Ryan Howard responds to Nickelback-listening allegations

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Last night in Atlanta during the Phillies-Braves game some fans held up a sign that said: “Ryan Howard listens to Nickelback.”

That’s not an allegation to be taken lightly, so Todd Zolecki of MLB.com followed up with the Phillies first baseman to give him an opportunity to clear the record.

Except … well, Howard didn’t:

Is it bad to listen to Nickelback? I mean, I’m not afraid to say that I diversify my musical portfolio. I didn’t know they could see or hear what … how do they know I listen to Nickelback? I listen to everything. I don’t know if there’s a specific song by Nickelback.

“I didn’t know they could see or hear what … how do they know I listen to Nickelback?” is a pretty spectacular quote. I wish there was video of Howard’s face while saying it.

From now on I think we should all agree to refer to Howard as “former MVP and current Nickelback fan Ryan Howard.” It’s only fair.

Marcus Stroman: José Bautista could ‘easily’ pitch in MLB bullpen

José Bautista and Marcus Stroman
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José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.

Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”

In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”

Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”

Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:

Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”

I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.