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A horse named after Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant is aiming for the Kentucky Derby

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A few years back I was lucky enough to go to the Kentucky Derby. It was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had at any sporting or entertainment event. I’m not a gambler by nature so my wagers were all small and sensible. At least until the actual Derby, when I got a little carried away.

For the final race, I went a little big on a hunch, betting on a horse named “General A Rod” based solely on the name. It seemed like fate that that horse was running. At the time Alex Rodriguez was serving his Biogenesis suspension and was persona non grata. As anyone who has been reading me for a while knows, I tend to like the most hated, so I put some big (for me) money on A-Rod’s near-namesake. He finished 11th out of 19 horses. Shoulda gone with California Chrome.

In 2018 there may very well be an intentionally baseball-themed horse. From MLB.com:

Jason Loutsch is a huge Cubs fan, so when it came time to name the dark bay colt his Albaugh Family Stable bought at the Keeneland Sales in September 2016, he decided to combine the names of his two favorite players, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo . . . Soon, Bryzzo will be shipped to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., to spend the winter training. There’s no date yet for his next race, which will likely be after Christmas. Loutsch said there’s a chance the colt could qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

Keep me away from the window.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).