Twins agree to terms with No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton

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La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twins have agreed to terms with 2012 No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton, pending a physical.

Neal’s colleague Joe Christensen was told by Buxton’s agent yesterday that the two sides were close to a deal. The 18-year-old outfielder arrived in Minneapolis today and met with the Twins at Target Field.

No word yet on the amount of Buxton’s bonus, but the slot recommendation for the No. 2 pick is $6.2 million. The Astros gave No. 1 pick Carlos Correa a $4.8 million bonus, well under the slot recommendation of $7.2 million, but that may or may not have an impact on Buxton.

Buxton was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in this year’s draft class by Baseball America and has the proverbial “five tools” that make talent evaluators salivate. The Georgia native is expected to begin his pro career with the Twins’ rookie league team in Fort Myers, Florida.

The Yankees stopped playing Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America”

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The Yankees have played “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch since 9/11. The version they play is the most famous version, recorded in 1939 by Kate Smith. As of today they will no longer be playing the Kate Smith version, however.

Why? The New York Daily News reports that it’s because “the Yankees were made aware of Smith’s history of potential racism.” Which is a rather interesting way of putting it, because there’s not much “potential” to this:

Smith was a famous singer before and during WWII who recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among other treats. She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist. She also recorded, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which included the lyrics, “Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

I’m guessing this information was available in some Kate Smith biography or is in the memory of some of her big fans who may still be alive, but it was news to the Yankees until recently and once they learned it they decided that going with a version of the song NOT sung by Kate Smith was better. Good call!

Oh, and this was not the first time that the Yankees had to make this kind of call. Ten years ago they fired Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, who used to sing the song at the ballpark during the postseason, after he made anti-Semitic remarks. Precedent, baby.

Anyway, I’m sure someone will complain about this, but I feel like there are better hills to die on than “the Yankees should continue to play the racist lady’s version of the show tune that, despite what we think of it now, was never meant as an actual patriotic anthem.”

If you feel like dying on that hill, be my guest. But please, show your work.