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UPDATE: Waiter says Bruce Maxwell is lying about being refused service

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UPDATE: Earlier this week, Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell told TMZ Sports that a waiter refused to serve him at an Alabama restaurant because he was a Trump supporter and he disagreed with Maxwell’s kneeling protests during the National Anthem late in the season. The original report to that effect is below.

Today, however, the waiter and the restaurant manager say that Maxwell and the man he was eating with, a local city councilman, are lying. First, from Huntsville, Alabama news website, Rocketcitynow.com:

“That is an absolute lie,” said Matthew Henry, the waiter . . . I never mentioned President Trump. I never mentioned kneeling,” Henry said. “I had no idea who he was until his friend told me halfway through the lunch . . . I would like a public apology from Mr. Bruce Maxwell,” Henry said. “And I would like one for all the folks I worked with. He represents Huntsville, Alabama, whether he likes it or not and we’re not the kind of people who would do that kind of thing.”

There is more detail in this Fox News report, where the restaurant’s manager is quoted. The manager backs Henry’s account and says the only point of contention during the lunch was that one of the men dining with Maxwell and the city councilman didn’t have a driver’s license so Henry would not serve him alcohol. The city councilman tried to intervene, allegedly telling the manager at one point who Maxwell was, and the matter was resolved by the person without I.D. not being served and the waiter being reassigned.

Maxwell’s account to TMZ, though not contradicted yesterday, was not as detailed as these reports. It would seem incumbent upon Maxwell and, possibly, the city councilman, who originally backed Maxwell’s story, to come forward and clarify.

It would be most unfortunate — and a very, very bad look for Maxwell — if it turns out that Maxwell’s story was made up.

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Tuesday, October 24: Last month Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell made news when he became the first baseball player to take a knee during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality and in support of racial equality. We talked about the possible repercussions Maxwell may face in baseball as a result of that, but it seems he’s getting some blowback elsewhere: from a waiter at a restaurant in his hometown.

Maxwell told TMZ Sports that on his first day back home in Harvest, Alabama after the end of the season, a waiter at a restaurant refused to serve him because of his protest. Maxwell:

“He was like, ‘You’re the guy who took the knee? I voted for Trump and I stand for everything he stands for.'”

Maxwell and his dining companion, a local city councilman, complained to management and got a different server.

All’s well that ends well, I suppose, but this really creates problems for the people who claim to be fine with protests in theory but think that doing it at one’s place of work is a bad idea.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
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Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.

The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.