New York tabloid stumps for Alex Rodriguez to make the All-Star team

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How many of you would’ve guessed six months ago that a New York tabloid would be stumping for Alex Rodriguez to make the All-Star team? I probably would’ve bet my life savings against it, actually. But here it is in today’s New York Post:

. . . if you’re AL manager Ned Yost, whose Royals lost Game 7 of the Series at home last year to the Giants, wouldn’t you want A-Rod as an option coming off your bench? . . . If it is about entertainment, you pick Rodriguez. If it is about a man having the ability to rise to the occasion and winning a ballgame, you pick Rodriguez.

You pick Rodriguez for the American League All-Star team.

There are a lot of throat-clearing paragraphs there in which the writer, Larry Brooks, makes it clear that arguing for A-Rod to make the All-Star team does not constitute an endorsement for him being Evil Incarnate. But still, this is about as close to a love letter the guy has gotten from his local press in a decade or more. And then, at the end, saying he’s a guy with “the ability to rise to the occasion?” Wowzers.

I’m still skeptical that A-Rod will make it. The Yankees don’t have a starter and will need someone selected, but I’ll believe it will be Rodriguez only when I see it. Mark Teixeira is having a good year and now that Miguel Cabrera is out there will be room for another first baseman. Dellin Betances is having a great year and, given how All-Star rosters work, it’s way easier to make it as a reliever than a position player. Ned Yost has to pick at least one guy from every team and has a limited number of slots for someone who really can only hit. I suspect that, plus perhaps some unofficial lobbying against the inclusion of A-Rod by the powers that be will keep him off the team. But whether or not he makes it, it’s definitely remarkable that A-Rod is getting some love from the New York Post.

Now, let’s see the Daily News weigh-in.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.