Jesus hits cleanup for the Nationals

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That’s the actual headline from this Washington Times story about the Nats and religion:

But this year, perhaps more than in years past, religion has become a frequent topic inside the Nationals’ clubhouse. Players of differing beliefs discuss them, sometimes turning into hotly contested debates. Multiple players, regardless of whether they were actively religious or not, said they never had been on a team that talks about religion as much as this one.

“People always say, ‘When you’re with strangers you don’t talk about politics, you don’t talk about religion,’” Stammen said. “But we’ve all become good enough friends that I don’t think we judge each other too much. We can talk about it a little bit. And there’s guys who are very interested and inquisitive, because they don’t know much about it.”

Ballplayers are, on the whole, a pretty religious bunch. Demographics play into that, as there is a huge overlap between people from rural areas, the south, Latinos and religious identification.  Every clubhouse has a chapel service and a core of players one could call the religious caucus. And, for the most part, it’s never a big deal. You hear random stories about guys like Chad Curtis making waves in the clubhouse due to their zealotry, but when you look at what else defines Chad Curtis, you’d be hard-pressed to say that his problems were borne of a particularly religious disposition. He’s just a total jerk.

Beyond that stuff I’ve always been impressed at how seamlessly baseball clubhouses blend together people from different religions and cultures and attitudes. Especially given how much time these guys have to spend together in fairly close quarters. It’s amazing we don’t hear more about rifts and personality clashes than we do.

Reds to interview John Farrell

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MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds will interview John Farrell as the club attempts to find a full-time manager. Dick Williams, the Reds’ president of baseball operations, has already interviewed Pat Kelly, Billy Hatcher, and Freddie Benavides. Interim manager Jim Riggleman will be interviewed after the season. Williams clarified that Barry Larkin is not a candidate. Per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, Williams hopes to have a new manager in place by the end of October.

The Reds got off to an abysmal 3-15 start, prompting the organization to fire Bryan Price. Riggleman took over in his place and the team seemed to respond, playing .500 ball under his leadership through the end of June. The club eventually fell back to earth, going 9-19 in August and is currently 9-13 in September.

Farrell, 56, managed the Blue Jays for two seasons in 2011-12, then took over at the helm of the Red Sox between 2013-17. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2013 and made the playoffs in three of his five seasons in Boston.