All these homers are from MLB juicing the ball. Well, maybe.

It’s a discussion that’s far from over. There’s likely some underlying change or, as with the steroid era changes that’s causing all these dingers. A changed baseball could very well be part of it, but we’ll need more testing and more research to know for sure: Especially when UMASS Lowell has already done their own testing again and concluded something different than this pair did.

Regardless, it’s worth reading and thinking about the findings within that Ringer piece. Even if my advice to log off was unwisely ignored.

When is a home run with the bases loaded only worth one run? When Aaron Hicks reaches over the fence and catches it, so all the Angels ended up with was a sac fly.
The College World Series bracket and schedule is set, so prepare for some tournament baseball this weekend.

You won’t have to wait until this evening for the draft to resume. A pre-show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on, and then at 1 p.m. we’ll get the Twins making their next selection.

Arrieta is in this phase, and while he can come out of it clean, Verlander-style, there are never guarantees. Tim Lincecum’s availability is proof of that, even if the only similarities they really have is that they throw with their right arm and used to be much better.

A word of caution: Don’t look at the BABIP and consider the case closed. That works swell for Rizzo up there, but pitchers struggling to adjust to a diminished fastball are a different species. The pitchers will often try to do what worked in the past, and hitters have milliseconds more for what they were trying to do in the past. Milliseconds are all they needed in the first place, which means more line drives until the pitcher re-adjusts.

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MLB draft 2017 live stream: How to follow Wednesday’s selections online

The 2017 MLB Draft concludes on Wednesday with the busiest day of the three-day affair. Rounds 11-40 will get completed on the final day of the draft, with picks coming fast and furious all day.

There is no television coverage, but the draft can be followed online through, with occasional analysis mixed in with the 900 picks.

As you can imagine, this video spread quickly and when the Boston Red Sox got wind that all he wanted to do after getting out of the hospital was to go to a baseball field, the organization didn’t hesitate to reach out to the family and make a little boy’s day.

There is no doubt Ari absolutely love sports. His YouTube channel is filled with them — from playing hockey in the middle of the hospital just before his transplant to him tearing up some MLB: The Show while in intensive care.

To a lot of us, sports are just something entertaining and fun and something that doesn’t have a real impact on our day-to-day lives. For others like Ari, sports are what get you through some of the hardest times you will ever face.

The Padres’ shortstop solutions: Khalil Greene and Everth Cabrera in the boom years, and you don’t want to know in the lean years.

You might be tempted to call this the Curse of Ozzie Smith, and that’s okay. Run with that temptation. But don’t forget that Roberto Alomar probably could have handled shortstop for a couple decades, too. That’s also valid.

But there’s nothing that says he ever has to hit, either. He got just a couple dozen at-bats above Double-A, so this might be his offensive ceiling. I would almost believe that if he weren’t 23.

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The AL Central is a complete mess

The Twins are 29-26, under .500 at home, have been outscored by 29 runs, and are also two games ahead in the AL Central. The defending AL champion Cleveland Indians, meanwhile, are 29-28, outscoring their opponents but not by much, and just dropped a series to the NL West-leading Rockies. The Tigers, meanwhile, are right behind the two of them, sitting at .500 despite some serious rotation issues that have popped up already this season and limited them to a run differential of +3 despite scoring the fourth-most runs in the AL.

The AL Central is a complete mess, and somehow, the state of the first three teams in the standings don’t completely sum up why. This whole thing, from top to bottom, is messy as hell. The Royals sit just 4.5 games back of the Twins despite the fact that having multiple key pieces completely forgetting how to hit and a rotation where everyone pitching well besides Jason Vargas is on the DL. The Royals have been outscored by 50 runs, and yet they’re somehow half-a-game up on the rebuilding White Sox, who have only been outscored by three.

Here’s the problem with today’s position, though: Teams are generally pretty OK at finding second basemen.

Our last installment about first basemen pointed us to the devastatingly sad recent history of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who found more All-Star-caliber catchers over the last two decades than barely competent first basemen. There isn’t a team nearly that bad with second basemen. Of the 30 teams in baseball, two-thirds of them had a deserving starter at second just last year.

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The Rockies have lost 8 in a row, but everyone chasing them is just as awful

The Rockies have lost eight games in a row, and to compound the emotional problems that arise from that kind of stretch, those eight losses came on eight consecutive days. There are a few silver linings to this horrific stretch for Rockies fans, though, and we’re not talking about how well Colorado played in defeat or anything like that. No, it’s just that, while the Rockies were losing eight games in a row, nearly everyone chasing them for a playoff spot was nearly as bad.

Consider this: After the last Rockies victory, on June 20, the Cubs were 36-34, and standing atop the heap of NL teams waiting for a wild card spot. Chicago was 7.5 games back of the Diamondbacks, who held the second of the two NL wild cards. Now, after eight Rockies losses, the Cubs are 6.5 games back of the Rockies for that same second wild card.

