UPDATE: MLB and Chevrolet pull the “Silverado Strong” promotion

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UPDATE: Wiser heads have prevailed: the “Silverado Strong” promotion has been cancelled.

Michael Albano, Chevrolet Spokesperson issued the following statement:

“Earlier this year Chevrolet launched the all-new 2014 Silverado. The launch is supported by the campaign, “Strong”,  which celebrates the strength of hardworking, honest and dependable men and women. Chevy has carried this theme throughout the 2013 MLB Playoffs and the World Series. Chevrolet had planned to continue the campaign tonight through an interactive in-stadium promotion.  However, following today’s rehearsal we realized there was the possibility that we may offend some of the very fans we were trying to honor, for that reason Chevrolet and MLB decided to cancel the promotion.”

Well, whether Chevy had a campaign going beforehand isn’t the point. They can do whatever they want with the campaign. It’s the intersection of the “Silverado Strong” and “Boston Strong” in dueling on-field World Series promotions which was the problem.

Either way: that’s a smart call. Of course, how no one considered that this was tacky until just before game time is beyond me.

ST. LOUIS — When I got to the ballpark today I noticed a bunch of little pieces of cardboard on the lower level seats. Some down by the left and right field lines are clearly the MLB logo.  From where I’m sitting I can see the third base line and can clearly see the word “Strong.”  “Hmm, ‘Boston Strong,'” I thought? A nice gesture, but it seems a bit out of place in St. Louis.

But no, it’s not a tribute to Boston and its post-Marathon bombing recovery. It’s about trucks that are second to none. This pic via Reddit:

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From MLB.com, explaining it:

Leading into the top of the 3rd, Ozzie Smith will recognize Chevrolet’s commitment to growing youth baseball in a video played on the scoreboard. He will prompt fans in attendance to hold up placards in front of them, which will unveil an image of the words “Silverado Strong,” Chevrolet’s theme for the launch of the all-new 2014 Silverado, with the Chevrolet and MLB silhouetted batter logos on either side. The Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2013 World Series will receive a youth baseball field makeover in a U.S. location of their choice and a 2014 Silverado High Country. This is a continuation of Chevrolet’s year-long SILVERADO STRONG campaign. For more information, fans can visit ChevyBaseball.com.

Commitment to youth baseball is admirable. But the slogan and placards seem to be just as much if not more of a commitment to advertising Chevy trucks.  And while the city of Boston doesn’t have a trademark on the word “strong,” they did have the words displayed on their field first, and for purposes that don’t mix the good cause with the commerce:

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Wondering how the folks in Boston will take this. Wondering whether anyone at MLB or Chevy realized that, maybe, this wasn’t the greatest idea when it comes to large, on-field sloganeering.

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.

There was apparently some miscommunication between Pete Mackanin and Pat Neshek

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The Phillies won their first game since last Thursday, beating the Cardinals 5-1 on Thursday afternoon. Starter Aaron Nola pitched into the eighth inning, but left with one out. Pat Neshek took the mound with a runner on first base and induced an inning-ending double play on a 3-1 count to Tommy Pham.

Given that Neshek only threw five pitches and the Phillies were staked to a four-run lead, it wouldn’t have seemed unreasonable if the sidewinding right-hander came back out to finish the ninth inning as well. But Luis Garcia had that honor, tossing a scoreless final frame to nail down the win in a non-save situation.

After the game, manager Pete Mackanin said he asked Neshek to go back out for the ninth, but Neshek didn’t want to, per Stephen Gross of the Morning Call. Neshek told the media that Mackanin never asked him. There was also a miscommunication on Wednesday. The combination of Joaquin Benoit, Hector Neris, and Edubray Ramos combined to allow four runs in 2 1/3 innings, helping the Phillies lose 7-6. Neshek never appeared. According to Mackanin, Neshek told him that he wasn’t available to pitch. Neshek said he was told he’d have the day off.

The disconnect between Mackanin and Neshek could speak to a larger divide between the manager and his failing team. The Phillies have underwhelmed across the board due to players like Odubel Herrera (whose head was down and did not see Juan Samuel’s stop sign last night in what became a base running blunder), Maikel Franco, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola (today’s start notwithstanding), and Hector Neris not living up to expectations. The Phillies signed Mackanin to a contract extension last month, but the team has completely fallen apart since then and the latest communications issues certainly don’t reflect well on him. Neither does last night’s travesty of a game.

As for Neshek, he said that going to the Phillies was “the best thing that happened to me in a few years” but also realized, given the state of the team, that it remains very likely he winds up in a new uniform by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. After Thursday’s performance, Neshek is carrying a 0.63 ERA with a 25/4 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings. He very well could be the Phillies’ lone representative at the All-Star Game in Miami next month. That is, if he’s still wearing their uniform. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals have shown interest in Neshek.