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US Army Veteran Chris Rowley Wins Major League Debut For Blue Jays

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It was a special afternoon yesterday in the life of United States Army veteran Chris Rowley, as he won his Major League debut for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Rowley, 27, defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in his team’s 7-2 home victory, allowing one earned run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one.

Unsurprisingly, Rowley left the game to a standing ovation.

When asked in a post-game interview what moment would stick out the most from his debut, Rowley said: “Probably the standing ovation. That was really, really cool. And obviously having my family here to share it with me.”

Rowley is a first lieutenant assigned to Individual Ready Reserve. He graduated in 2013 from the United States Military Academy—or West Point—and is the first graduate of the academy to reach the majors.

ESPN quoted Rowley today in an article: “It still feels pretty surreal. I’m slowly processing it. I’m still in that initial surge. My phone is getting blown up, I have all these interviews. Twenty-four hours ago, relatively nobody knew my name. Now all of a sudden this has blown up. I’m trying to handle the surreal aspect of it.”

According to USA Today, Rowley pitched nine games in 2013 for Toronto’s Rookie League affiliate before starting his service with the US Army. He missed the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to active duty, and in January 2016, received an exemption for the remainder of his service.

Pitching for single-A in 2016, Rowley was 10-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 31 games (14 starts). He started this year in double-A, posting a 1.73 ERA in 52 innings before getting the call to triple-A where he had a 2.82 ERA in 54 1/3 innings.

A Massachusetts native for life, Seth was born into the love for Boston Sports. He played baseball for eight years growing up and has always been an avid fan of MLB. Other than writing, some of his hobbies include biking, landscaping, dancing, moving furniture, playing basketball, and going to the batting cages. Seth aspires one day to be a PA announcer in the NBA.

MLB

Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith

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The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.

Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):

“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.

“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”

Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats. 

Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.


“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.

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Chicago Cubs

MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.

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Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.

According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.

Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.

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MLB

Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team

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Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.

Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.

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