Braves' broadcasters call Chase Utley, Dodgers 'unprofessional'

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Braves' broadcasters call Chase Utley, Dodgers 'unprofessional'

Updated: Monday, 9:23 p.m.

I'm not sure anyone has ever accused Chase Utley of being "unprofessional."

Until the Braves broadcasters bashed Utley and the Dodgers on Saturday because they say he didn't take batting practice in the appropriate attire ...

Joe Simpson, who played in the big leagues from 1975 to 1983, had a major issue with the Dodgers' BP session.

"You know that I grew up in the Dodger organization and certainly was taught how to play professional baseball and do things the right way," Simpson began. "I want you to look at some things that were going on today in batting practice here with the Dodgers. What do you see? T-shirts. You see Chase Utley with no socks and pants up over his knees, and a T-shirt. This was prevalent with their whole team. And I think about fans that come to SunTrust Park who are Dodgers fans and want to see their players. They had no idea who any of them were."

Let's stop for a second. It's hard to imagine that there are people out there who would have no idea who Chase Utley, or Manny Machado, or Matt Kemp were unless they had their name on the back of their shirts. 

Simpson continued, making it a point to specifically target Utley.

"Chase Utley, I've had nothing but respect for him his whole career," Simpson said. "I think he's a great player, thought he always played the game the right way. That was an embarrasment what he had on today during batting practice."

By the way, Utley was wearing a KCancer shirt in a show of support for Strike Out Cancer Day and the Jason Motte Foundation. Motte, a former big-league reliever, started the foundation in 2010 to provide support for cancer patients, and the first Strike Out Cancer Day was in 2014. Those shirts will be worn around major league baseball on Sep. 2, which is Strike Out Cancer Day.

Like so many, Utley's teammate, Kike Hernandez, has a personal connection with cancer — his dad is a cancer survivor. Utley was wearing a version of the KCancer shirt that Hernandez modeled. Unsurprisingly, it seems like it's been selling pretty well since Saturday night.

Also, the connection between playing the game the right way and what you wear in batting practice is ...? 

Simpson didn't seem to have much of an answer, though his broadcast partner, Chip Caray, chimed in with an interesting point.

"You think of all the merchandising major league baseball does with their practice uniform and their batting practice jerseys," Caray said. "It's called a uniform for a reason."

As you know if you were at Citizens Bank Park last week, major league baseball has sold a decent number of Chase Utley uniforms over his 16-year career. I'm not sure Utley or the Dodgers are losing many fans or possible BP jersey sales because of what they wear before the game.

Simpson wrapped it up with a classic appeal to tradition: 

I think of Walter Alston, even Tommy Lasorda. Walter Alston would roll over in his grave if he saw that. Walter O'Malley would never allow such things. And I know it's a different age, a different era. But that's a complete lack of respect for the fans and for the game, and as I said, an embarrasment. Bobby Cox never allowed anyone in a Braves uniform to take the field for batting practice or anything else until they had their uniform on. And for batting practice, you had to have your batting practice uniform on that has your name on it, so the fans know who you are as you're taking batting practice.

That sort of argument — the kind that insists the old way is the right way, and everything else is disrespectful and unacceptable — draws more people away from baseball than whatever the players wear during batting practice.

By the way, the Braves lost their third straight game to the Dodgers on Saturday, 5-1. 

Check out the full video of Simpson and Caray's exchange here

Hernandez, who calls Utley "dad," responded on Twitter to Simpson and Caray's comments.

On Monday, Simpson apologized for his remarks.

Scott Boras lays out reasons why MLB players shouldn't give owners a 'bailout'

Scott Boras lays out reasons why MLB players shouldn't give owners a 'bailout'

In an e-mail to his clients obtained by The Associated Press, agent Scott Boras urged his players (which includes Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and other Phillies) to reject MLB's salary reduction proposal, citing debt financing as the reason franchises are facing financial issues during the coronavirus pandemic.

Boras wrote this:

"Remember, games cannot be played without you. Players should not agree to further pay cuts to bail out the owners. Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated.

"Owners are asking for more salary cuts to bail them out of the investment decisions they have made. If this was just about baseball, playing games would give the owners enough money to pay the players their full prorated salaries and run the baseball organization. The owners' current problem is a result of the money they borrowed when they purchased their franchises, renovated their stadiums or developed land around their ballparks. This type of financing is allowed and encouraged by MLB because it has resulted in significant franchise valuations.

