Aledmys Diaz learned English from watching the Ellen DeGeneres Show

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OK, that’s the funny takeaway from this story, but it’s not really the point. The point is Derrick Goold’s get-to-know Aledmys Diaz story, which is pretty good. The Cardinals’ 25-year-old shortstop prospect faces a pretty big challenge in filling Jhonny Peralta‘s shoes, but as we noted yesterday he got off to a good start, going 4-for-4.

Goold’s story is the sort of thing you bookmark for later. From it you get the strong sense from it that the Cardinals are really hoping he pans out as an everyday replacement for Peralta. You can’t help but think of past fill-ins for the Cardinals when reading it. They always seem to come out OK after a star goes down or after they take a flyer on someone no one else thought could do the job. Adam Wainwright has missed two of the past five seasons. The Cardinals won the World Series in one of them and won 100 games in the other. Bobby Bonilla went down in spring training once and they called up a kid named Pujols who turned out OK. They have signed guys at the end of the line on multiple occasions who put up randomly amazing half-seasons or swan songs. We joke about “Cardinals Devil Magic” but it’s likely the case that they simply know when to take a chance on a short term replacement and that their good judgment married with good luck has been a key part of their success.

That could very well happen with Diaz. If so, it’ll be interesting to go back to this article and see if there was some prescience on the part of the Cardinals that, right now, just seems like optimism. Oh, and it’ll definitely be worth going back for this:

Before answering questions about his four-for-four day, Diaz told reporters that he wanted to first say how he “felt bad” for Peralta and how important the All-Star is to the Cardinals team. Diaz said that in English just 12 months after he would request an interpreter for all interviews. To improve his English, Diaz watched YouTube on his phone. One of his best teachers has been The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which he watches to learn conversation.

Which puts one in mind of this:

 

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.