Bud Selig: Marvin Miller should be in the Hall of Fame, Trump’s approach to media is wrong

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Howard Bryant of ESPN has a story up about Bud Selig, whom he interviewed in Tempe recently, where Selig teaches a course at the Arizona State University Law School. There are two notable nuggets in there and one bit of non-news that remains frustrating as all get-out about Selig.

Nugget 1: He thinks Marvin Miller should be in the Hall of Fame:

“A lot of people think it’s an unpopular opinion, but I think Marvin Miller belongs in the Hall of Fame too. There were so many battles … but if you make a significant contribution, you belong, and no matter how you felt about him, you cannot say Marvin Miller did not make a contribution,” Selig says of the longtime union executive.

If Selig has stumped for Miller in the past I am unaware of it and can find no reference to it. Notably, Selig was on the board of the Hall of Fame and had a strong voice in the formation of the various Veterans Committees who passed on Miller on multiple occasions. A lot of people, this author included, suspects that Selig and the members of the Hall of Fame board on which he once sat have a large amount of influence on the Veterans Committee vote. The execs friendly to MLB always tend to sail in, after all. One wonders if Selig had said this much about Miller in public in the past if things would’ve gone differently for him.

Nugget 2: Selig thinks that leaders should not treat the press as an enemy:

“Yes, we’ve had our disagreements, but I tell this to the students: You have a job to do, and I have a job to do,” Selig says. “I listen to Donald Trump again, and it’s discouraging, because this idea about [the media] being your enemy is just nonsense. We can have disagreements. It really is nonsense.”

Selig was never anything like Trump with respect to the media, but he was well-known, as Bryant notes, for calling up and haranguing reporters and columnists who pissed him off. Personally I think there is something cool about that — Selig cared, at least — but he was also well-known for engaging in a lot of reality-creation. One might call him an early adherent to the notion of “alternative facts.”

The non-news has to do with alternative facts too: as Bryant notes, Selig still believes that the owners and the league bear no responsibility for PEDs. Which, hey, if you want to believe that players were 100% responsible for taking PEDs, fine, I’ll give you that one for the sake of argument. More egregious is how he takes full credit for the advent of drug testing and enforcement, dismissing the notion that that public and Congressional pressure and a series of very public humiliations of the game forced his hand.

Everyone, to some degree, changes perspective about certain things in their 80s. Some things that once seemed important are no longer important and some things that one overlooked or disdained as a young man are now thought of in a different light.

But not everything, I suppose.

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.