fan rips ball out of hands

The guy who stole that home run ball in Boston being called “The Angel of Fenway”

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The guy who grabbed a home run ball out of a woman’s hand to throw it out onto the field, and who is reported to have called a black fan nearby “Trayvon” and “Prince Fielder’s crackhead brother” has a fan club! It’s the mouth-breathers over at Barstool Sports Boston, who have dubbed this fine gentleman “The Angel of Fenway” and are quite upset that anyone thinks differently of the guy.

Upset at me in particular, as they quoted my post about it at length under an old picture of me and accused me of overreacting. It’s not racist to tell a black guy to “go back to the ghetto,” the Barstool guy says. Really!

They took specific issue with me when when I implied that the guy taking the baseball from the woman could be construed as assault and battery. But hey, don’t take the lawyer’s word for it. Here’s some legal discourse that absolves the guy in their view:

Has there ever been a bigger overreaction to anything in the history of earth than this guy’s take on the “Angel of Fenway” throwing that ball back last night? Trying to insinuate that it was the same thing as stealing her cell phone? That it was assault and battery. Umm no it’s not.  This wasn’t preplanned. This guy wasn’t taking it for himself.   It was pure instinct.  He did what he thought was right in the heat of the moment.  He was making a point. At worst it was a dickhead move. At best he won the game.

I think it says everything about the impotent wannabes at sites like Barstool that they think this guy could have “won the game.” They’re the sort of fans who believe they are far more important than the really are. Who believe that their ridiculously over-the-top passion actually has impact beyond allowing them to enjoy the game and making themselves feel better.  But hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe these guys, and not David Ortiz won it! Don’t doubt Boston pride! You wouldn’t understand!

In other news, I would suggest they take their own advice and see what it does for them. Go out and commit some actual crimes sometime, dudes, and tell the police that it’s OK because you didn’t preplan it and it was all in the heat of the moment. I’m pretty sure that’s a total defense to everything ever. One more:

But to start comparing it to a real crime is so far off the reservation crazy that it’s mind boggling.

Yeah, no one would ever think that taking a ball out of another fan’s hand by force is a crime. Well, except for police:

A teenager was assaulted and robbed of the home run ball he claims he retrieved Wednesday during the Giants’ loss to the Boston Red Sox at AT&T Park, police said. The 16-year-old was in the standing-only section above Levi’s Landing in right field when he scrambled to fetch the seventh-inning home run hit by the Red Sox’s Stephen Drew, Officer Albie Esparza said Thursday … Right after the victim took possession of the baseball, the suspect allegedly tackled him from behind, twisted his wrist, then pried the ball away and fled, Esparza said.

There was some he-said, he-said about it all but the fact of the matter is that police considered the matter a potential criminal act.

Oh, and the fan in that incident? The one who had the ball allegedly taken from him? Red Sox fan. How much you wanna bet that the Barstool guys are far more critical of the ball-snatcher there?

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.