“He just kept saying: ‘They’re going to burn this city down again when we win the World Series'”

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Cubs president Theo Epstein recalled his courting of starting pitcher Jon Lester in an interview this week with Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com

“He just kept saying: ‘They’re going to burn this city down again when we win the World Series,'” Epstein said.

It’s a reference to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed over three square miles of the city and left around 100,000 residents without a home.

Lester signed a six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs in December and should be their Opening Night starter on Sunday, April 5 against the visiting Cardinals.

Bovada has pegged the Cubs’ over-under win total for 2015 at 82 1/2 wins, but it’s a team with a very young and very talented core. There should be good times ahead on Chicago’s north side.

Let’s just hope the revelry — if it ever does happen — doesn’t result in a historical disaster.

A’s players, staff support coach after gesture, no penalty

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Major League Baseball has been in touch with the Oakland Athletics about their bench coach making a gesture that appeared to be a Nazi salute following a win over the Texas Rangers.

No discipline has been announced against coach Ryan Christenson, who has apologized for the gesture.

“Ryan Christenson is fully supported by everybody in our clubhouse and they know who he is. So do I. Obviously it didn’t look great but that was not his intent at all. I know that for a fact,” manager Bob Melvin said Friday before a game against Houston.

“He’s just not that guy. I’d say he’s progressive, very progressive as a person. Everybody feels bad for him right now `cause they know who he is,” Melvin added.

A short team meeting was all that the A’s needed because Christenson had full support, Melvin said.

Christenson apologized late Thursday for raising his arm during the postgame celebration. He made the gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks following a 6-4 win over the Rangers.

Hendriks immediately pushed Christenson’s arm down. Cameras showed Christenson laughing and briefly raising his arm a second time.

Christenson faced criticism after video of the gesture circulated on social media.

“I made a mistake and will not deny it,” Christenson said in a statement issued through the team. “Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of COVID, I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players. My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”

The A’s called the gesture “offensive” and apologized for it.

“We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it,” the team said in a statement. “This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a club and so many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country. We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field.”

The 46-year-old Christenson played six years in the majors from 1998-2003. He later spent several years coaching in the minors before becoming bench coach for the A’s in 2018.