Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado among 2018 Gold Glove Award winners

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The finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced two weeks ago. The winners were announced tonight on ESPN. Here they are.

American League

C: Salvador Pérez (Royals), fifth career Gold Glove
1B: Matt Olson (Athletics), first career Gold Glove
2B: Ian Kinsler (Red Sox), second career Gold Glove
3B: Matt Chapman (Athletics), first career Gold Glove
SS: Andrelton Simmons (Angels), fourth career Gold Glove
LF: Alex Gordon (Royals), sixth career Gold Glove
CF: Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Red Sox), first career Gold Glove
RF: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), third career Gold Glove
P: Dallas Keuchel (Astros), fourth career Gold Glove

Both Athletics corner infielders named Matt won Gold Gloves. Pérez resumes dominance over the catching position, having won it four straight years before Martín Maldonado interrupted him last year.

Notable snubs in the AL include Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, and Francisco Lindor.

National League

C: Yadier Molina (Cardinals), ninth career Gold Glove award
1B: Tie! Anthony Rizzo (Cubs), second career Gold Glove; Freddie Freeman (Braves), first career Gold Glove
2B: DJ LeMahieu (Rockies), third career Gold Glove
3B: Nolan Arenado (Rockies), sixth career Gold Glove
SS: Nick Ahmed (Diamondbacks), first career Gold Glove
LF: Corey Dickerson (Pirates), first career Gold Glove
CF: Ender Inciarte (Braves), third career Gold Glove
RF: Nick Markakis (Braves), third career Gold Glove
P: Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks), fifth career Gold Glove

Ahmed interrupts Brandon Crawford‘s run of dominance at shortstop. Crawford had won in each of the last three years. Arendo has now won Gold Gloves in each of the last six years. Rizzo and Freeman tied at first base. It’s the first NL Gold Glove tie since 2007 when Aaron Rowand and Jeff Francoeur tied in the outfield. The last AL tie was in 2012 when Jeremy Hellickson and Jake Peavy tied at pitcher. Markakis wins his first Gold Glove since 2014, interrupting Jason Heyward‘s hold on the position. Heyward had won in each of the last four years and in five of the last six. Molina won his ninth career Gold Glove, leaving him one shy of tying Johnny Bench for the most all-time among catchers. Greinke wins his fifth in a row.

Some snubs in the NL include the aforementioned Crawford and Heyward, as well as Lorenzo Cain, Kolten Wong, and Javier Báez.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.