Stick to sports? Never.

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You’ve heard me go on and on about not sticking to sports for years. Sorry, never will.

While I will not go completely off the rails and start posting stuff about housing policy, campaign finance reform or political things that have no connection to baseball at all, I will refuse to pretend that the real world does not exist and that it does not touch upon baseball — and that baseball does not touch upon the real world — almost constantly. When the real world does intersect with baseball I will write about it. I always have, going back to the first baseball website I wrote for beginning 15 years ago.

It’s also worth noting that, to claim that baseball is a safe space where all of the real things which impact real people in real ways don’t exist is itself a political position. It’s a rejectionist one, in which the concerns of others who do care about things like, say, public financing of stadiums, racism, sexism, economic inequality, labor matters and the like are dismissed. You do not have to engage in such conversations or even pay attention to them in order to be a sports fan, but you have no right to tell others that it is illegitimate for them to do so. Or that their sports fandom is somehow lesser than yours because they do.

Today at the Columbia Journalism Review, Tony Rehagen takes up the subject of sports writers who do not stick to sports. I was interviewed for the piece and quoted extensively, as was Rob Neyer, Bob Ryan and Sarah Spain. The tweets of others like Jemele Hill and Richard Dietsch are included as well. The piece does a good job of explaining where folks like me are coming from.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.