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Monday, September 06, 2021

Concession workers at San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park vote to strike

Concession workers at the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park on Saturday voted overwhelmingly to strike, citing concerns over COVID-19 safety and health coverage.

According to UNITE HERE Local 2, at least 20 concessions workers have contracted COVID-19 since the stadium reopened this season. According to the union, 96.7% of active stadium workers voted to strike.

The workers are employed by Bon Appetit, a company contracted by the Giants. They worked Saturday night’s 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park and union president Anand Singh said they will also work Sunday’s series finale.

“Ballpark food service workers’ 96.7% vote yesterday to authorize a strike shows that we’re ready to do whatever it takes to win health care, ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 06, 2021 at 12:07 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: concession workers

Before Balls and Strikes, Umpires Make a Call to Pray

But on a day-to-day basis, umpires are among baseball’s most isolated figures. Increasingly removed from an era in which umpires were often men with hard-charging lives, some of them haunted by war, the full-time umpiring staff of today includes just 76 men who travel the country in crews of four and keep a distance from the players and managers they govern. Their lives can feel like blurs of airports and fastballs and hotels and brightly lit ballparks, punctuated by calls home to their children and hollers from the dugouts.

Their spiritual traditions can serve as anchors, with the lessons and lives they find in Scripture showing them a way forward on the field and away from it.

“Jesus would have been a great umpire because he ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 06, 2021 at 12:05 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: umpires

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-6-2021

Pittsburgh Press, September 6, 1921:

A New York writer the other day remarked that “Babe” Ruth by the end of the season will hold practically every record in baseball. That statement isn’t relished by Harry Salsinger, the Detroit sage, who comes back thusly:

“Ruth will have hit more home runs than any man in modern baseball, but what else? What has Ruth ever done in the way of base stealing? What has he done in sacrifice hitting? What has he accomplished in two and three baggers? What his is batting average? How does his total of runs scored compare with that of the other great players? What are his records for putouts and assists?”

That’s some bad take, Harry. You’re watching a guy who’ll be revered for centuries. Have some fun. Enjoy ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 06, 2021 at 08:22 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, September 03, 2021


‘Once Upon a Time in Queens’ director Nick Davis surprised by candidness of the 1986 Mets

Unlike Oldman, Davis’ stars never have won an Academy Award for Best Actor, but they include no shortage of colorful characters, from a hilariously profane Lenny Dykstra to Keith Hernandez and his cat, Hadji.

It is a wild ride that recreates a wild era in New York, one Davis experienced as a Mets fan who was 21 at the time.

In “Once Upon a Time in Queens,” he gets to sit down with most of the key players of that era, a now-56-year-old speaking to peers who themselves are in late middle age.

It is that distance from the events of the 1980s that he believes makes this the ideal time to catch up with these guys, when they still are vibrant but far enough removed to have perspective.

“I think 10 years [after] is too early, because ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 12:59 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: 30 for 30, mets

‘It’s about damn time for this:’ Bryan Ruby becomes only active pro baseball player to be out as gay

Bryan Ruby first started to realize he was different at 14 years old. That’s when the hiding began. Along with the darkness.

He found emotional refuge in two different parts of his identity. He’s a professional baseball player, a member of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, which makes him much closer to a journeyman than a major-leaguer. And he’s a country music songwriter, having written two songs that reached the charts, plus countless ballads in his notebook.

Yet it’s Ruby’s hidden part of his identity that he now believes can have the biggest impact, partially because it’s so foreign to the worlds of baseball and country music.

Ruby is a gay man, the only active professional baseball player at any level to be publicly out.

“I kept ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 09:21 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: gay players

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Waino-Yadi partnership in ranks with legends

When the Cardinals open their series against the Brewers on Friday, Adam Wainwright will throw his first pitch of the game to Yadier Molina. It’s a given: If Molina is healthy and Wainwright is pitching, they will start together. They have done so 25 times already this year.

It’s Brunswick, Ga., and Bayamón, Puerto Rico, coming together every five days to play catch. From the mound in Milwaukee, it will mark 300 times—a milestone only three other sets of batterymates have reached before them. (And a tally that doesn’t include 14 more games started together in the postseason.)

