Minor league team to allow dogs at every home game

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A lot of major and minor league teams have “Bark at the Park” days or some other branded promotion in which they allow fans to bring dogs to the game. They may happen one or two times a year. Maybe someone does it monthly. I have no idea.

I don’t believe, however, that any team has ever allowed dogs at the ballpark for every single game. But there is one now: the Indians affiliate in the Carolina League, the Lynchburg Hillcats. The announced a wide-ranging partnership with the local Humane Society. But it extends beyond fund raisers and banners:

Along with the partnership, City Stadium will become a dog-friendly ballpark throughout the 2017 season, meaning Hillcats fans can bring their canines to all home games.

“As far as I know, we will be the first 100-percent dog-friendly ballpark for an entire season,” said Jones. “Virtually every team holds a ‘Bark in the Park’ Day at this point, and they are extremely popular with fans. In past years, the Hillcats have hosted more than one of these in the same season, which caused us as a staff to ask why we couldn’t do it more. Expanding ‘Bark in the Park’ to every home game seemed like a fun way to help grow awareness and signify this partnership with the Lynchburg Humane Society.”

Good for the dogs. Dogs enjoy everything. You could take them to a bad opera and they’d thank you. You could take them to your tax audit and they’d be so excited they couldn’t stand it. As such, taking them someplace fun like a baseball game is a wonderful treat.

Still, I really wish Lynchburg would do a more name-appropriate thing and make every day a cat-friendly day at the ballpark.

[Craig looks around his living room and sees four cats destroying things, licking their butts and then looking up at him with sheer and utter disdain]

Hurm. On second thought, let’s just leave the ballpark for the dogs, OK?

 

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.