“Owners now want players to take additional pay cuts to help them pay these loans. They want a bailout. They are not offering players a share of the stadiums, ballpark villages or the club itself, even though salary reductions would help owners pay for these valuable franchise assets. These billionaires want the money for free. No bank would do that. Banks demand loans be repaid with interest. Players should be entitled to the same respect.

"Make no mistake, owners have chosen to take on these loans because, in normal times, it is a smart financial decision. But, these unnecessary choices have now put them in a challenging spot. Players should stand strong because players are not the ones who advised owners to borrow money to purchase their franchises and players are not the ones who have benefited from the recent record revenues and profits.

"... Please share this concept with your teammates and fellow players when MLB request further concessions or deferral of salaries.”

Boras used Cubs ownership, the Ricketts family, to illustrate the point.

"Throughout this process, they will be able to claim that they never had any profits because those profits went to pay off their loans," Boras wrote. "However, the end result is that the Ricketts will own improved assets that significantly increases the value of the Cubs — value that is not shared with the players."

Boras' e-mail followed MLB's proposal to the players' association Tuesday of a sliding scale of prorated pay in 2020 in which the highest-paid players would receive the lowest percentage of their prorated salaries and the lowest-paid players would receive the highest percentage of their prorated salaries. In essence, Harper would receive a lower percentage of his $25.4 million AAV than Hoskins would receive from his $605,000 salary.

The players' association found the proposal insulting and is not interested in the sliding scale of pay. Max Scherzer, who is on the MLBPA's eight-man subcommittee, released this statement Wednesday night.

The Phillies are well stocked with Boras clients: Harper, Hoskins, Jake Arrieta, Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, Vince Velasquez, Cole Irvin, Nick Williams. Boras also, as of this week, represents Rays lefty and former AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell, whom Harper backed up recently after Snell commented on the pay dispute in a polarizing way.

Of course, not everyone agrees with Boras, as outlined in this NY Post piece and in this tweet by outspoken Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer.

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How to watch NBCSP's re-airs of Phillies' entire 2008 playoff run

How to watch NBCSP's re-airs of Phillies' entire 2008 playoff run

While MLB's pay dispute between owners and players rages on, we'll have some classic baseball for you to enjoy during the first three weeks of June.

Beginning this Monday, June 1, NBC Sports Philadelphia will re-air the Phillies' entire 2008 playoff run — all 14 games — along with two specials and a replay of the '08 parade.

Forever Philly: Cole Hamels is a half-hour, 1-on-1 interview with the '08 World Series MVP about the postseason that defined his career.

And World Champions: The Story of '08 Phillies is an expanded 90-minute documentary with bonus '08 footage and plenty of interviews with the key figures such as Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Charlie Manuel, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and many more.

Throughout these three weeks, Jim Salisbury and I will also be looking back at different angles of each game in articles, videos and in each Phillies Talk podcast in June. We'll dig back into those big moments, but also the moments behind the scenes.

Here is the TV schedule. Each game will be re-aired at 7 p.m. Both parts of the famous multi-day World Series Game 5 will air on the same night.

NLDS vs. Brewers

Monday, June 1 — NLDS Game 1

Tuesday, June 2 — NLDS Game 2

Wednesday, June 3 — NLDS Game 3

Thursday, June 4 — NLDS Game 4

NLCS vs. Dodgers

Monday, June 8 — NLCS Game 1

Tuesday, June 9  — NLCS Game 2

Wednesday, June 10 — NLCS Game 3

Thursday, June 11 — NLCS Game 4

Friday, June 12 — NLCS Game 5

World Series vs. Rays

Monday, June 15 — WS Game 1

Tuesday, June 16 — WS Game 2

Wednesday, June 17 — WS Game 3

Thursday, June 18 — WS Game 4

Friday, June 19 — WS Game 5 (Parts 1 & 2)

Forever Philly: Cole Hamels

Monday, June 1 — 9:30 p.m. (Premiere)

Monday, June 1 — 10:30 p.m.

Monday, June 1 — 11:30 pm (NBCSP+)

Tuesday, June 2 — 11 a.m.

Monday, June 8 — 9:30 p.m.

World Champions: The Story of the ’08 Phillies

Sunday, June 21 — 7 p.m. (Premiere)

Sunday, June 21 — 8:30 p.m. (Replay)

Sunday, June 21 — 4 p.m. World Series Parade

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