Angels haven’t talked contract extension with Zack Greinke

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Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin indicated that Zack Greinke wanted to test the open market as a free agent no matter what, which obviously played a big part in the Brewers trading him.

However, now that he’s with the Angels there are already questions about whether Greinke might bypass free agency for a big-money deal.

General manager Jerry Dipoto downplayed that possibility, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that the two sides haven’t even discussed a potential contract extension. It’s very early, of course–Greinke has made just one start for his new team–but Gonzalez notes that the Angels will have plenty of money to throw around this offseason with Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, and potentially Ervin Santana and Dan Haren coming off the books.

Greinke has said he was very happy to be traded to the Angels, but compared to the Brewers they may not feel the same sense of urgency to get something done during the season because they’ve shown the ability to out-bid teams for big-name free agents on the open market before.

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.