ESPN Los Angeles’ Tim Keowan says something that I’ve been thinking since Sunday when I watched the Giants-Cardinals game and heard the broadcasters talking about how baseball rivalries shouldn’t be taken so seriously. And last night when the Dodgers and Giants players implored fans to keep their animosity limited to the action on the field. Here’s Keown:
I contend this is a sports story only because it occurred outside a ballpark. The two men who beat Stow are thugs first, baseball fans second. Their motivation had nothing to do with sports; Stow’s Giants jersey was merely the avenue they chose to display their subhuman tendencies. They went after him because he was there; his affiliation to the Giants was just the excuse.
This thing wasn’t about a rivalry. It was about criminals doing criminal things in a baseball setting. Anyone who can understand the appeal to keep baseball rivalries civil aren’t in need of the message. Likewise, the people who would beat up someone in a parking lot are immune to reason.
The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.
Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.
It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.