The others? Mikey Lolich and Bill Freehan (324 starts). Warren Spahn and Del Crandall (316). Red Faber and Ray Schalk (306).

“It’s really a mind-blowing ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 02, 2021 at 05:52 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: adam wainwright, cardinals, yadier molina

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-2-2021

Pittsburgh Press, September 2, 1921:

“Take it from me,” says Billy Murray, sage veteran of 40 baseball seasons, according to the Cincinnati Times-Star, “the big league team that pays a barrel of money for the Baltimore players is going to get stung. Stung extremely hard…The International League is a joke, a jest, almost a crime against baseball. It is made up of hasbeens, neverwases and hopeless cases. It contains seven jokes and one ball club.

Don’t hold back, Billy. Tell us how you really feel.

The 1921 Baltimore Orioles had a couple of 21-year-olds that were obviously useless. A left-handed pitcher named Robert Grove and an infielder named Max Bishop who definitely had no chance to play 12 years in the big leagues and get on base at a ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 02, 2021 at 08:19 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Minnesota Twins hope Kenta Maeda can return in 9-12 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery

- Minnesota Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda had season-ending Tommy John surgery Wednesday in Dallas, the team said.

The 33-year-old right-hander from Japan was placed on the 10-day injured list Aug. 24 with right forearm tightness. Texas Rangers orthopedic surgeon Keith Meister performed the surgery.

Meister added an internal brace to the arm, a recent development in the Tommy John technique that could help speed the rate of recovery, which is traditionally at least a year. The Twins hope Maeda could return in nine to 12 months.

“There are never any guarantees, but we are pretty good on the medical side with rehabbing this kind of injury and getting guys back to full health,’’ Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Maeda was the runner-up ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 01, 2021 at 10:15 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: kenta maeda, tommy john surgery, twins

MLB makes new service time proposal to players union

Major League Baseball, as part of its proposal to the players’ association last month, offered to curtail the impact of service time by creating a formula to disperse $1 billion to all arbitration-eligible players and make free agency universal at 29 ¹/₂ years of age, The Post has learned.

The sides met in person on Aug. 16 in Denver. Not all elements of the plan have become public and it is difficult to gauge the full impact of a proposal without understanding how all the details play off one another. Both sides refused to comment on what The Post had learned.

In its proposal addressing service time, MLB was, at minimum, looking to address the union’s concern about service-time manipulation. Players reach arbitration and free ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 01, 2021 at 10:10 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues, mlbpa

Mets acting GM Zack Scott busted on drunk driving charge in White Plains

Acting General Manager Zack Scott is facing driving while intoxicated charges after he was busted dozing in his car in White Plains, The Post has learned.

Scott, 44, was nabbed at 4:17 a.m. Tuesday when cops caught him snoozing in a 2018 Toyota on South Lexington Avenue near the federal courthouse, White Plains Police Capt. James Spencer said Wednesday.

The embattled GM refused to give blood or submit to a breathalyzer but underwent a field sobriety test and failed, Spencer said.

He was charged and released and is due back in White Plains City Court on Thursday.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 01, 2021 at 03:32 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: drunk driving, mets, zack scott

Ten Position Players Who Have Most Helped Their Hall of Fame Cases in 2021

Bryce Harper, Right Field
(38.6 Career | 34.3 Peak | 36.4 JAWS, +4.0 JAWS)
Harper has now played in 10 major league seasons, meaning that he’s cleared the most basic qualification for election. And while he’s a ways from clinching a berth in Cooperstown, unlike his 2012 Rookie of the Year counterpart Mike Trout, he’s recovered some of his lost mojo, hitting for a 175 OPS+, good for second in the NL and his highest mark since his MVP-winning 2015 season. Both his .420 on-base percentage and .594 slugging percentage rank second as well, and he’s also generating MVP discussion. He’s still got a long ways to go to secure a plaque, but as he nears his 29th birthday, he’s more than halfway to 500 homers (258, 26% odds according to ...

