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Players respond to President Trump’s tweet criticizing Dave Roberts

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Last night, President Trump tweeted his thoughts on Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ bullpen strategy. Starter Rich Hill had tossed six shutout innings, but issued a leadoff walk to Xander Bogaerts in the seventh. After striking out Eduardo Núñez, Roberts elected to swap Hill for fellow lefty Scott Alexander, who walked Brock Holt on four pitches. He then brought in Ryan Madson, who has struggled in the World Series thus far. Madson was able to get Jackie Bradley, Jr. to pop out, but then served up a three-run home run to Mitch Moreland that put the Red Sox back in the game. The Red Sox would to on to tie the game in the eighth, then hung a five-spot in the ninth en route to a 9-6 victory.

Trump tweeted:

Watching the Dodgers/Red Sox final innings. It is amazing how a manager takes out a pitcher who is loose & dominating through almost 7 innings, Rich Hill of Dodgers, and brings in nervous reliever(s) who get shellacked. 4 run lead gone. Managers do it all the time, big mistake!

During the postgame press conference, Roberts was asked to respond to the tweet. To his credit, Roberts was level-headed about the criticism. Roberts said, “The President said that? I’m happy he was tuning in and watching the game. I don’t know how many Dodger games he’s watched. I don’t think he was privy to the conversation. That’s one man’s opinion.”

Roberts wasn’t the only one to respond to Trump’s tweet. Via Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Hill said, “There was a mass shooting yesterday … The focus, in my opinion, of the president is to be on the country, and not on moves that are made in a World Series game.”

Astros third baseman Alex Bregman tweeted a few crying laughter emojis followed by, “I’m crying …. don’t get mad at me for commenting y’all… this is a sports related tweet….” Then, responding to someone who suggested that Trump’s tweet isn’t out of character for a President, Bregman said, “I’m just saying it’s funny how we are told to stick to playing sports… It’s very hypocritical when he’s telling Roberts how to manage…especially when a mass shooting just happened earlier that day…”

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.