Things are getting ugly between Pablo Sandoval and the Red Sox

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When Pablo Sandoval was placed on the DL yesterday with a shoulder strain that had not heretofore been mentioned by anyone anywhere, it was hard not to see it as a move meant to just get Sandoval out of the picture for a little while. Or a move initiated by Sandoval in order to send a message to the team. He may still be with the team while on the DL, but he won’t bea  guy John Farrell has to worry about. He’ll, at best, be at the far end of the dugout, nearly out of sight, temporarily out of mind.

Today Jeff Passan has a column in which he reports that, yeah, there is a lot of bad blood here. Passan’s sources tell him that Sandoval does not want to be in Boston unless he can play every day, and the Red Sox have no intention of playing him unless he loses weight. And, indeed, even if he loses weight, he won’t get to play everyday unless Brock Holt and Travis Shaw struggle too. Both of them are hitting really well to start the season, by the way. Also: everyone agrees that the shoulder thing is mysterious and likely just posturing.

So this is the Carl Crawford situation all over again, but more expensive and probably worse in a lot of ways. Except this time there is no one as good as Adrian Gonzalez with whom to package Sandoval in a trade and no one as willing to take on so much bad money as Ned Colletti and the Dodgers. Boston is either going to have to release the guy or, at most, accept close to nothing to unload him to a team which can afford to take three months to let Sandoval get in shape and take hacks for purposes of having a big name on the team or maybe flipping him to a contender if he rejuvenates himself.

I suppose there are worse baseball divorces. I just can’t think of too many of them recently.

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.