Willson Contrearas stops to admire his double

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon has a charitable foundation called the “Respect 90” foundation, which helps disadvantaged kids. This is part of its mission statement:

“In his 12 seasons as a major league manager, Joe Maddon has made few demands of his players, but there is one: all players must run hard to first base. ‘I ask our players to run hard for 90 feet to respect that distance and the respect will come back to you,’ he says.

That’s a good philosophy! I’m wondering, though, if instead of merely leaving it up on the foundation’s website, Maddon shouldn’t print it out and tape it to the clubhouse wall. Preferably someplace close to Willson Contreras‘ locker:

As you can see, Contreras admired that as a homer but it hit the wall and he was lucky he made it in safely with the double. The photo at the top of the page was the slide he was required to execute in order to make it.

Maddon likely wasn’t pleased with it, but Contreras was contrite about it after the game. He’s not known to be a slacker or a hot dog. He’s been slumping badly and, I imagine, he was simply jacked to have finally, he thought, hit a homer. Stuff happens.

But it’s never not funny to see a guy’s startled realization that he misjudged a blast and suddenly have to shift into high gear like that.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.