All-Star Game retro-tainment

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Baseball has taken to staging charity concerts during the All-Star break. This year it’s Sheryl Crow:

Major League Baseball will host Missouri native and nine-time Grammy
Award winner Sheryl Crow for the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star
Charity Concert presented by Pepsi on Saturday, July 11 under the
iconic Gateway Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The
concert, which will be free to fans, is the culmination of a day-long
celebration of baseball history and will feature a $1 million donation
by Major League Baseball to Stand Up To Cancer.

In addition, fans will be able to make donations to Stand Up To
Cancer after the concert. The concert will be streamed live on MLB.com,
the official website of Major League Baseball, and fans watching the
live stream will be encouraged to donate to Stand Up To Cancer.

Last year it was Bon Jovi, which means instead of being 20 years behind
the times, baseball is now only 15 years behind the times. If form
holds, next year it will be Ricky Martin!

I’m kidding of course. Good for baseball for doing this and good for
Crow for donating her time and vocal cords to a worthy cause.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.