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Pennsylvania Little League bans ‘Astros’ as a team name

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Major League Baseball has come under fire for not doing more to punish the Astros. Many want players punished. Some want them to vacate the 2017 title. Some people — mostly commenters and people on social media — have said that the Astros should be banned (or something like it). That’s silly of course. You can’t simply BAN a baseball team.

Or can you? From ESPN:

Just 60 miles east of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, one Little League director is sending a clear message to his 4,000 players about the Houston Astros and their sign stealing . . . “Right now, in our leagues, the Astros are suspended,” said Bob Bertoni, head of District 16/31 Little League.

Meaning: in the 23 Little Leagues he oversees, none of the teams will be named “Astros.” His reasoning is that part of the Little League pledge is, “I will play fair and strive to win,” and given that the Astros did not play fair, what kind of message would it send to the kiddos to put on Astros gear?

This is not the first Little League to do such a thing. The OC Register mentioned last week that some California Little Leagues doing this too. Rob Manfred was specifically asked about that in his ESPN interview on Sunday and offered up a “yes, this is a bad example for the children” quote. No word on how baseball’s partnership with gambling plays into that, what with all this thinking of the children he’s apparently doing.

Anyway, baseball often laments the fact that no one outside of us insiders and hardcore fans talks about the game. Welp, they’re certainly getting a lot of people talking about the game now.

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.