Looking for Jack McKeon in the morning? He’s almost certainly at Mass

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Interesting story about Marlins manager Jack McKeon in the New York Times today. Seems that every morning — at home or on the road — he goes to Mass.  He’s done it for 60 years, and it’s just part of his game day routine, even if the team plane got in at 3AM and he has every reason to stay in bed.

I’m personally a non-believer so I can’t speak to the feelings and fulfillment McKeon describes as the result of his daily ritual, but my mother and the majority of my relatives and all of my wife’s are Catholic.  I got married in a Catholic ceremony and I have always admired the ritual for its own sake.  Even if you take the spiritual aspects of it away, there seems to be a peace and order of mind that comes from it all.  Calmness and certainty in a often frustrating and often mad world.

Not that McKeon or any true Catholic can take the spiritual aspects away. This is just my own observation from afar. And no real deep point here. Just neat to see another side of a baseball figure who, in a lot of ways, has been reduced to caricature has he’s gotten older, and that’s always nice.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.