Cubs’ Jed Hoyer: Wrigley Field must be place for women to thrive

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CHICAGO — The Cubs might conduct more thorough background checks when deciding hires in the wake of sexual harassment accusations against former director of pro scouting Jared Porter.

President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer called the alleged incidents disturbing and said there’s “no place for them in the game.”

“I think it’s my job to make sure that every woman that works here – every woman that is a reporter for our team, every vendor, everyone that comes through Wrigley Field – has to feel like this is a wonderful environment for them to work in and they have to look forward to being here,” Hoyer said Monday. “That has to be the standard. There can’t be any other standard. It has to be a great workplace for women, and a place that women can thrive.”

Porter was fired for cause last month as general manager of the New York Mets after 38 days on the job following a report by ESPN he sent sexually explicit, uninvited text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016 while he was working for Chicago. Hoyer said the Cubs’ investigation is ongoing and interviews were being conducted when he left last week for the team’s spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz.

Porter was with the Cubs from 2015 to 2016 before leaving to become the Arizona Diamondbacks’ assistant general manager. He previously worked for the Red Sox and a had a long history with Hoyer and former Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein from their time together in Boston and Chicago.

Hoyer said the Cubs might need to talk to more people about potential candidates and reach out to women who have worked with them.

“You have to be introspective,” Hoyer said. “You have to look within your organization and think about those things. This wasn’t something we were aware of. But it does make you look at the organization and look at those things.”

He cited the women the Cubs have hired in “really important positions” to their baseball operation in recent years and the strides in general they have made within the game. Kim Ng became the first general manager in major league history when the Miami Marlins hired her in November.

“There have been really great trends in the game over the last two or three years when you look at the number of women in on-field positions, the number of women in front-office roles, obviously sort of highlighted by Kim’s promotion,” Hoyer said. ‘I think these last two or three years have really been outstanding for women in baseball. Hopefully, that continues not just within the industry but also within our organization.”

Hoyer also touched on other subjects Monday. Joc Pederson likely takes over in left field for Kyle Schwarber, who was let go. Pederson gives the Cubs another powerful left-handed hitter with some limitations – like Schwarber. He hit .190 with seven homers and 16 RBIs last season for the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

“Their strengths are different,” Hoyer said. “I don’t want to say this in comparing the two. … Some of the things that Joc has really done well is cut his strikeout rate the last few years and he also hits the high fastball really well. That’s something we struggle with as a team.”

Hoyer said is optimistic about the lineup, where the Cubs hope for bounce-back seasons from stars Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo. But he is concerned about the pitching. Yu Darvish was traded to San Diego and Jon Lester signed with Washington.

Hoyer hopes to address that in the next week or two and said he has financial flexibility to add salary. Without getting too specific, he said several factors allowed the Cubs to move from the lower to the higher end of their payroll range.

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”