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MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of sense since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 3, Reds 1: I was at this game with 12,948 of my closest friends, many of whom were disguised as empty seats. We had a good time, though. Ozzie Albies‘ leadoff homer allowed me to launch into a jag about how bad his contract extension is, Yasiel Puig‘s fifth inning two-base error that allowed what proved to be the winning run allowed me to launch into a jag about the pros and cons of Puig as a player and the Braves victory allowed me to talk about my mixed feelings as a Braves fan given the front office’s miserly and cynical approach to the club. Which means that I drove a couple hundred miles, got home late last night and I’m sleep-deprived this morning to, you know, be at work. Oh well, at least baseball is pretty.

Cubs 7, Dodgers 6: The Dodgers had a 3-0 lead when the Cubs scored six runs in the sixth inning via two three-run homers, both of which came with two outs. Walker Buehler gave up one to Javier Báez and Scott Alexander gave up the other to Jason Heyward. Talk about not being able to buy a friggin’ out. The Cubs won for the seventh time in eight games. Oh, and this is fun: Pedro Strop got the save for the Cubs. On a night when his car was stolen before the game, he had to talk to the cops about it during the game before he pitched and in which it was reportedly involved in a police chase while he pitched.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 2: Macrell Ozuna hit a three-run homer and Yadi Molina added a solo shot in the Cards’ four-run fourth inning. Adam Wainwright allowed one run in six innings for his 150th career victory. After the game he said, “It means something to me. I’m proud to have been a Cardinal for the whole time of it, too.” Which seemed off to me because my mind still has him having made his debut with the Braves but, nah, he didn’t. He was just a prospect I was wishcasting on and for whom I was merely imagining major league glories at the time Atlanta traded him to St. Louis. But hey, I still have all of those sweet J.D. Drew memories. The Brewers have dropped seven of eight.

Rockies 9, Nationals 5: Raimel Tapia had two doubles and drove in three runs and Germán Márquez allowed three runs over seven, striking out seven. Daniel Murphy returned after 20 games lost to the injured list and then almost went back on it after nearly getting run over by a giant racing tooth, toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. I wish I was making that up.

Royals 10, Rays 2: Blake Snell‘s return from the injured list did not go according to plan: three runs — two earned — on five hits and he couldn’t even get the second out in the fourth inning. Adalberto Mondesí hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs for Kansas City and Billy Hamilton had two hits and two RBI. The Royals snapped their five-game losing streak.

Speaking of “snapped,” I’m taking the kids to Avengers: Endgame tonight. Forgive me if I’m distracted today. I promise I won’t spoil anything tomorrow. But that’s just because I’m taking tomorrow off. If I was working I’d totally spoil stuff because I can’t help myself.

Indians 6, Marlins 2: José Ramirez hit a solo homer in the first, had an RBI single in the third, and hit a two-run double in the eighth, so I guess he’s pulling out of that slow start. Jefry Rodríguez got the start for Cleveland and allowed only one run on three hits through seven. He didn’t get the win, though, as this was a close one, with the Tribe blowing a 2-1 lead thanks to a Martín Prado homer in the eighth before putting up a four-spot in the bottom half of the inning.

Athletics 6, Rangers 5: Chad Pinder hit a two-out RBI bloop single in the ninth to give the A’s the walkoff win. Earlier he made a diving catch to rob Shin-Soo Choo of a hit leading off the fifth inning when the game was tied at three. Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien homered as the A’s completed a three-game sweep. Nomar Mazara hit two homers for Texas.

Padres 1, Mariners 0: Chris Paddack outdueled Félix Hernández, tossing seven one-hit shutout innings and striking out nine. Ian Kinsler‘s second inning homer was the only run scored in the game, which lasted a crisp two hours and five minutes. It’s appropriate, then, that Hernández passed Don Drysdale on the all-time strikeout list during this one, as the game may as well have taken place in 1968 or something.

Giants 4, Blue Jays 0: Drew Pomeranz tossed six shutout innings and two relievers finished the job, holding the Jays to only two hits on the afternoon. That’s OK, though. Jays fans have their mind on something else now.

Phillies 6, Mets 0:  On Tuesday, Mets reliever Jacob Rhame buzzed Rhys Hoskins‘ tower in a way neither Hoskins nor the Phillies appreciated. Last night Hoskins got his revenge, facing Rhame in the ninth inning, he drove a 1-1 fastball over the left field fence for a two-run home run. He then broke out a slower-than-molasses home run trot:

It was the slowest trip around the bases in baseball since 2015, according to the folks who keep track of such things. Hoskins also walked and tripled.

Diamondbacks 11, Pirates 2: Ketel Marte homered twice, once as a lefty, once as a righty, as the Dbacks romped. They’ve been romping for three straight days, actually, outscoring the Pirates 25-7 in the first three games of this four-game series. It’s getaway day today, so I imagine the Pirates are hoping Arizona just mails it in.

Orioles 4, White Sox 3: Stevie Wilkerson of the Orioles came to bat in the fourth, a ball came close to him, he acted like it hit him, the up directed him to first base and he began walking down the line. The White sox challenged the call, it was overturned, Wilkerson came back to bat and promptly hit a solo homer to give the O’s what turned out to be the winning run. That’ll show ’em.

Red Sox 11, Tigers 4: J.D. Martinez hit two singles, a double and drove in a run, Christian Vázquez had two RBI singles and Eduardo Rodríguez allowed only one run over six as the Sox got an easy win. Haven’t been many of those so far this year.

Astros 7, Twins 1: Justin Verlander gave the Astros the strong start they’ve been needing of late, going eight innings, allowing only one run on four hits while striking out eight. Josh Reddick and Michael Brantley each drove in a pair as those two and Carlos Correa all homered.

Yankees 6, Angels 5: The Angels led 5-0 heading into the sixth inning, didn’t score another run and watched a Yankees comeback capped by D.J. LeMahieu singling in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth. Andrelton Simmons hit two homers but the Angels lost for the ninth time in ten games.