 182 batters and posted a 2.23 ERA, putting himself firmly in the NL Cy Young discussion along with Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Matt Harvey of the Mets. His biggest competitor for the NL Rookie of the Year award is Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers.

The Marlins gave Fernandez plenty of support, scoring five runs in three innings against Nationals starter Dan Haren. Logan Morrison crushed a two-run homer against Haren in the third inning, officially measured at 484 feet, a Marlins Park record. Giancarlo Stanton added a run in the eighth with a solo home run, his 19th of the season as the Fish went on to win 7-0. The Braves lost 2-1 to the Phillies, so the Nationals remain 14 games out of first place. The Reds won, dropping the Nats eight games out of the second Wild Card.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.