Speedster Billy Hamilton an unlikely callup for Reds

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150-steal guy Billy Hamilton would seem to be a nice piece to have around with expanded rosters in September, but the Reds are “probably not” going to call him up, GM Walt Jocketty said Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Hamilton has set a minor league record with 154 steals for high-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola this season. He’s hit .319/.418/.431 between the two levels.

If Hamilton doesn’t get a callup, it’ll be mostly about the 40-man roster. Not only is Hamilton not on it now, but he won’t need to be added this winter, giving the Reds an extra spot to play with then. The Reds are at 40 right now, and they don’t have a whole lot of flexibility.

Which is too bad, because it’d be great to see Hamilton show off his wheels next month. The game’s fastest player, he would make an impact as a pinch-runner.

Hamilton is slated to take part in the Arizona Fall League when it kicks off in October.

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!

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.