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MLB not extending suspensions for former Astros A.J. Hinch, Jeff Luhnow is in line with past moves

MLB not extending suspensions for former Astros A.J. Hinch, Jeff Luhnow is in line with past moves

The baseball season’s delay postponed games as well as booing.

Houston was bracing for a grouse-filled season as baseball’s top enemy. The title is usually reserved for the brash, arrogant or well-off (meaning the Yankees). Instead, the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal flipped them from model franchise to convicted cheaters. They would be the target of universal vitriol outside of Minute Maid Park. The level of booing would only vary based on location.

Former Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch would be forced to watch the anger-filled tour from afar. Major League Baseball suspended both for a year following its investigation into the organization’s sign-stealing scheme. The duo’s season was over before everyone else’s was delayed.

Thursday, ESPN reported those year-long suspensions would not be bumped until next season -- no matter length of delay this year. Luhnow and Hinch are off the league’s hook following the 2020 World Series. If there is no such event, they will be done regardless. This makes sense.

Why? It’s generally understandable. Baseball also had little choice.

When the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed to a deal with MLB in order to set baseline parameters for what would come in a shortened season, service time was the paramount issue. Players wanted their clocks to run. Nothing matters more to their finances. Juan Soto would gain another year toward becoming a future free agent. Moving the young players up in baseball’s drawn-out contractual process was crucial. But, much of this hinged on a single player: Mookie Betts.

Betts was traded in the offseason from Boston to Los Angeles because the Red Sox decided they did not want to pay one of the game’s great talents now or after the 2020 season, when he can become a free agent. Betts can be an unrestricted, 28-year-old, former-MVP free agent this winter. If he wasn’t allowed into free agency via his clock moving, not only would he personally be damaged, but the Dodgers may have received a year-plus of his work when they otherwise wouldn’t.

So, the players demanded their service time numbers move with or without a season. Their give was to prorate their salaries. That pushed everything into motion for the agreement.

It also means Luhnow and Hinch can’t suddenly receive disparate treatment. The season is going to be treated as if it exists, even if it does not. That idea extends to everyone, even the suspended cheaters.

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Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

When the Nationals stumbled out to a 19-31 start to last season, Davey Martinez didn’t panic.

He was only in his second season as an MLB manager, but Martinez had a roster of players far more talented than what its record was leading others to believe. Amid swirling rumors about his job status and the future of the franchise, Martinez trusted that his players would be able to turn things around.

Five months later, those very same players took down the Houston Astros in seven games to win D.C. a World Series title for the first time since 1924. Longtime baseball agent Scott Boras, who represented several stars for Washington such as Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, was among those who was particularly impressed with the way Martinez kept his clubhouse together.

Boras talked with NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas and Chase Hughes on Friday’s episode of the Nationals Talk podcast about what stood out to him when it came to Martinez’s approach.

“I really credit Davey Martinez because the one message he kept giving everyone was a true lack of concern for the moment and trusting very much about who all those players were,” Boras said. “Every player brought that to my attention at the end of the year, where this was not a compromised manager.

“This was not someone who questioned who we were. It was not someone who showed up and was really making more out of the future other than, ‘Be who you are today and go forward.’”


With sports pushed to the side while the world grips with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, fans have a lot of more important things on their minds than baseball right now. Yet Boras felt that Martinez’s approach was something everyone should try to emulate when dealing with the uncertainty that the future holds.

“It’s a real lesson for a lot of people,” Boras said. “I think particularly when you’re in an environment, ironically that’s in Washington, D.C., [with] what we’re going through with this pandemic and the focus on our leadership and our country…we really have to make sure that we’re looking about what’s within and not looking about the vague aspects of what the future may bring.

“The Washington Nationals represented their city and our country really well with that message.”

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Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Salivating and awe came first. Distribution will have to wait.

The Nationals revealed their jewel-laden championship ring during a slow-moving, hour-long telecast Sunday night which was originally supposed to include select players receiving their rings. After pushback from the players -- who wanted to receive the rings together when it was safe to do so -- the night was converted to more of a reveal than reaction.

The ring itself included several nods to the D.C. area, markers from the championship season, and specific personalizations.

Here’s a blow-by-blow:

-- The ring is 14-karat white and yellow gold

-- The “W” logo is made from 30 rubies to represent the 30 runs the team scored in the four World Series game

-- Around the logo are 58 pavé-set diamonds

-- Above and below the logo or the words “World Champions” set over the ring via 32 sapphires. This number represents the sum total of the team’s 2019 walk-off wins (7), shutout wins (13), longest winning streak (8 games), and playoff rounds won (4).

-- An additional 108 diamonds are featured along the ring top, representing the number of regular season and postseason wins (105), plus one diamond for the World Series title and two diamonds for the locations -- Washington and Montreal -- of the franchise.

-- The top and bottom of the ring have 12 rubies to represent the total number of postseason wins

-- On the left side in yellow gold is the player’s name

-- Beneath the name is a flag, the Capitol Building and the Roman numerals MMVI to represent the year the Lerner family purchased the franchise

-- The player’s number is in diamonds on the bottom left side

-- “Fight Finished” is on the right side

-- The interior of the ring is engraved with a shark symbol holding a yellow gold trophy. So, yes, a nod to “Baby Shark” has made it onto the rings

-- Also on the interior are the team logos of each opponent the Nationals defeated in the postseason

-- “Go 1-0 every day” is also engraved inside

-- In total, the average championship ring contains 170 total diamonds, 32 custom-cut sapphires, 31 custom-cut rubies, and 24 princess-cut rubies for a precious total stone carat weight of 23.2 carats.


The lead up of the ring reveal included congratulatory messages from a slew of people associated with the Nationals in the present and past.

Former closer Chad Cordero and catcher Brian Schneider started the video messages. Denard Span and Adam LaRoche followed. Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, former Redskins player Brian Mitchell, chef José Andrés and Dr. Anthony Fauci were among several others to send congratulations.

In a post-reveal show, the players emphasized they were looking forward to receiving the rings in a group.

“I think the only thing better than seeing it is going to be wearing it,” Howie Kendrick said.

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