Thompson calmed down briefly after taking damage in the first, but he gave up two more runs in the fourth on a Chris Hudgins single to left, and suddenly the winningest pitcher in college baseball this year was done after 78 pitches. That was his shortest outing of the season.

In addition to the teams, some of the top talent will be available in the upcoming amateur draft, including Brendan McKay of Louisville and Kyle Wright of Vanderbilt. We usually enjoy professional baseball, but take some time to enjoy the college game for the next few weeks, as its World Series is one of the best events of the year.

Brenly made four errors in the fourth inning. He was put at third base, where he didn’t belong, and he screwed up. Repeatedly. Four runs scored. Fans booed. His manager, Roger Craig, left him in because … well, screw you and stay in there, I guess.

In a sport where the all-time worst fielders can still make 90 percent of the plays, it’s hard to fathom four errors in one inning. It’s hard to dig a hole deep enough into the earth.

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MLB draft 2017: Hunter Greene selected No. 2 overall by Cincinnati Reds

With the No. 2 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, the Cincinnati Reds selected prep right-hander Hunter Greene out of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Greene was a two-way star in high school, and back in February didn’t sound like someone quite willing yet to choose one specific role.

Anyway, they’re finally back underway in Gainesville in a College World Series berth decider, and the Gators wasted no time in adding to their 1-0 lead from before the break. JJ Schwartz, in fact, is here to catch pitches, call plays, and mash massive dingers. Here’s his big boy jam in the bottom of the third:

That ball traveled the same exact line as his mash from earlier in the day, which nearly punched a hole in the Gators’ newly renovated basketball facility. This hit is even more remarkable because Schwartz landed two taters on the same day in consecutive games. That’s a hilarious counterpoise to Wake Forest’s Johnny Aiello, who slammed two homers in one game but on consecutive days. What?

This is March June.

Without Heimlich’s 0.79 ERA, the Beavers seemed to suffer not at all, since they haven’t lost a game in the tournament and are currently on a winning streak dating back to April 29. In the Beavers’ most recent game a 9-2 shellacking of Vanderbilt to advance to the CWS sometime starter Bryce Fehmel held the Commodores to just five hits in a complete game effort. As a staff, Oregon State’s starting hurlers own a 1.80 ERA on the season, the lowest in the country in some 40 years.

Alongside Fehmel, Jake Thompson’s 1.52 ERA and righty Drew Rasmussen can consistently reach into the mid-to-low 90s with their heat. Teams typically rotate between two starters every other game at this point in the tournament, so with three top arms ready to go, the Beavs have an embarrassment of starting stuff.

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MLB draft order 2017: Complete selection order for Rounds 3-10

The first two rounds of the 2017 MLB Draft are in the books, which brings us to day two to get through Round 10.

After getting television treatment on Monday on MLB Network, the remainder of the draft is available to watch online at On Tuesday, that coverage includes expert analysis and commentary from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo. Second-day coverage begins with a half-hour pre-show at 12:30 p.m. ET, followed by the draft itself at 1 p.m.

There are one-minute intervals between picks all day Tuesday, through Round 10.

There are no more compensatory picks left, not for free agents lost or previously unsigned picks, so the remainder of the draft has the same order for Rounds 3-40. That starts with the Minnesota Twins each round after their 103-loss season, and ends with the Chicago Cubs, who won 103 games in 2016 en route to their first World Series championship in 108 years.

Joe Mauer might not make the Hall of Fame, but he came closer than 99 percent of the players to put on a baseball uniform.

This pick didn’t come with the same clear dilemma, but the Twins did have a choice to make. It just might pan out.

It’s a baseball truism, though, that if the catcher is the field general of his team, the shortstop is the lieutenant general of the infield. A team that finds a good shortstop, much less a franchise-defining shortstop, has an instant advantage that most teams don’t.

These are the teams that have been good at finding shortstops for the last 20 years. And, because it’s not that interesting to point out that Derek Jeter was excellent for nearly that entire time, we will also look at the teams that haven’t been good at finding shortstops. At least two of them have been comically bad.

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Nationals fan’s obituary says he died after watching the relief pitchers ‘blow yet another lead’

It’s always sad when someone dies, so I’d like to preface this by giving out sincere condolences to the family and friends of Patrick Killebrew. Killebrew’s obituary made the rounds over the weekend, because of one detail that caught the eyes of Nationals fans. Here’s the obituary from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Pat, age 68, passed away peacefully at home, June 20, 2017, after watching the Washington Nationals relief pitchers blow yet another lead. Beloved father and husband, longtime attorney, former U.S. Navy Navigator and avid baseball fan and player. Join in a celebration of his life July 2, 6 to 8 p.m., at the SCA Clubhouse, 9601 Redbridge Rd., 23236. In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Nationals Bullpen Fund.

Florida then created a buildup in the top of the third, putting runners on second and third. LSU then intentionally walked catcher Mike Rivera to load the bases, which brought up Ryan Larson, the hero of the Gainesville super regional. He struck out looking for the second out of the frame, then Horvath popped up to the left side to end Florida’s threat.

The Gators really exploded in the top of the eighth, plating four runs and capitalizing on one of the worst base running blunders the College World Series has ever seen. LSU’s Jake Slaughter went out of his way to collide with Florida’s second baseman, and that immediately wiped the Tigers’ tying run off the board. Florida’s answer? Four runs in the next inning.

That was all Florida would need, forcing a pair of groundouts in the top of the ninth to seal the deal. That’s the Gators’ first College World Series championship in program history after making the final series three times previously.

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It’s the first weekend of the NCAA baseball tournament

Typically, we talk about major league ball in this space, or at least professional ball. Every once in a while, though, college baseball takes center stage, and this is the time of year for that to happen.

The draft is right around the corner, and all of this amateur talent is about to come into the forefront. Before that happens, we will see some of that talent on the big stage for the College World Series. The College World Series in Omaha is one of the most exciting events of the year, and before we can even get to that point, we have to go through the 64-team tournament, which is kicking off this weekend.

In light of the discovery that he’s a registered sex offender, Luke Heimlich, who plays for Oregon State, requested to be removed from the roster for his team’s upcoming appearance in the super regionals.

You thought we were done with NCAA baseball news? Nope! Davidson and Texas A&M played a 15 inning game on Friday, which is the longest in super regionals history.

Jace Peterson, who is currently playing for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves, made an absolutely insane catch yesterday. Everyone says that you’ve gotta see it, but you’ve really gotta see it.

It’s only been a few months, but things are already getting awkward with Ian Desmond and his five-year contract with the Rockies.

Yoenis Cespedes will eventually be back with the Mets, and when he is, Curtis Granderson should play in right field.

A half-naked man ran onto the field during a game between the Giants and Brewers, and Grant Brisbee wrote about it because … well, how could he not?

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Florida State allows game-tying run on a wild, blunder-filled play

In the evening session of the College World Series’ opening salvo, No. 4 LSU and Florida State are engaged in a spectacular, error-filled game, that’s already seen the Seminoles commit two errors. LSU has capitalized on all of FSU’s mistakes, holding the score down to a 4-3 Seminole advantage.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, though, some truly hair-raising baseball transpired, as Antoine Duplantis singled through the right side with a man on first. FSU right fielder Austin Wells mishandled the ball while fielding, letting it get by him, which advanced Duplantis to second and Cole Freeman over to third.

Oregon State does learn when a student is a registered sex offender, according to university spokesman Steve Clark. Oregon State Police send the university a list of registered sex offenders in Benton County on a regular ongoing basis, Clark said. The university then cross-checks those names with its student database to verify sex offenders who have enrolled.

The incident came to light as Benton Country, Oreg. sheriffs started investigating sex offenders who’d let their registrations as such drop. Heimlich’s registration lapsed in April, and The Oregonian learned of his past crime through a public records request.

Heimlich’s matriculation to Oregon State predates a 2015 updated policy on the part of the university that mandates student athletes to register any felony convictions they have in their past.

Heimlich’s status for the rest of the tournament remains unclear.

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Allen Iverson issues apology over skipping BIG3 game

Former NBA star Allen Iverson issued a formal apology Tuesday for skipping a BIG3 game Sunday in Dallas.

First and foremost, I apologize to Ice Cube and my BIG3 family, my fans and everyone disappointed by my absence in Dallas this past weekend, Iverson said, via social media. I have spoke with Ice Cube directly regarding the details of my absence. I will do my best to make up for this moving forward on the BIG3 tour.

The BIG3 made an official announcement Sunday stating they received no advanced warning of Iverson’s absence. The league then launched an investigation.

According to TMZ Sports, Iverson was gambling at a casino in Chicago hours before Sunday’s game.

While Iverson presented fans with no exact reason for his absence, it appears he’s cleared everything up with Ice Cube and the league.

Let’s be clear about this. Any move the Cavs make happens with the Warriors in mind. Despite the Celtics adding Gordon Hayward in free agency, the Cavs are still kings of the Eastern Conference until LeBron says otherwise. So the real question is: Does signing Rose close the gap on Golden State?

No, it doesn’t. While Rose showed signs of his former self last season, his style of play doesn’t improve Cleveland’s chances to win a title — in fact, it hurts the Cavs in that specific matchup.

Rose has never been a consistent outside shooter, but with the Knicks, he essentially eliminated the threat of a 3-point shot altogether. He averaged less than one 3-point attempt per game for the 2016-17 season and hit at a 21.7 percent rate, the worst of his career. He shot 5 of 11 on corner 3-pointers (45.4 percent) but an abysmal 8 of 44 above the break (18.2 percent). Rose was also one of the worst Knicks players in spot-up situations, scoring 0.80 points per possession (19.7 percentile in the league).

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