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Mets’ Syndergaard — Bad splits with Ramos on me

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New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard downplayed a report that he was “livid” over having to throw to catcher Wilson Ramos during his start on Sunday and said his bad splits with Ramos at catcher are “on me.”

The New York Post reported on Monday that Syndergaard had confronted manager Mickey Callaway and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen over Sunday’s decision and has implored the team to let him pitch to another catcher.

“The whole idea that we had a ‘livid’ — or I was livid — conversation was completely false,” Syndergaard told reporters on Tuesday. “We had a very cordial and adult conversation about the matter.

“As far as Wilson, nothing but respect for the guy and it doesn’t change our relationship…he busts his a– everyday, I have ultimate respect for him. My only main concern was just having open dialogue with (the) front office and coaching staff.”

Syndergaard has a 5.09 ERA throwing to Ramos in 18 games and a 2.45 ERA with Tomas Nido in 10 games. The right-hander is 10-7 with a career-high 4.06 ERA overall in 28 starts this season. His name was mentioned in trade speculation as the July 31 deadline approached.

Syndergaard said Tuesday that “as of right now” he doesn’t have an issue with who catches him.

“My initial frustration and why there were extreme splits with different catchers, more so of the matter is, it’s all on me. I’m just trying to look for the answer,” Syndergaard said. “…There’s a certain it factor, there’s a relationship — a symbiotic relationship — that (pitchers and catchers) can possess and it’s all about being comfortable out there.”

Syndergaard can be a free agent following the 2021 season. Ramos signed a two-year, $19 million contract as one of Van Wagenen’s free-agent acquisitions in his first offseason since moving from being an agent to New York’s front office.

Van Wagenen said on Monday that he respected Syndergaard for sharing his feelings.

“We listened to him, he understands our thought process that he may have other catchers catch him,” the first-year GM said. “No different than he has earlier in the course of the season and we’ll continue to make those evaluations on a day-by-day basis that gives us a chance to win.”

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The Phillie Phanatic makeover has been revealed

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The Philadelphia Phillies played their spring training home opener on Sunday, and unveiled the new-look Phillie Phanatic.

Here’s a full breakdown of the Phanatic’s makeover, and the reason for the changes.

The Phillies defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3, by the way. And the Phanatic proved that some things never change.

See? We told you so.



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MLB tells court attempts at cheating are part of sports

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NEW YORK — Attempts at cheating are a part of sports, Major League Baseball said in urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by fantasy contestants.

Five men sued MLB, MLB Advanced Media, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox in federal court in Manhattan, claiming fraud, violation of consumer protection laws, negligence, unjust enrichment and deceptive trade practices by teams that violated MLB’s rules against the use of electronics to steal catchers’ signs. The five said they participated in DraftKings fantasy baseball contests.

“Rules violations — large and small, intentional and unintentional, technical and game-changing — are a never-ending source of sports television, talk radio, web and elevator commentary by sports pundits and fans alike,” MLB said Friday in papers submitted to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. “And fans’ general awareness of the potential for infractions is underscored in this case by the fact that clubs were publicly disciplined for electronic sign-stealing violations during the 2017 regular season.”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred ruled last month that the Astros violated sign-stealing rules during home games en route to their World Series title in 2017 and again in 2018. He suspended manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one season each, and both were fired by the team. Manfred fined the Astros $5 million, the maximum under MLB rules, and stripped the team of its next two first- and second-round draft picks.

He also is investigating allegations against the Red Sox.

In its papers, MLB cited a 2010 opinion by Judge Robert Cowen for a 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that upheld the dismissal of a suit by a New York Jets season-ticket holder against the NFL, New England coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots over the Spygate scandal.

“It appears uncontested that players often commit intentional rule infractions in order to obtain an advantage over the course of the game,” Cowen wrote.

MLB maintained that “plaintiffs got exactly what they bargained for: contests determined by baseball players’ actual performance on the field, whatever the contributing factors, predictable or unpredictable, may have been” and added “not one plaintiff claims to have lost any fantasy baseball contest as a result of sign-stealing or otherwise.”

Houston submitted papers to dismiss, citing the Astros’ better performance on the road in 2017: The Astros hit .279 at home with 395 runs and 115 homers at home vs. road stats of .284, 501 runs and 123 homers.

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Marlins’ Derek Jeter calls Astros scandal a ‘black eye’ for baseball

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JUPITER, Fla. — Derek Jeter wishes baseball could change the subject.

The Miami Marlins CEO, who masterfully steered clear of controversy throughout his Hall of Fame playing career, has watched with dismay each new headline in the Houston Astros‘ sign-stealing scandal.

“It’s like a slow drip of responses coming out from everyone,” Jeter said Monday at the Marlins’ spring training camp. “You hope at some point people can just move on. But look, it’s unfortunate. It’s a black eye for the sport.”

Jeter spoke publicly for the first time since commissioner Rob Manfred concluded the Astros violated rules by using a TV camera to steal catchers’ signs during their run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season.

Manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one season and then fired by the team. The commissioner’s punishment has been widely criticized because players were not disciplined.

“When you talk about people trying to get an edge in baseball, I don’t think that’s anything new. People have been trying to do it for years,” Jeter said. “But, obviously, people took it way too far. And there are penalties for it. They’re paying the price.

“Regardless of what the penalties are, others are going to have their opinions on what they think should happen. You hope that over time it passes. But I’m sure this is going to sting for a while.”

Last month, Jeter came within one vote of being a unanimous pick for the Hall of Fame. As the New York Yankees‘ shortstop he was all about winning, but in his two seasons with the Marlins they’ve gone 120-203.

Miami’s farm system is much improved, however, and while Jeter declines to predict when the Marlins might become playoff contenders, he believes the depth of young talent will begin to pay dividends in 2020.

“This organization is in a lot better shape than when we took over,” he said. “We should be a lot better this year than we were last year. I’ve always preached competition. We have an organization that is layered with talent. Guys are going to start pushing, and that’s a good thing.”

Miami went 57-105 in 2019, the worst record in the National League. Many projections have the Marlins winning around 70 games this year.

Another challenge for Jeter is to put more fans in the seats. Last season the Marlins finished last in the NL in attendance for the 14th time in the past 15 years.

“From the interactions I’ve had, people are starting to get excited,” Jeter said. “We’re trying to earn the trust of the fan base. It takes a little time. We’re hoping more people are starting to trust us, and they come out and give us a chance.”

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