The beauty of spring training is that the ballparks are so cozy and intimate that you can hear conversations going in in the stands. That is also the curse. Marc Topkin of the St. Pete Times:
Rays manager Joe Maddon summoned security to remove a fan – wearing an Orioles jersey – who he said was yelling racist comments at CF B.J. Upton in the dugout duing Sunday’s game at Charlotte Sports Park.
“He said something racial and I didn’t like it,’’ Maddon said. “He can say whatever he wants, but don’t go there. And I didn’t want B.J. to go up into the stands or do anything at that point. So I just wanted to make sure he was taken out of there. There is no room for that at all.’’
A man who said he was the ejected fan went on Twitter later Sunday, claiming Maddon lied and he said nothing racial.
Topkin, however, reports that Maddon, Upton and multiple Rays’ coaches did too. I’m not exactly sure why Maddon would lie about such a thing. If you gave me a list of 300 major league managers and asked me which one would be most likely go after a rude but not racist heckler, I figure Maddon would be around my 299th or 300th choice. Say what you want about him, but being distracted by petty stuff is not really his m.o.
Everyone has First Amendment rights. Not everyone has carte blanche to exercise them to their fullest extent on private property. Good for Maddon for having a total jackwagon run out of the joint.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Aaron Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a $360 million, nine-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday because the deal had not been announced.
Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.
Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.
The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself — and won.
Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.
New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.
A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.