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Al Leiter, John Smoltz won’t appear at MLB Network studios after refusing vaccine

Hall of Famer John Smoltz and former Met and Yankee Al Leiter will no longer appear in-studio for MLB Network after refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, The Post has learned.

MLBN has made it mandatory for all employees to be vaccinated, with the mandate going into effect Sept. 1. MLBN executives, Smoltz and Leiter made a compromise to keep them on-the-air, but not in the Secaucus studios. They will both appear remotely for the shows.

Smoltz will also still call a Division Series game on site in October. The two are regular in-studio analysts for the network.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 01, 2021 at 12:27 AM | 153 comment(s)
  Beats: al leiter, coronavirus, john smoltz

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Minor League Parks, Stripped of America’s Pastime, Await New Fates

In December, Major League Baseball completed a long-anticipated overhaul of its farm system, stripping 40 municipalities of minor league affiliations. Those cities were left with finding other baseball options or exploring a long-term solution through redevelopment.  Stadium face-lifts are often expensive — around $5 million for large-scale renovations. Even demolition can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. City officials in Huntsville, Ala., for example, estimated that tearing down their ballpark would cost $800,000.  Most abandoned ballparks have temporarily joined summer leagues serving college prospects or independent leagues, said Kevin Reichard, the editor of Ballpark Digest, a website devoted to news about baseball stadiums…

...
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NattyBoh Posted: August 31, 2021 at 03:55 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, rob manfred's dumb ideas, stadium renovations, stadiums

Is Patrick Wisdom a viable building block for the Cubs?

What Wisdom is at this point isn’t a secret. He’s a big power guy with an absolute ton of whiff in his game. That combo first manifested itself in Triple-A back in 2017, when he hit 31 home runs with the Memphis Redbirds and struck out at a rate of nearly 30 percent. He followed that up with another 31 homer campaign in 2017 with the Nashville Sounds. The K% that year? 27.6.

So nothing about his line this year comes as any sort of surprise. Wisdom has slashed .259/.321/.586/.907 for the Cubs, with 25 homers and a .327 ISO through those 275 PAs. His strikeout rate sits at 39.3 percent, which is easily the highest among any Major League hitter with at least 250 plate appearances under his belt. His whiff rate is 19.3, which trails only ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 01:37 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, patrick wisdom

Can Fernando Tatis Jr. Achieve the Rarest “Double-Double” in Baseball History?

Should Tatis Jr. maintain his current pace in both categories, he’d finish the season with 45 HR and 31 SB, while venturing into uncharted territory by leading the league in SB while slugging .675 (a statistical benchmark never approached in the game’s history).

gehrig97 Posted: August 31, 2021 at 11:47 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: barry bonds, fernando tatis jr., jimmy sheckard, ty cobb, willie mays

The ‘What If?’ Hall of Fame - How a simple twist of fate might have sent these five players to Cooperstown

Sub required

3. Would Jimmy Wynn have made it to Cooperstown if the Reds never exposed him to an arcane draft?

Wynn had 55.8 bWAR at the time of his retirement, though neither he nor anyone else was aware of that fact in 1977. That’s below the Hall average, but there are Hall of Fame center fielders with a lower figure, including Max Carey, Earl Averill and Kirby Puckett.

When you look at Wynn’s stadium splits, the Astrodome was neither his best venue, nor his worst. He hit .263/.382/.457 there over 2,843 plate appearances. During his best six-year stretch (by bWAR, from 1965 to 1970), he hit .271/.387/.475 there, while slashing at .263/.367/.488 everywhere else.

So Wynn was a bit better at home, but the cavernous Astrodome depressed ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 11:14 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: dave kingman, don mattingly, dwight evans, jimmy wynn, tommy john

Media Orgs & Sports Business Execs Turn To Streaming In the Face of Floundering RSNs

What was once the most profitable collection of networks around, regional sports networks (RSNs) are floundering — and are turning to streaming to help stop the fall.

