Red Sox and Blue Jays making progress in compensation talks regarding John Farrell

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We heard earlier this week that the Blue Jays were in negotiations to send manager John Farrell to the Red Sox and it appears the situation is getting close to a resolution.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that the clubs are “making progress” in compensation talks. Assuming an agreement is eventually worked out, Farrell will be named the new manager of the Red Sox.

Farrell served as the pitching coach of the Red Sox from 2006-2010 before leaving for the Blue Jays manager gig. He only has one year left on his contract, but a baseball source told Joe McDonald and Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the Blue Jays would likely ask for a player of “substantial value” in order to give up their manager to a division rival.

While Farrell is reportedly the top choice for Boston’s vacant manager job, multiple candidates have interviewed over the past week, including Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, and Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale.

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.