Mike Matheny has a blog dedicated to changing the culture of youth sports

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A few years ago Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wrote a letter to the parents of the little league team he was coaching at the time, decrying the culture of youth sports and, more specifically, the overbearing parents and insane coaches that were turning what should have been character-building learning experiences into a hyper competitive hellscape.

Last summer there was a lot of reporting about all of that. Specifically, that Matheny was still adamant about changing the culture of youth sports. And now he is continuing that, starting up a blog on his personal website dedicated to that cause. From his welcome letter:

I wrote a letter a few years ago that unintentionally went viral across the country. The purpose was to explain to a group of parents, that I saw a big problem in organized sports. Little did I know the impact that the letter would have on so many people. I realized that there is a need for a better way, and the ideas in that letter had struck a cord with many people who are ready for a change. Some follow up was necessary, so…, here we are.

This website is for people who want to use youth sports to impact kids and their communities. I plan on keeping fresh information and videos coming to this site that will challenge and encourage coaches, parents and aspiring athletes to use sports as a platform to develop character, and skills that are needed for success on the field and off. Thanks for your interest and I hope that you will keep coming back.

That’s pretty cool. And a pretty cool goal too. As a parent of kids just getting into various activities, I’m constantly shocked at how seriously everyone (i.e. parents) takes them (and it’s not just for the boys and sports. You should see the ballet studio Mookie goes to). There are many times I have hoped that my son in particular doesn’t get too into sports because of that noise. Which is kind of a shame because when I grew up I was able to play — and not be particularly good at — various sports without it seeming like I was an imposition or that some more talented kids’ dad was gonna freak out if slow old me was allowed to get some PT at his son’s expense. I worry now that’s something harder and harder to find.

So kudos to Matheny. Parents of non-participating kids can wring our hands about this sort of thing a lot, but not much will come of it. It could be a totally different deal if the necessary change comes from within sports rather than from outside of them.

Mets, Jacob deGrom agree to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension

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The Mets have a deal on a contract extension with ace Jacob deGrom. Andy Martino of SNY was the first to report the deal. The terms, per Ken Rosenthal: five years, $137.5 million with a club option for 2024. deGrom gets a full no-trade clause and has a potential opt-out after 2022.

Sale was slated to earn $17 million this year, so the deal contains $120.5 million in new money. There will be some restructuring, however: he’ll still get $17 million this year, but $10 million of it is as as signing bonus and $7 million of it is in salary. He’ll get $23 million in 2020, $33.5 million in 2021 and 2022 and, if he doesn’t opt-out, $30.5 million in 2023 and $32.5 million as the club option in 2024. The overall average annual value of the deal — which covers this year and next year, which would’ve been arbitration, and three potential years of free agency, is $27.5 million

Overall, the contract is very similar to the one Chris Sale just signed, even though he is a year further from free agency. deGrom will earn $107 million between now and his opt-out date. Sale will earn $105 million. Of course, if the doesn’t opt-out the deal runs through 2023, with that club option for 2024.

deGrom, the 2018 Cy Young Award winner has made no secret of his desire for a contract extension. He, likewise, has said he would not discuss the matter with the Mets after the start of the season on Thursday. This, then, is getting the job done, just under the wire.

deGrom is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks across 217 innings. It’s the lowest ERA by a qualified starter since Zack Greinke‘s 1.66 in 2015. Prior to Greinke, no pitcher had posted an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in 1994-95 (1.56, 1.63).

deGrom will turn 31 years old in June. He’ll be 35 when the deal ends or, if the option is picked up, 36.