Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Entomologist names newly discovered species of beetle after José Bautista

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This past Thursday, Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star reported that entomologist Bob Anderson, from the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, named a newly discovered species of beetle after former Blue Jays slugger José Bautista. Anderson is a fan of Toronto sports and decided to honor Bautista due to his famous bat flip after hitting a three-run home run in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS against the Rangers.

The species is known as Sicoedrus bautistai, found in Bautista’s native Dominican Republic. It is a true weevil in the family of beetles known as Curculionidae. There are over 60,000 known species of weevils.

According to Armstrong, Anderson has coined names for two or three hundred species across his 30-year career. Bautista is not the first athlete to serve as the namesake for an insect. Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask had a species of wasp named after him in 2015, called Thaumatodryinus tuukkaraski. Additionally, José Fernández-Triana of the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada named a species of parasitoid wasps after legendary Mariners outfielder Ichiro SuzukiDiolcogaster ichiroi.

Bautista, 38, spent the 2018 season in the NL East with the Braves, Mets, and Phillies. He hit a combined .203/.348/.378 in 122 games. His days of being a starter are numbered, but he could serve as a bench bat next season. He likely will have to settle for a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Even if Bautista doesn’t have a uniform come spring training, he has a species of beetle named after him and no one can take that away from him.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on as precedent. And, it should be noted, in doing so they gave at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?