Phillies’ Triple-A team tries to recruit LeBron James to play minor league baseball

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Cavaliers forward LeBron James can become a free agent this summer. He’s expected to choose between returning to the Cavs or joining the Sixers, Rockets, or Lakers. Fans of various teams — not just the aforementioned three — have made great effort to try and recruit James to their teams, often renting billboards. For example, in February, Philadelphia displayed a series of billboards. One had James’ No. 23 in maroon along with four numbers in blue referencing Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Robert Covington. Other billboards said, “Complete The Process” and “#PhillyWantsLeBron.” James, by way, thought the billboards were “dope.”

James, 33, is among the greatest to ever play basketball and is often being compared to all-time great Michael Jordan. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies, combined the drive to recruit James and the common comparison to Jordan with their own billboard. It said, “Our pitch… LeBron to the IronPigs.” That suggests, of course, James should try his hand at minor league baseball just like Jordan did in 1994 with the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the White Sox. Jordan performed poorly, batting .202/.289/.266 in 497 plate appearances.

The IronPigs also wrote an open letter to James.


We write you today with a plan that would be beneficial to us both.

If the goal is to be the greatest of all-time – the true GOAT – then you’re doing pretty well. Being the best player in this generation is nothing to sneeze at.

But there’s one major flaw in your quest. One glaring hole in your resume that continues to hold you back, that leaves you a clear level below Michael Jordan.

A season of mediocre play in Minor League Baseball.

Jordan knew this, which is why he stepped away from the NBA after his 31st birthday to spend a season in Birmingham. You’re already 33, and time is slipping away.

Could you hit better than .202 with 3 home runs and 51 RBI in 127 games? Those were Jordan’s numbers in Double-A. You could top that at the Triple-A level at the best ballpark in all of Minor League Baseball in front of 10,000 fans each night.

You could win 10 NBA titles and people would say “but MJ was a perfect 6-0 in the Finals.”

You could score more than 32,292 points and they’d say “but MJ did it in fewer games/fewer seasons.”

If you join the IronPigs and lead this team to the championship, only then will you be able to position yourself ahead of Jordan for the title of GOAT.

You’ve delivered titles to Miami and Cleveland on the hardwood, now it’s time to break out the cleats, pick up a bat and struggle through a summer of Minor League Baseball.

The choice is clear. Your legacy is on the line. We know you’re searching for the correct move to catch MJ and Coca-Cola Park is the place to find what you need.

Our President, Kurt Landes, will be in touch once the free agency window opens at 12:01 a.m. on July 1.


James played football for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. He was good enough to be recruited by some Division I schools like Notre Dame. He did not play baseball. Jordan, meanwhile, played basketball, football, and baseball at Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. So, playing minor league baseball would presumably be a more difficult transition for James.

It’s almost certainly not going to happen, but it’s fun to think about. James would look good wearing a hat with a strip of bacon on it.

Rutschman has five hits in opener, Orioles outlast Red Sox 10-9

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BOSTON – The last time Adley Rutschman recalls feeling this level of emotion on a baseball field was playing in front of intimate, 5,000-seat crowds in college at Oregon State.

He trumped that experience at Fenway Park on Thursday in his first career opening day start.

“This blows that out of the water,” Rutschman said.

Rutschman became the first catcher in major league history with five hits in an opener, and the Baltimore Orioles survived a wild ninth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 10-9.

“To have that close game in the ninth inning and the crowd get so loud. You kind of sit there and say, ‘This is pretty cool,’” said Rutschman, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Rutschman – who debuted for the Orioles last May and quickly became indispensable to the young, resurgent club – homered in his first at-bat and finished 5-for-5 with a career-best four RBIs and a walk on a chilly day at Fenway Park, with a temperature of 38 degrees at first pitch.

Ramon Urias hit a two-run homer for Baltimore, which finished with 15 hits, nine walks and five stolen bases.

Kyle Gibson (1-0) allowed four runs and six hits over five-plus innings to earn his first opening-day victory since his 2021 All-Star season with Texas. Gibson gave up an RBI groundout in the first inning before retiring nine straight Red Sox hitters.

The Orioles nearly gave the game away in the ninth.

With Baltimore leading 10-7, closer Félix Bautista walked pinch-hitter Raimel Tapia. Alex Verdugo followed with a single and advanced to second on an error by center fielder Cedric Mullins.

Rafael Devers struck out. Justin Turner then reached on an infield single to third when Urias’ throw was wide, scoring Tapia. Masataka Yoshida grounded to shortstop Jorge Mateo, who stepped on second for the force but threw wildly to first, allowing Verdugo to score.

Bautista struck out Adam Duvall on three pitches to end it and earn the save.

The Orioles scored four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead. Baltimore led 10-4 before Bryan Baker allowed three runs in the eighth to give the Red Sox some hope.

The eighth could have been even better for the Red Sox had Devers, who led off the inning, not become the first player in major league history to strike out on a pitch clock violation. Devers was looking down and kicking debris off his cleats when umpire Lance Barksdale signaled a violation that resulted in strike three.

“There’s no excuse,” said Alex Cora, who dropped to 0-5 in opening-day games as Boston’s manager. “They know the rules.”

Boston offseason addition and two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (0-1) struggled in his Fenway debut, surrendering five runs on six hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.

“Less than ideal,” Kluber said. “Didn’t turn out the way I would have hoped for.”


Red Sox: Christian Arroyo stayed in the game after taking an inadvertent cleat to the side of his head in the second inning. Arroyo was applying a tag to Rutschman at second base as he attempted to stretch out a single. Rutschman’s leg flipped over as he slid awkwardly. … LHP James Paxton was placed on the 15-day inured list (retroactive to March 27) with a strained right hamstring.


Rutschman, one of six Baltimore players making his first opening-day appearance, became the youngest Oriole to homer in his first opening-day at-bat since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1984.


The Orioles took advantage of MLB’s bigger bases – going from 15- to 18-inch squares – that are being used for the first time this season. Baltimore hadn’t stolen five bases in a game since last June 24 against the White Sox. Mullins and Jorge Mateo swiped two bags apiece, and Adam Frazier got a huge jump on his steal against reliever Ryan Brasier. There was nothing Boston catcher Reese McGuire could do to stop them and on the majority of Baltimore’s steals, he didn’t bother to throw.


Right-hander Kaleb Ort and Tapia earned Boston’s final two roster spots to open the season. Tapia got the nod over Jarren Duran, who was sent down to Triple-A Worcester. Ort pitched a scoreless sixth with one strikeout Thursday.


Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer will make is sixth career start against Boston when the three-game series resumes on Saturday. In 11 road starts last season, he went 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale, who has pitched in only 11 games over the past three years due to injuries, is set to begin his seventh season in Boston.