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Hal Steinbrenner on Aroldis Chapman’s past: “Sooner or later, we forget, right?”

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At the quarterly owners’ meetings on Thursday, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner made a pointed defense of closer Aroldis Chapman, who was suspended for the first 30 games of the 2016 season following an October 2015 domestic violence incident during which he allegedly pushed and choked his girlfriend, then shot a gun eight times in his garage. She ran outside and hid in some bushes, then called 911.

Steinbrenner, Via Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports:

Quite frankly it was manageable the minute he got here last year,’’ Steinbrenner said at the quarterly owners’ meetings Thursday. “He was great. Look, he admitted he messed up. He paid the penalty. Sooner or later, we forget, right? That’s the way we’re supposed to be in life. He did everything right, and said everything right, when he was with us.’

Well, no, you don’t forget. Chapman was one of a handful of players — along with Hector Olivera, Jeurys Familia, and Jose Reyes — involved in domestic violence incidents recently and became the first player to be suspended by Major League Baseball under its new domestic violence policy. Chapman’s girlfriend did not cooperate with authorities, which is not uncommon behavior among domestic violence victims. Many fear that if their abusers are punished (fined, fired, etc.) they will retaliate against them. Victims often stay silent or change their stories in order to protect the abuser. However, Major League Baseball does not need a conviction in order to levy a punishment and, as a result, commissioner Rob Manfred levied a 30-game suspension on Chapman, attempting to make an example out of him.

The Yankees traded Chapman to the eventual World Series-winning Cubs mid-season, but brought the flame-throwing lefty back on a five-year, $86 million contract in December. As Nightengale writes, “When you can throw 105 MPH, it accelerates forgiveness.”

Steinbrenner insisted that Yankees fans “love [Chapman].” He said, “There are so few baseball players that I feel can really get fans to buy a ticket and bring their kids to their game, and he’s one of them.”

Not only does a 105 MPH fastball make a billionaire owner forgive Chapman, it makes the scores of Yankees fans across the country forgive him, too. While we can’t control whether or not other people forgive him, we can at least control whether or not he’s remembered as a miscreant.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.

 

Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig had a brutal collision in right center field

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The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.

Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.

Watch:

 

Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.

UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: