Anthony Rizzo lets the kids play: Cubs superstar surprises Little Leaguers in Chicago

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is taking the MLB’s “let the kids play” mantra literally.

The 2016 World Series Champion and retired Little Leaguer surprised a group of young Chicago-area baseball players on Tuesday by inviting them to run drills and imparting some invaluable wisdom.

Rizzo told AOL.com that his main advice for current Little Leaguers is simple, and it’s the same advice that he received when he was in their shoes: Just have fun.

“My mom and dad always made it very easy for my brother and I to have fun in all sports, and baseball was no different,” he said. “We always had a good time, we were always laughing, we were always the team that had the most fun. That’s what being a kid is all about.”

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Nine pitchers, 3 Red Sox in ESPN’s top 25 MLB players of 2019

The 2019 MLB season technically kicked off in Japan on Wednesday, but all 30 teams will be returning to action in just over a week on March 28. 

Over the offseason, ESPN released its ranking of the top 100 MLB players of 2019. A panel of writers, experts and analysts voted from a list of 300 players to select the best of the best in the league entering the new season. 

Some major names, like the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, saw their stock drop from 2018. In fact, five players from last year’s top 50 weren’t even ranked this time around. Others, like pitchers Aaron Nola and Gerrit Cole, moved way up on the list after impressive campaigns last season. 

The World Series champion Boston Red Sox were well-represented in the top quarter of the list. American League MVP and Boston outfielder Mookie Betts made a significant jump up in the rankings, but was it enough to topple last year’s No. 1 (and soon-to-be highest-paid player) Mike Trout?

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Red Sox employee’s windshield smashed by Salvador Perez home run

Salvador Perez has 21 home runs so far this season — and the most recent one did damage to more than just his opponents.

On Friday, the Kansas City Royals catcher homered off of Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello in the second inning of their game at Fenway Park. The 417-foot moonshot put the Royals on top 1-0 in a game they ended up winning 4-2.

That hit wasn’t just a blow to the Red Sox, but also a team employee whose car was directly in the baseball’s path.

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Chicago Cubs gift 2016 World Series ring to Steve Bartman

Fourteen years after the infamous catch that changed his life, disgraced Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman has returned to Wrigley Field.

On Monday, Bartman met with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and received the gift of a lifetime — a World Series ring.

“On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship Ring to Mr. Steve Bartman,” the Cubs said in a statement to local news station WGN.

Bartman became a household name in 2003 when he reached for a foul ball that left fielder Moises Alou was attempting to catch during Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The Cubs were winning that game, but would go on to lose it and the series, lengthening their championship drought another year.

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The Houston Astros held a touching pre-game funeral in the outfield — for a glove

Carlos Beltran’s Baseball Reference page still lists him as a center fielder, but he hasn’t actually played an inning in the outfield in two months.

The Houston Astros have been using the 20-year veteran as their designated hitter since May (something they may want to reconsider given his .235 batting average), leaving his glove to collect dust on the shelf.

Beltran’s transition from center to DH has been difficult for many, and on Monday, his teammates came together to support each other and mourn the loss of a friend: Beltran’s outfield glove.

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Washington Nationals fan uses obituary to rip team’s bullpen

For dedicated sports fans, your team of choice is your team for life. You support them through the ups and the downs, the championships and the last-place finishes, for as long as you live.

This was especially true for Patrick “Pat” Killebrew, who passed away last week from watching his beloved Washington Nationals blow a game.

Wait, what?

That’s right — according to Killebrew’s obituary via the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the 68-year-old passed away peacefully “after watching the Washington Nationals relief pitchers blow yet another lead.”

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Red Sox announcer apologizes for comment about translators during games after facing backlash

New York Yankees star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka took to the mound at home on Tuesday night to face the team’s historic division rival, the Boston Red Sox.

Tanaka pitched only five innings and gave up five runs on on five hits, including three home runs in a 5-4 loss to Boston — but his performance wasn’t what garnered the most attention during the game.

Tanaka, who was born in Japan, utilizes a translator whenever he needs to speak with his teammates or coaches, including in conversations on the mound while the game is going on.

During the game’s broadcast, Red Sox color commentator Jerry Remy said he didn’t believe translators should be permitted.

“I don’t think that should be legal,” he said after Tanaka’s translator paid the pitcher a visit alongside the team’s pitching coach, Larry Rothchild.

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St. Louis Cardinals delete sexist tweet after backlash from fans

The St. Louis Cardinals deleted a tweet on Tuesday that was sent from the team account earlier in the day that many viewed as sexist.

The message in question was promoting a May 17 giveaway of replica World Series rings — but it implied that men who “love baseball” should obtain the gift for the women in their lives who “[love] jewelry.”

According to outraged fans, the tweet connoted that baseball and jewelry are mutually exclusive interests — and women are bigger fans of accessories then they are of sports.

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TBT: When A-Rod was the starting shortstop for the Seattle Mariners

It’s been a long and interesting road for Alex Rodriguez, once one of the most highly touted prospects in all of baseball and now a member of both the 600 home run club and the 3,000 hit club.

Born in the Manhattan borough of New York City, Rodriguez grew up a fan of the New York Mets, likely never imagining he would later become one of the most recognizable members of the Mets’ crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees.

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TBT: This once-nameless baseball player is now a huge star

Twenty-four years, three World Series championships and over 500 home runs ago, a young man by the name of David Arias was signed out of high school by the Seattle Mariners. He spent four years in the Mariners’ farm system before being traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1996 as a ‘player to be named later.’

Upon arriving in Minnesota, that player to be named later informed his new team that Arias was not his preferred last name — he would rather be listed as David Ortiz. In 2003, when he joined the Boston Red Sox, he became Big Papi.

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