George Springer
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Video: George Springer’s big swing and miss after getting booed

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For better or worse, the Astros and its individual components are the villains of the 2020 season. Some of them, like Josh Reddick and Lance McCullers, have seemed to embrace that. George Springer, too, seems to want to shut the haters up, but he was spectacularly unsuccessful on Wednesday afternoon against the Mets.

Facing lefty Justin Wilson with two outs, Springer stepped to the plate in the top of the third inning for his second at-bat of the ballgame. Springer was lustily booed by fans in Port St. Lucie. Seemingly intent on proving the crowd wrong for booing him, Springer took a hefty cut at a first-pitch fastball. He swung out of his shoes trying to hit a home run, falling to a knee, much to the delight of the jeering crowd.

Springer would ground out to third base to end the inning. He later singled in the fifth inning, finishing the day 1-for-3.

At least, for the Astros, they have spring training to get all the jitters out of the way in their newfound role as the villain. It will be quite interesting to see their reception at road games during the regular season and, more importantly, during the playoffs — should they get there again.

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Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.