A new report by the Sports Business Journal revealed that over a dozen high-ranking sports business executives are concerned with the future of RSNs and are working with leagues, teams, and cable distributors to help find a new way to broadcast games. “The house is on fire here,” one network executive said to SBJ, referring to the RSN business. But why? It’s twofold — growing streaming services and a lack of pay-TV subscriptions.

Regional sports networks make their money from cable operators who shell out big bucks to keep sports networks happy, as live sports is ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 10:30 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: regional sports networks, streaming, television

Dusty Baker feels the weight of being loved and hated by baseball

Baker has won more than most in his 50-plus years in the major leagues. He played in four World Series with the Dodgers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He won one of them. As a manager with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Nationals and now the Astros, Baker is 1,969-1,719 with a .534 winning percentage. His teams have made the playoffs 10 times in 24 years. One of them won the pennant.

But Baker is, to this point, known as much for the games he hasn’t won — Game 7 of the 2002 World Series with the Giants, Game 7 of the 2003 National League Championship Series with the Cubs, Game 5 of the 2016 and 2017 NL Division Series with the Nationals. Baker remembers every one of them, every missed call, every bad ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 10:08 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dusty baker

My Prerogative: Dave Parker and the 1989 Oakland A’s

My average at the end of April was around .194. Hadn’t hit a dinger in weeks. The reporters started getting on my manager, Tony La Russa. “What will you do with Parker?” “Is Sandy looking around the league for a bat?”  “How much time are you going to give him to turn it around?”

I had ears. Knew where the clock was in the room. 

Tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock….

“How long will you start Parker?”  La Russa didn’t bat an eye.

“September 1. That’s my answer.”  The man stuck with me through the depths of my slump.

djordan Posted: August 31, 2021 at 06:56 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dave parker, mlb, oakland a's

Monday, August 30, 2021

Giants add former All-Star Jose Quintana for needed innings

The Giants didn’t wait long to add another veteran arm after parting ways with Tyler Chatwood.T

Veteran lefty José Quintana was claimed from the Los Angeles Angels on Monday morning, adding another potential option to soak up innings during the final month of the season. The front office has been aggressive in pursuing depth options since the trade deadline, with righties Matt Shoemaker and Logan Ondrusek joining Chatwood on the Triple-A staff at one point.

Chatwood was DFA’d on Sunday, but Shoemaker and Ondrusek remain in Triple-A as potential fill-ins. Quintana adds yet another experienced arm as the Giants try to keep their narrow lead in the NL West.

Quintana made 24 appearances for the Angels and didn’t pitch well, posting a 6.75 ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2021 at 04:46 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, jose quintana

How the Giants took a familiar roster and unearthed the best team in baseball

If you’re open to the softer side of analysis, there’s something to be gleaned from that last bit. That is: the importance and power of buy-in.

Certainly, the new regime ushered in by Zaidi and Kapler represents a decisive modernization of an organization that won three world championships under the savvy-but-old-school duo of Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy. If you pull the individual threads that constitute the tapestry of their success this season, many lead back to Zaidi’s ability to identify overlooked talent. Arming those players with the information to maximize their largely untapped potential has led to breakouts for Wade, Darin Ruf, Kevin Gausman and Webb, among others.

“I feel like sometimes guys are kind of taught the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2021 at 04:32 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: giants

Pirates fire hitting coach Rick Eckstein

The Pittsburgh Pirates fired hitting coach Rick Eckstein, the team announced Monday.

“This was a difficult decision as we have a great deal of respect for Rick,” general manager Ben Cherington said in a statement. “Making the decision now gives us the opportunity to use the rest of the season to focus on improvements in our hitting program while also starting the process of looking for a replacement. We wish Rick all the best moving forward.”

Eckstein, 48, had been with the team for most of three seasons. He was hired in November 2018 after previous stints with the Angels and Nationals.

Through Sunday, the Pirates had hit only 101 home runs this season, 16 fewer than any other major-league team. They also rank last in OPS (.665) and ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2021 at 11:12 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, rick eckstein

Montreal Expos author Jonah Keri pleads guilty to domestic assault charges

As part of the guilty plea, Keri admitted to numerous instances of violence against his ex-wife, all detailed in an agreed statement of facts read in court.

