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Daniel Murphy still doesn’t get it

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Back in 2015, Daniel Murphy, then with the Mets, got into some hot water when he decided that it was his job to tell the world that he “disagreed” with Major League Vice President Billy Bean’s “lifestyle.” Meaning, of course, with Bean’s homosexuality. He added  “I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect.”

How generous.

Bean, at the time baseball’s Ambassador for Inclusion, took an extraordinarily diplomatic tack with Murphy and, over the years, it has been reported that they have developed a friendship. Which is fine as far as Bean goes, but Murphy never apologized for his comments and said he would no longer speak about his “religious beliefs,” choosing instead to “stick to baseball.” In light of that, LGBTQ baseball fans have, quite understandably, been cool to Murphy, who seems to quite clearly be less than accepting of homosexuality, to put it lightly.

While Mets and, subsequently, Nationals fans either made their peace — or didn’t — with Murphy, his trade to the Cubs the other day puts him in another team’s uniform and subjects him to another team’s fan base. Today Murphy met the Cubs press for the first time and, predictably, he was asked about all of that. He did not have anything approaching a satisfying answer.

He started out well enough. As you can see in the video below, he seemed pretty eager to talk about his relationship with Billy Bean, with his comments seeming pretty well-workshopped and, I suspect, crafted, by some interaction with MLB’s p.r. professionals (the same goes for what he said just before those comments when he spoke generically about Bean and MLB policy).

When he was asked specifically about gay Cubs fans, however — when he was asked if he had a message for gay Cubs fans who may be wary of rooting for him for the Cubs since they acquired him — he said “oh dear,” and simply said he hoped they rooted for the Cubs:

 

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the alpha and omega of Murphy’s consideration of his 2015 comments has been to say, more or less, that he likes Billy Bean and that Billy Bean likes him, to parrot some broad buzzwords about “outreach” and “inclusion” and, hey, isn’t that good enough? It does not seem to have occurred to him that his comments alienated and hurt gay baseball fans or that he has any obligation to consider their feelings whatsoever.

Which, of course, he does not. No one can make him care and no one can make him apologize for giving voice to bigoted views about homosexuality. And no one, now, can make him make the slightest effort to acknowledge that there are gay Cubs fans who may be wary of him or say even the most cursory thing to give them the slightest bit of comfort that he’s grown a bit in the past three years. It’s a free country, as we are so often reminded.

By the same token, there is nothing making anyone root for Daniel Murphy or the Chicago Cubs if this is the face he and they want to present to their fans. And, from where I’m sitting, I can’t think of a single reason to do so. It’s a free country for everyone, after all.

Aaron Judge returns to the Yankees lineup

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The lineups for the Red Sox-Yankees game for this evening were just released and, lo and behold, Aaron Judge is back in it for the Yankees. He’ll be batting second and playing right field.

Judge was activated four days ago but had been limited to defense and base running. As of yesterday signs pointed to him not hitting today, but he took swings in a simulated game for the second straight day today — taking advantage of the previously-scheduled day game being moved to this evening — and things must’ve gone well.

Judge has been out since late July due to a fractured wrist suffered when he was hit by a fastball from Royals pitcher Jakob Junis. He has taken longer than expected to recover from the injury and the Yankees have felt his absence as he was hitting .285/.398/.548 with 26 home runs and 61 RBI in 447 plate appearances when he went down and no one has, obviously, been able to replace his production.

Now he’s back to help the Yankees fend off the A’s for the top Wild Card spot.