Mike Hessman and Buzz Arlett and what it means to be a minor league legend

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Last week Mike Hessman broke the all-time minor league home record. A lot of people have some kneejerk reactions about that — what a shame the guy couldn’t stick in the bigs is a popular one — but as our Joe Posnanski learned when he met and talked to Hessman, that’s not a thing he thinks about too much, and he’s certainly got nothing to be ashamed of:

Obviously wish I could have had five or 10 years in big leagues,” he says. “I think anybody would want that, you know? But the game’s been awesome to me.”

Along the way Joe tells us more about Hessman than we knew. And a lot about a fellow named Buzz Arlett who none of us knew, but we should be happy we do now.

Go check it out. It’s the sort of story no one does like Joe Posnanski.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.