Taijuan Walker is handing out free tacos on Monday

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I just got a press release from the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s fairly extraordinary. See if you can’t figure out the extraordinary part of it:

WHO: D-backs pitcher Taijuan Walker and his wife Heather

WHAT: In partnership with Major League Baseball, Taijuan and Heather will hand out free tacos, featuring Taijuan’s special taco recipe, to fans as they enter Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for the D-backs vs. Rockies game this Monday starting at 11:30 a.m. Walker, who has a passion for cooking, will serve the tacos out of a specially-designed food truck on a first-come-first-serve basis near the Home Plate parking lot at Salt River Fields.

WHEN: This Monday, March 12 at 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick – Home Plate parking lot, 7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, Ariz. 8525

Notice anything missing there? I do: corporate sponsorship. As in, there is none, unless you count “in partnership with Major League Baseball,” which I don’t think really counts. There is no “Taijuan Walker, in association with Rudy’s Taco World” or “Taijuan Walker and Tapatio hot sauce, The Official Hot Sauce of Major League Baseball, present . . .”

Nope, it’s just “Taijuan Walker likes to cook, Taijuan Walker has a cool taco recipe and Taijuan Walker would like to give y’all free tacos. You know, for fun.”

This should not excite me as much as it does, but in an age where no one seems bothered to do anything unless there’s corporate underwriting and advertising involved, I’m pretty dang excited.

Go to Salt River Fields on Monday, you guys. It’s probably the best spring training facility as it is and you’ll get free tacos to boot.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.