Craig Calcaterra

Savannah Sand Gnats pitcher Kevin McGowan pitches to an Asheville Tourists batter during the second inning of a minor league baseball game Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Savannah Morning News, Brittney Lohmiller)
Associated Press

You need to play with the minor league team name generator

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Over at SB Nation, Grant Brisbee, Rodger Sherman, and Seth Rosenthal have created a fun little toy: a minor league team name generator.

It’s about as simple as it sounds. They no doubt have a database of towns and cities which are minor league appropriate and a database of mascot names, consisting primarily of odd animals of dubious fierceness, as befits a minor league organization. These are the same guys who actually helped name the Hartford Yard Goats last year. For real.

Have some fun with it. My personal favorite so far is the “Macon Sadness Raccoons,” which could be both a minor league team and my spirit animal, frankly. Now you go try yours.

MLB is reviewing Tyler Collins’ middle finger

Detroit Tigers center fielder Tyler Collins catches a fly ball hit by Oakland Athletics' Chris Coghlan during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 25, 2016 in Detroit. Collins directed an obscene gesture at fans after he lost a ball in the lights on a previous play in the inning which allowed the first run Tigers pitcher Jordan Zimmermann has given up this season. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Associated Press
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Major League Baseball is reviewing an obscene gesture made by Tyler Collins during Monday’s game against the Athletics.

Collins was booed after losing a ball in the lights in center field and then flipped off the Comerica Park faithful. None of us should be defined by our worst day, but when you’re on TV and get a check from MLB, they’re gonna judge you. Ask Jonathan Papelbon, who was suspended seven games in 2014 for grabbing his crotch after getting booed by fans in Philadelphia.

Collins may not be on the Tigers for long anyway given his lack of production, but he may be getting some additional unpaid leave as well.

The Nashville Sounds announce a Country Legends mascot Race

FILE - In this April 1996 file photo, George Jones is shown in Nashville.   Jones, the peerless, hard-living country singer who recorded dozens of hits about good times and regrets and peaked with the heartbreaking classic "He Stopped Loving Her Today," has died. He was 81. Jones died Friday, April 26, 2013 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville after being hospitalized with fever and irregular blood pressure, according to his publicist Kirt Webster. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)
Associated Press
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The themed mascots race is all over baseball now, from the original Racing Sausages at Miller Park to the Racing Presidents at Nats park and just about anything else you can imagine.

The minor leagues are no exception, as several clubs have instituted similar mid-inning distractions. The one Nashville just announced may be the best so far. From Benjamin Hill at MiLB.com:

This First Tennessee Park spectacle is the Music City equivalent of pepperoni rolls in West Virginia,mayors in Tri-Cities or spiedies in Binghamton. That is to say, a regionally specific triumvirate of costumed characters that engage in heated between-inning battles on a nightly basis. Some Sounds fans put their Cash on Johnny, others have a Jones for George and still others root for Reba the McEntire way. But regardless of one’s specific preference, the Nashville sound is now well-represented by the Nashville Sounds.

They better have the George Jones mascot be a no-show for half the races or else not even bother.

David Murphy retires

david murphy getty
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He gave it the old college try, but David Murphy has announced his retirement from baseball.

This comes a day after he opted out of his contract with Minnesota, which itself came after the Twins sent Byron Buxton down to Rochester without purchasing Murphy’s contract. You don’t have to be an idiot to see that he wasn’t in the Twins’ plans and Murphy cannot be begrudged his decision to be with his family rather than riding busses in the bush leagues at age 34.

Presuming this truly is the end for Murphy, he played for four teams across 10 major league seasons. He spent most of his career with Texas, appearing in both the 2010 and 2011 World Series. In 3,467 major league at-bats, Murphy hit .274 with 104 HR, 472 RBI and 54 SB.

Donnie Baseball returns to LA with no hard feelings

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly sits in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Monday, April 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) Don Mattingly sat in his usual spot on the top of the dugout bench. Except he was wearing a black hat and jersey with a multi-colored `M’ on the front.

Yep, Donnie Baseball was back at Dodger Stadium on Monday night for the first time as the visiting manager. He brought a Miami Marlins team that is fourth in the NL East, 7 1/2 games behind first-place Washington.

In the home dugout, first-time manager Dave Roberts has the Dodgers atop the NL West by 2 1/2 games.

But Mattingly insists he wouldn’t change a thing. He said last fall was the right time to leave Los Angeles after five years as the Dodgers’ manager and three consecutive division titles. Officially, the convoluted explanation was that both sides reached a mutual parting of the ways.

“Pretty much everything here was a positive experience for me other than us not being able to take it to the next level,” Mattingly said.

He departed in October, not long after the Dodgers lost 3-2 to the New York Mets in a decisive Game 5 of the NL Division Series. The Dodgers haven’t been in the World Series since 1988, when they won it.

The Dodgers showed a brief video of Mattingly’s years in LA before his pre-game introduction. He received a mixture of cheers and boos.

“He’s a great guy, you still miss him and the guys that were here last year,” Dodgers left fielder Kike Hernandez said. “I loved everything about last year and I’m always going to be thankful for the opportunity he gave me. Just really thankful to him for letting me be myself.”

Viewing a throng of media behind mirrored sunglasses, Mattingly refused to throw any of his former bosses under the bus. He said stories about the Dodgers front office dictating lineups and how to handle mercurial outfielder Yasiel Puig “got overplayed a little bit.”

“No, we’re not going to throw at him,” a smiling Mattingly said of the Cuban. “There’s not one thing that ever happened that wasn’t about him growing, being a better player and teammate. It was nothing personal. That’s what I tried to do. Maybe didn’t succeed in some areas.”

Mattingly worked last season under the new tandem of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi, who had greater hands-on management than what Mattingly had been used to under the previous regime. Between Zaidi’s expertise in advanced analytics and Friedman’s reputation for building a roster by crunching numbers, Mattingly had a plethora of data at his disposal.

“I enjoyed Andrew and Farhan a lot,” he said. “They think a little different, but that didn’t make it bad thinking in my mind. I learned a lot.”

Among his favorite Dodgers memories were winning the first of three consecutive division titles and “being able to watch their young lefty grow up,” he said, referring to two-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. “That’s pretty special.”

Moving to Miami reunited Mattingly with former Dodger second baseman Dee Gordon, who had already made the same move via a trade.

“I was very happy when I heard,” Gordon said. “He brings good direction, good leadership, so it was very good.”

With the Marlins, Mattingly has a group of young, mostly unproven players. Team owner Jeffrey Luria is an unabashed Mattingly fan from his years as a Yankees star and the two speak weekly, which is more than Mattingly ever heard from any of the Dodgers’ ownership group.

“I like the situation I’m in,” he said. “I love the challenge of what we’re trying to do here. I feel the same pressure to win here as I did on the other side.”