Dominican players can always count on home cooking when they’re on the road

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Reader emdash gives me the heads up on a neat story from James Wagner at the Washington Post. It’s about how a network of Dominican players in the majors makes a point to supply visiting Dominican players with Dominican food when they come to town:

Do you know how hard it is to find a Dominican restaurant in Cincinnati or Minneapolis?

So Dominican players — even those who don’t know each other well — take care of each other through their own version of the food network. The Dominicans on the home team are responsible for sending food to their countrymen on the visiting team. Albert Pujols (Los Angeles Angels), David Ortiz (Boston) and Nelson Cruz (Baltimore) always bring food for visiting Dominican players. Soriano’s wife or a family friend will make an extra helping of Dominican food so that he can do the same. Robinson Cano (Seattle), Francisco Liriano (Pittsburgh), Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee), Jose Reyes (Toronto) and Adrian Beltre (Texas) take part, too.

Wagner says that it’s believed the tradition started with Vlad Guerrero — as if he wasn’t awesome enough — and has become really well-established. He talks about the wives and mothers of the players who spend their time cooking to keep the tradition going.

Very cool story.

Mariano Rivera awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump on Monday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor to “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Babe Ruth was posthumously awarded the medal last year. Yogi Berra got it posthumously in 2015, and Willie Mays and Vin Scully were also awarded it the same year.

Trump and Rivera are close. Rivera, who is from Panama, has been criticized for his relationship with Trump. Defending that relationship, Rivera said on Fox & Friends in July, “Mr. President Trump to me, he was a friend of mine before he became president. So, because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”

Rivera, 49, served on Trump’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017. In 2018, Rivera co-chaired Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Rivera also co-hosted a fundraiser dinner for the America First Action PAC, which supports Trump and was also hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle.

This past January, Rivera became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously. He is the all-time leader in saves with 652 as well as adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) at 205. He retired with a 2.21 ERA and 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings, spanning 19 seasons with the Yankees.