Bill Baer

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 7:  Nick Franklin #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits a two-run home run off of pitcher Dylan Bundy of the Baltimore Orioles during the second inning of a game on September 7, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Nick Franklin was an Uber driver during the offseason

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Rays utilityman Nick Franklin worked as an Uber driver during the offseason, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. He apparently made 9-10 trips and got a 4.8 rating out of 5.0.

Topkin wrote about Franklin’s side job last October for the Times. Franklin said, “I wanted something to do on the weekends because I never really do anything.”

Many people in the U.S. deleted the Uber app from their phones recently because the ride-sharing company undermined taxi drivers while people demonstrated in New York in late January against President Trump’s executive order concerning immigration. People felt that lifting surge pricing at JFK International Airport, the site of the protests, was taking advantage of those protesting from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. The #DeleteUber hashtag even trended on Twitter. Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, had been a corporate advisor in Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, but resigned on February 2 in response to criticism.

Joey Votto: “I probably would’ve been far more embraced 50 or 75 years ago.”

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 31: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds walks in the dugout during the third inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 31, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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In an interview with FOX19’s Joe Danneman, Reds first baseman Joey Votto discussed how he would have been viewed in the past as opposed to the current era. Votto, of course, has been criticized by fans and media types alike in Cincinnati because he draws so many walks. Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman has been one frequent critic of Votto’s for that reason, and many fans have followed in suit.

Votto said to Danneman, “I probably would’ve been far more embraced 50 or 75 years ago to be honest with you because I had a steady batting average. That would’ve been a major marker and people would’ve pointed to that and said, ‘Look how well he’s playing.'”

Votto certainly has been elite in the batting average department. He’s a career .313 hitter and finished with an average above .300 in seven of eight seasons in which he’s logged at least 100 games, and hit .297 in the other season. It’s the on-base percentage, though, that sends Votto from great to elite. His .425 career OBP is tops among active players and he’s led the league in OBP five times. Excepting intentional walks, Votto is Barry Bonds-esque in this department.

However, Votto has only 730 RBI in his career and has topped the 100 RBI threshold only twice in his career, which has angered his critics. But, as many (including myself) have pointed out over the years, that’s had more to do with the likes of Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips hitting ahead of him than anything else.

Mets announce Noah Syndergaard will start on Opening Day

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05:  Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets reacts during their National League Wild Card game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field on October 5, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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The Mets have announced that Noah Syndergaard will start on Opening Day, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports. That’ll be on April 3 at home against the Braves.

That Syndergaard gets the nod comes as no surprise, as he was the Mets’ best starter last season. He went 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA and a 218/43 K/BB ratio in 183 2/3 innings, earning a nomination to the National League All-Star team in the process. Syndergaard finished eight in National League Cy Young Award balloting, but arguably should’ve finished a lot higher than that.

Syndergaard reportedly added 17 pounds of muscle over the offseason.  Considering his 97.9 MPH average fastball velocity was by far tops among starters last season, it’s scary to think about what he can do with even more strength.

Syndergaard will be the seventh different Met to start on Opening Day in as many years. Those prior to him included Matt Harvey, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, Johan Santana, and Mike Pelfrey.