Bill Madden is still talking about Alex Rodriguez for some reason

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It’s almost admirable to see a guy who has been as wrong on an issue as Bill Madden of the Daily News has been on A-Rod keep plugging away at it anyway.

Over the summer Madden reported that A-Rod was looking for a way to retire. He did not retire. He reported that A-Rod was physically disabled and would likely take a disablement retirement. He came back anyway. Madden said he was done as a baseball player and would be a distraction. A-Rod played pretty well there for a while and basically disappeared from the headlines as the Yankees played their best baseball of the season. I mean, he’s the equivalent of, like, 0-for-130 when it comes to handicapping Alex Rodriguez’s situation.

Yet he carries on nonetheless! Yesterday he wrote that A-Rod is freaked out about his upcoming hearing, that the hearing is the reason he’s finishing poorly and, well, just look:

…According to one source in the know, despite his blowhard lawyer Joe Tacopina’s bravado that Rodriguez doesn’t deserve even one day of suspension, A-Rod “is terrified” about the hearing on his 211-game drug suspension that begins Monday in New York. According to the source, that might partly explain the recent 3-for-17 (.081) slump in which he’s looked so helpless … He needs to get a grip on reality — which is that he’s finished as a player and guilty as charged as a serial steroids cheat. His best option now is to try and make a deal with MLB, so at least all the lurid details of just how guilty he is and how much he betrayed Don Hooton’s kids may never come out.

That comes after paragraphs in which Madden gives uncritical and unchallenged voice to “baseball people” hating on A-Rod for being unselfish and not just taking his ridiculous 211-game suspension without question. I mean he could have, I dunno, speculated what might have happened if A-Rod was given a more proportional suspension rather than been forced into an appeal by MLB, but that would totally kill his A-Rod is the Antichrist schtick.

Oh, and as for that “A-Rod should make a deal” stuff? That kinda flies in the face of Madden’s “MLB will not make a deal with A-Rod” stuff from a month or two ago.

But keep on fighting the good fight, Bill. As anyone in a serious slump will tell you, you just gotta play through it.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.

The Rays gave Seth Smith a little league homer last night

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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:

Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.

Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.

Watch:

 

I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.

Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.