They included hitting and biting his wife in the face, grabbing a kitchen knife and threatening to remove their unborn baby from her body and telling her he would throw her off a balcony.

Keri also admitted to telling his wife he would kill her brother and father if she ever told them about the violence. On two occasions, he threatened to crash the car they were driving in.

The Crown and defence are waiting for a pre-sentence report to be completed before beginning sentencing arguments. The case is scheduled to be back in court in late November.

In court, Keri’s lawyer, Jeffrey ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2021 at 10:37 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: jonah keri

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-30-2021

Pittsburgh Press, August 30, 1921:

In a recent [Adirondack League] game between Malone and Loon Lake at the latter resort, one of the Malone players busted one on the trade-mark for a humming bird into short right field. The outfielder came in fast, trying hard for a pickup, but as he stooped to scoop the ball, it faded from the scene.

A frantic search revealed that the old apple had shot cleanly into a woodchuck hole, down which it sailed so far that new ball had to be put in play. It was probably the shortest home run on record.

At least until Benito Santiago’s bunt home run off of Mike Witt.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 30, 2021 at 08:15 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history


Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Rays Are Winning Efficiently, but at What Cost?

They also have done it with an offense that has struck out more times than any team but the Tigers, and with a pitching carousel that has churned through 66 different pitchers—more than half of whom (34) lasted less than 15 appearances. If this is the new model, the players association should be concerned. The Rays are wickedly smart, and, in the business of winning baseball games efficiently, no franchise does it better. But in the business of entertaining, the style does not sell. What should bother the PA is how players, especially pitchers, are being treated as fungible assets.


The churn rate in Tampa Bay is so high that the Rays:

• Used a franchise record 35 pitchers to play the first 110 games this year.

• Made 173 ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 29, 2021 at 10:14 PM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Michigan beats Ohio to win state’s first Little League World Series championship since 1959

Twice, Jackson Surma walked to the plate with runners in scoring position in the biggest game of his young life. Both times he delivered.

Surma drove in four runs and Ethan Van Belle struck out eight as Michigan beat Ohio 5-2 on Sunday in the championship game of the Little League World Series.

“The first one, I knew I had runners on second and third,’’ Surma said. “There weren’t two outs, so I needed just something in play. He threw me a curveball, I sat on it and drove it to left. The second one, he threw me a high fastball and I went up there and got it.’‘

The team from Taylor North Little League delivered the first LLWS title for the state of Michigan since 1959 when Hamtramck National Little League won it all.

“We’re just excited ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 29, 2021 at 10:12 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: little league world series

Yadier Molina’s Hall of Fame case is perplexing, but here’s why the catcher is deserving


Earlier this week, venerable Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina announced that—after signing a one-year extension with the Cardinals—2022 would be his final season. Once his farewell tour ends, it will bring to an end a 19-year career all with the Cardinals. It’s a career that includes 10 All-Star Games, nine Gold Gloves, four Platinum Gloves, two World Series titles and plenty of adulation from the St. Louis area and beyond.

Once Molina has been retired for five years, he’ll be on the Hall of Fame ballot. His case is a perplexing one at the intersection of numbers and the so-called intangibles.

In JAWS, Molina ranks 22nd all-time among catchers, well below the average Hall of Fame catcher and trailing contemporary players like Jason ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 29, 2021 at 06:47 PM | 244 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, yadier molina

Are the New York Yankees for real? What you should—and shouldn’t—believe

If the Yankees miss the playoffs, or exit early, what would it mean for manager Aaron Boone? And how might it affect the team’s offseason plan?

Lee: I think part of this would be dependent on exactly how the Yankees exit. Boone certainly needs to take some of the blame for how this team performed early, but he also deserves credit for helping turn things around. Beyond Boone, I’m curious to see how the Yankees approach Gleyber Torres’ future, given his struggles this season—especially with a marquee shortstop like Trevor Story available as a free agent.

Schoenfield: Boone is in the final year of his contract and there has been little public discussion of an extension, so it does feel like the Yankees have to at least make the postseason ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 29, 2021 at 06:46 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

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