Wanna buy some All-Star Game-themed wine?

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN — I was walking through the hotel where the player interviews and media availabilities and all of that noise and decided to give it all a miss. News flash: the players are all happy and honored to be here. They’re soaking it all in, etc.

But over at the hotel bar was something interesting:

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Yup, the Midsummer Classic now has a wine. I inquired about it from Shawna Keen, here, and got the info:

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This is new for Major League Baseball, as it’s the first time they’ve actually licensed a wine. You may recall that there were some baseball player-themed wines a few years ago like “Manny Being Manny Merlot” and things like that, but that was not officially licensed. And, if you were one of the people who tasted some of that stuff, you will be happy to know that it’s completely different wine. The old stuff was well-intentioned, but it tasted pretty vile.

Shawna told me that the All-Star Game wine (and some other, team-themed wines coming soon) is sourced from a grape grower in California that also sources many of California’s top wineries including BV, Duckhorn, Cakebread, and Merryvale. They’re obviously selling this to people interested in the logos and the novelty of it all, but they want the wine to be something you’d actually drink.

And of course, I’m not the sort who is content to take people’s word for this sort of thing, so I put it to the test. First, the sniff test:

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Then the taste:

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The verdict: pretty darn good. I don’t think you’d want to give it to that smug cousin of yours who took three trips to Napa Valley and now acts like drinking anything under $50 a bottle is beneath him, but for the non-unctuous among us, it’s pretty darn good.’

If you’re interested in it, go check out MLB’s wine page. Which, yes, is a thing.

So, beer down and now wine down. Anyone got any whiskey around this place?

Josh Harrison wants out of Pittsburgh

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In the wake of the Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole trades, Pirates infielder Josh Harrison released a statement to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic today in which he said he’d like to be traded if the Pirates are going to rebuild over the next couple of years.

Harrison said “If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded,” He couched it all in is love of Pittsburgh and his desire to win in Pittsburgh, adding “I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer,” but he said “I just lost two of my closest friends in the game. Cole and Cutch were not just friends, they were the best pitcher and best position player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, I am the most tenured member of the Pirates, I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond.”

Harrison is under team control on a very team-friendly contract that has him signed through 2018 and with the Pirates holding pretty cheap team options for 2019 and 2020. He’ll make $10 million this year and if the Pirates want to keep him they’ll owe him $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020, with $1 million and $500,000 buyouts, respectively. Harrison played second, third and in the outfield in 2017 and hit .272/.339/.432 with 16 homers and 12 stolen bases.

Part of Harrison’s statement included the phrase “baseball is a business.” That is correct, and when Harrison signed his deal he had to know that the Pirates could blow things up, trade him or anything else during its term. That’s simply a risk one runs when one agrees to a deal that buys out free agency years. At the same time, it can’t be at all fun to be part of a tear-down process the likes of which is now getting underway in Pittsburgh, and it’d be hard to say any of us would feel differently than Harrison does if we were in his shoes.

All of that said, Harrison may very well get his wish. Rosenthal writes that the Mets, Yankees, and Brewers are among the teams with reported interest in Harrison. There are probably way more who would make a good offer for him given his versatility and given how often recent World Series winners have featured a player with exactly that kind of versatility (think Ben Zobrist and Marwin Gonzalez).

My guess is that he’s either going to be dealt now or at the deadline this coming season.