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Price slams MLB for light Jackie Robinson Day schedule, league responds

Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price criticized Major League Baseball on Wednesday for its game schedule for Monday’s Jackie Robinson Day.

“(A third) of MLB teams had an off day on Jackie Robinson day,” Price tweeted. “I just can’t wrap my head around that. We’ve had a problem for a while and this couldn’t make it any more noticeable.”

Ten games were played Monday. The New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Francisco Giants all got the day off.

“No one should have an off day, let alone 10 teams,” Price added.

Major League Baseball responded to Price’s criticisms later Wednesday.

“In a perfect world, all teams would play on Jackie Robinson Day,” MLB announced in a statement, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. “Unfortunately, there are some scheduling challenges when April 15 falls on a Monday, which is a heavy travel day for clubs.

“MLB worked with the clubs who were not playing on Monday to ensure that their players would wear 42 and have festivities on Tuesday to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day.

“While it is not ideal, one benefit is that this extends the celebration and awareness of Jackie Robinson Day over two days and guarantees that every one of our players participates.”

All 30 clubs were scheduled to play on April 15 last season when the date fell on a Sunday. But five games were postponed due to weather so only 10 were played.

Price said he spoke with both Tony Clark of the MLBPA and commissioner Rob Manfred about his concerns. The Boston southpaw also recently criticized MLB for the manner in which it markets African American players.

Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and played his first major-league game on April 15, 1947.

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Mets’ Alonso wants to participate in Home Run Derby

New York Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has made quite an impression during his first three weeks as a major leaguer, and he wants to open more eyes this summer in Cleveland.

Alonso said on Thursday he’d love to take part in this year’s Home Run Derby scheduled for July 8 at Progressive Field. Participants likely won’t be announced for several months.

“I’d be honored to do it,” the 24-year-old told Newsday’s Tim Healy. “It’d be fun. It’d be a really cool show.”

“It’s one of those things that would be extremely fun to compete in, against the prolific power hitters from other teams and the other league,” he added. “If I got invited, I’d love to do it. … I’m sure during All-Star week it’d be an electric environment.”

Alonso forced his way onto the Mets’ Opening Day roster with a red-hot spring training performance, and he hasn’t let up yet. Over 75 big-league plate appearances, he’s crushed six homers – good for sixth in the NL entering play on Thursday – while slashing .323/.413/.708.

His raw power would make him a welcome addition to the Derby field. Last week, Alonso displayed his powerful stroke with a 454-foot home run in Atlanta that left his bat at 118.3 mph, the second-highest exit velocity of any homer so far this season.

He’s also barreled 12 balls, and his 28.6 barrels per batted ball event ranks fifth in the league, according to StatCast.

If Alonso is selected to participate in the Derby, he’ll attempt to become just the second rookie to win the event outright, following Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in 2017. Wally Joyner was a co-champion during his rookie season in 1986.

This year’s Home Run Derby winner will take home $1 million.

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