Umpires no longer forced to wear cabbage leaves under hats

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Cooling technology has come a long way, apparently.

In an AP article about how umpires are keeping cool these days — apparently, it’s all about HTFx pads worn in vests — former ump and current MLB Director of Umpiring Randy Marsh talks about the hot old days:

When Marsh started working in the majors, there wasn’t much help with the heat. Teams would soak towels in cold ammonia water that umpires wrapped around their necks between innings. Cabbage leaves soaked in the water could be tucked under caps.

“I learned that from Paul Runge,” Marsh said. “He used to put cabbage leaves in the hat. He had me do it when I worked with him. I don’t know if I noticed it, maybe psychologically. But a lot of guys thought that it worked better than the sun beating on your head.”

It may have helped, but it sure wasn’t as stylish as tying an onion to one’s belt.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).