Willie Mays did not say what Joe Buck said he said

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During the All-Star Game last night, Buck and McCarver brought up the topic of players who didn’t show up for the All-Star Game even though they were selected.  At that point, Buck referred to a Wall Street Journal article in which Willie Mays had something really pithy to say about the ballplayers who didn’t make it. Here were Buck’s comments:

“Willie Mays had some interesting quotes today in the Wall Street Journal with regard to guys not showing up for this All-Star Game. He said ‘I was rewarded 24 times as an All-Star, and I went 24 times. It’s not jury duty, guys should show up.’”

Except, as Larry Brown Sports points out, Willie Mays did not say it. It was the author of the article who said it, after which he fancifully imagined a bunch of conversations between current ballplayers and Mays, in which he presumed that Mays would disapprove of guys not coming to Phoenix.  Mays was not interviewed for the story and there was no effort by the WSJ writer to claim he had been. Just sloppiness by Buck and/or his production team as they looked for material to paint current ballplayers as lazy and entitled.

In Buck’s defense, he does work for a Rupert Murdoch property, and as we’ve seen in the news this week, Murdoch people are privy to non-public conversations all the time. So, yes, perhaps Mays did say the line about jury duty. Just that he said it on his cell phone to his brother-in-law or something.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.