Thomas Walkup is an eight-year old boy from Mike Trout’s hometown in Millville, New Jersey. He was legally blind due to a condition called “shaky eye syndrome,” but recently underwent major surgery in California and has begun to see more clearly. His trip to California was paid for thanks to a fundraising effort by the community. Trout’s mother, Debbie Trout, heard about Walkup’s story and had her son and the Angels reach out.
Walkup had a chance to meet his favorite player after his surgery in California. You can watch it below in a segment from “MLB Tonight” on MLB Network:
Great story. Well done by the Trouts and the Angels. Our best wishes to Walkup, who is one tough kid.
UPDATE: Ian Browne of MLB.com updates that there will be no Meeting of the Mookies today and that it could take place tomorrow. Sigh.
1:13 p.m. ET: With the Red Sox in New York this weekend for an interleague series against the Mets, there will be something special going on this afternoon at Citi Field.
Yes, it’s the first ever Mookie Summit. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the meeting will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET. If the cable news channels aren’t breaking in to cover this momentous event, they will have really dropped the ball here.
By the way, Betts has said in interviews that his parents gave him the nickname Mookie after watching former NBA player Mookie Blaylock. I wish this could qualify as a fun fact, but now it’s just really, really sad.
Indians manager Terry Francona has the ability to opt out of his contract if team president Mark Shapiro or general manager Chris Antonetti were to leave the organization. With Shapiro reportedly a “strong candidate” for the team president job with the Blue Jays, there has been quite a bit of speculation about Francona’s future in recent days. He attempted to clear up the situation on Friday.
According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, Francona said that the opt-out clause was added as protection and that he doesn’t intend to use it as leverage.
“That’s the only thing I asked in my contract,” Francona said. “I think sometimes guys get like country club memberships or whatever. I wanted that [clause]. They were nice enough to kind of work with me on that. Since I’ve been here, my relationship with [Shapiro and Antonetti] has certainly grown, but also with the other people here, to the point where, I guess my point is, I would never use that as leverage. That was not the spirit of the way it was written, nor would I use it like that.
“I mean, if Mark’s not here, there’s a time I guess to talk about that, and things like that, but I think part of maybe one of the reasons Mark maybe would even think about leaving is because I think he’s confident that things are in place the way we have worked so hard to do it. So I hope that answers that. The way it was meant, I would honor, and I have no intention of ever using something like that as leverage for another job, because I don’t want to.”
Joe Maddon had a similar clause in his contract with the Rays and exercised it when Andrew Friedman left for the Dodgers. Of course, he quickly latched on with the Cubs from there. There’s always the chance that something could change here, but Francona plans on staying in Cleveland for now.
Francona agreed to a contract extension with the Indians last November which has him signed through 2018. His contract includes club options for 2019 and 2020. He holds a 238-213 record (.528) since taking over as manager in 2013.