Isn’t Deflategate just a glorified pine tar incident?

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Before you say anything: yes, I know football ain’t my bailiwick. But if you think I’m posting about this just because football is big and popular and anything Deflategate-related is guaranteed to attract eyeballs and pageviews, well, um, that’s where you’re right.

STILL!!

I’m watching this stuff from way over here in baseball land I can’t help but think that this is nothing more than Michael Pineda and pine tar. Or Clay Buchholz and Bullfrog sunscreen. Or some knucklehead with a corked bat. Cheating? Sure. Probably something deserving of a suspension and a fine? Oh, totally. But not exactly the sort of thing that causes the world to stop.

Yet it is here, it seems. It’s sucking up all of the media oxygen and causing the usual members of the sanctimony brigade to talk about Tom Brady’s legacy and how it negates everything he ever did on a football field. This seems ridiculous to me. Hell, the whole idea of “legacy” the way it’s described in these cases seems ridiculous. All I know for sure is that if people like Bill Plaschke and Juliet Macur are clutching their pearls over something, there’s a good chance it’s an overblown b.s. of a controversy.

Anyway, someone — sincerely, because again, football ain’t my bailiwick — tell me why this isn’t a pine tar case? Is it because the Patriots are seen as serial cheaters? Is it because they have won a lot and Tom Brady is famous? Do we have this same level of outrage if it’s Joe Flacco or someone deflating balls? Inquiring, amused minds want to know.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.