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Pudge Rodriguez recruited for a Puerto Rico statehood delegation

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Puerto Rico is the largest and most populous U.S. territory. It’s about the size of Connecticut, in fact, population-wise. It’s had a unique status since being ceded to the United States after the Spanish-American War and since a series of laws which were enacted to govern its relationship to the U.S. in the ensuing years.

In recent decades there has been considerable debate about Puerto Rico becoming a state. Given the many pros and many cons of statehood, there is nothing close to an actual consensus on the matter, with the old saying going “if you ask two Puerto Ricans about statehood, you’ll get three opinions.” There have been numerous referenda on the matter. In one, “none of the above” beat “statehood,” “status quo” and “independence.” So you see how that goes.

The most recent referendum took place last month. It went 97% in favor of statehood. The catch: there was a 23% turnout due to the pro-status quo party boycotting the thing. So you see how that goes, part 2.

A win is a win, however, and the governor of Puerto Rico — a big pro-statehood guy — is forming a delegation to go to Washington to petition Congress to grant the island statehood. We all know someone on the delegation:

Puerto Rico’s governor has recruited retired baseball star Ivan Rodriguez to help argue for statehood for the United States territory. Ricardo Rossello on Monday appointed the Hall of Famer to a commission charged with going to the U.S. Congress to demand statehood.

As I noted above, the pros and cons of statehood are complicated. A lot of involves the federal benefits Puerto Ricans can receive if statehood is granted. A lot of it involves taxes which will leveled and business incentives which could disappear if it’s granted. There are considerations with debt that Puerto Rico has incurred from time to time. There are, obviously, civil rights and anti-colonialism arguments involved as well. The United States passed a law a few years back to create an oversight board to deal with Puerto Rico’s debt and that too has led to controversy and complication. It’s all heady stuff which could probably occupy a team of political science PhDs for several careers.

I have no idea how well-versed Pudge is on all of that, but if he isn’t yet up to speed I’m sure he can . . . catch on quickly.

Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius say teams should expand protective netting

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Earlier, a young fan was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and had to be carried out before being taken to a hospital. Fortunately, it seems that the fan is okay.

As usual, when a scary incident such as today’s occurs, players come out in full support of expanding the protective netting at ballparks. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier as well as Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Didi Gregorius all said as much after Wednesday afternoon’s game.

Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has also been a very vocal proponent of increased netting. For the most part, the players are pretty much all in agreement about the subject. It’s only a vocal minority of fans who seem to think that their ability to snag a random souvenir or have an unimpeded view supersedes the safety of their neighbors.

Video: Giancarlo Stanton hits a laser for his 56th home run

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton continued his march towards 60 home runs, hitting No. 56 in Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Mets. The Marlins, leading 7-2 prior to Stanton’s two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, didn’t need the extra run support but welcomed it all the same. Mets reliever Erik Goeddel tossed a 1-1, 78 MPH curve that caught too much of the plate.

After Wednesday’s action, Stanton is batting .279/.378/.634 with 120 RBI and 116 runs scored along with the 56 dingers in 646 plate appearances. The last player to hit at least 56 home runs in a season was Ryan Howard (58) in 2006. Stanton’s is the 19th player-season of at least 56 homers.