Must-click link: former major leaguer John Baker talks about how a gay teammate would be welcomed

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Gotta hand it to Rob Neyer, Fox and the JABO folks for getting ex-major league catcher John Baker. His stuff has been interesting, well-written and insightful. There is so little actual real talk from former major leaguers — so much of it is just Schilling-style analysis that barely scratches the surface of what we really want to know about — that hearing Baker’s perspective has been fantastic.

The latest: in the wake of the gay marriage decision, Baker talks about how a gay teammate would be received in a major league clubhouse. The answer: like anyone else, eventually. There would be some weirdness at first but eventually the six-month-long game of dozens, the camaraderie, the antagonism and the way-too-close quarters that characterize the big league season would encompass a teammates’ gayness too.

Someone would make a joke about the gay guy missing the cutoff man and the gay guy would make a joke back about the bald guy missing a sign and the bald guy would make a joke about the dude who likes the crappy music not hustling. That’s if the team is winning. If they’re losing, that all happens with anger instead of joking. In other words: it’s just a thing. They’re all there for the baseball and would prefer to play it with guys who aren’t jerks. The other stuff is secondary. Interesting and something everyone would get used to, but it takes a back seat to the baseball and the non-jerk thing.

I’ll defer to Baker here, as he knows and because it flows pretty well with what we do know about how clubhouses work.

And I hope he’s right about it too.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.