Wishing for vuvuzelas

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Or ThunderStix. Or whistles. Or any of the many, many things that aren’t as offensive as this:

The Braves plan to have 45,000 foam tomahawks chopping in unison when they face St. Louis on Friday at 5:07 p.m. in the National League Wild Card game … The first 45,000 ticket-holders through the gates will get a free foam tomahawk.

I love and will root for my team, but I will never understand how they think it’s cool to encourage 1940s-western movie war whooping and tomahawk chopping and all of that in the 21st freaking century. I get that it started kinda spontaneously and out of excitement some 21 years ago, but there is no escaping that this is offensive and I wish they’d cut it out.

Report: Astros extend Justin Verlander for two years, $66 million

Justin Verlander
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The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”

While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.

The deal has not been confirmed by the team.