Must-Click Link: Thank God for the Civil War

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Too soon? Maybe it’s too soon.

But can we at least acknowledge that were it not for the Civil War that baseball would have spread across our Great Republic — or perhaps our fractured and ugly two-nation former Republic depending on how things woulda gone — without it?

That’s part of what’s in play in this fascinating look at baseball during the war, particularly in the military encampments around Washington D.C.  Bonus points for the two-word spelling “base ball.”  Extra bonus points for the old newspaper article cited which describes it as a game “calculated to improve the health, while strengthening the mind.”

Good read.

(link via BTF)

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.