Justin Timberlake makes everyone feel uncomfortable

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Well, not me. I loved Mark Grace’s interview with Justin Timberlake during the All-Star Game last night. It may have been more entertaining than the game, actually.

The MLBAM people have already had the video of it taken down from YouTube — and I have this feeling that neither Fox nor MLB.com will be featuring it at their websites today —  but you can get a full transcript over at Amazin’ Avenue. (UPDATE II: I was wrong! It’s at MLB.com. Apologies for suggesting that they’d Pravda-it out of history).

Everyone is talking about how Timberlake — be it sarcastically or drunkenly or both — “praised” Joe Buck’s announcing abilities multiple times.  But whether or not that was really a slam on Buck, I don’t think that was even the most awkward part of it.  No, I found the most awkward part of it was JT’s ode to beer and his praising of it as “the perfect food.”

Mark Grace: It’s a pretty good spot. Now you wanted ballpark food. Peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, which one’s your favorite?

Justin Timberlake: My favorite? Just beer.

Mark Grace: Really? Beer! It’s kind of the perfect food.

Justin Timberlake: It goes with the hot dog, it goes with nachos, it goes with peanuts. Beer’s perfect. Beer never got mad at me because I didn’t call beer back.

Mark Grace: That’s a very good point. That is a very good point.

He said this, remember, to Mark Grace, who was busted for a DUI a month ago.  And on a broadcast which, about ten minutes before, had recounted the untimely death of Nick Adenhart at the hands of a drunk driver. Of course, given that the very first pitch of the game was sponsored by Budweiser, I guess mixed-messages involved with the relationship between alcohol and baseball are something with which Fox and MLB aren’t too uncomfortable.

I did feel kind of bad for Grace, though, whose lawyer probably doesn’t need him yukking it up with pop stars about the glories of beer at the moment.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.