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George W. Bush photobombs sports reporter

Former President George W. Bush is enjoying his retirement, and doesn’t mind having some fun at a reporter’s expense.

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Bush was while enjoying a Texas Rangers game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Globe Life Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday night. As he returned from a concession stand, Bush walked behind Fox Sports reporter Emily Jones, who was doing a standup segment. Bush looked into the camera and shouted “Hey” before returning to his seat.

Call it a presidential photobomb.

After Jones finished her segment, she walked over to Bush and asked if he had photobombed her, Time reported.

“Yep, I sure did,” Bush said.

"He's obviously very playful and likes to joke around. I can't even tell you what a nice man he is," Jones told Time, adding that he often asks her about her children.

Bush watched Wednesday's game from the dugout suite, which was first designed to accommodate his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and Secret Service agents, Jones said.

Tensions high, suspensions levied in Braves-Jays series

In the hours leading to the final game Thursday night in a contentious home-and-home series between the Braves and Blue Jays, fallout continued from Wednesday’s wild 8-4 win by Atlanta. It included confirmation of Freddie Freeman’s fractured wrist after being hit by a pitch, a two-game suspension for a Toronto player’s use of a homophobic slur, and more criticism of Jose Bautista for his bat-flip and stares at Braves players not at all amused by the antics.

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Toronto center fielder Kevin Pillar was suspended two games by the Blue Jays for shouting a homophobic slur at Braves reliever Jason Motte in the seventh inning, which led to the first of two benches-and-bullpens-clearing incidents (Bautista would cause the second one just an inning later). Major League Baseball is also investigating the incident and could levy further discipline.

Pillar, upset at being “quick-pitched” by Motte — Pillar struck out on the outside pitch to end the inning — shouted the slur at Motte, which was clear to anyone watching the game on television and reading Pillar’s lips, and audible to many fans in the seating sections behind home plate. Both benches and bullpens cleared as players raced onto the field, though no punches or shoving resulted before the scrum was broken up and play continued.

Pillar called Motte after the game to apologize, and on his Twitter account Pillar said he’d used “inappropriate language” and that, “By doing so I had just helped extend the use of a word that has no place in baseball, in sports or anywhere in society today. I am completely and utterly embarrassed and feel horrible to have put the organization in this position.”

Motte didn’t make himself available to reporters following the game or before Thursday’s series finale.

Pillar wrote on his Twitter account that he had “apologized personally to Jason Motte, but also need to apologize to the Braves organization and their fans, and most importantly to the LGBTQ community for the lack of respect I displayed last night.”

Part of the team’s written statement said, “The Toronto Blue Jays are extremely disappointed by the comments made by Kevin Pillar” and that “in no way is this kind of behavior accepted or tolerated, nor is it reflective of the type of inclusive organization we strive to be.” 

An inning later, Bautista repeated behavior that he has, on the other hand, become known for. With similar results as previous incidents, though he didn’t get punched like he did a year ago.

With the Braves leading 8-3 in the eighth inning, Bautista riled the Braves when he homered off Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty and flipped his bat. As Bautista rounded first base in front of Jace Peterson, the Braves’ fill-in first baseman shouted to Bautista to let him know what Peterson thought of the bat flip and staring at O’Flaherty. Bautista briefly looked as though he were about to stop — Peterson said Thursday it would not have been pretty if Bautista had stopped — before the Blue Jays veteran continued his trot around the bases.

“That’s something that’s making the game tough to watch lately,” O’Flaherty said afterward. “It’s just turned into look-at-me stuff, it’s not even about winning anymore. Guy wants to hit a home run in a five-run game, pimp it, throw the bat around — I mean, I don’t know. It’s frustrating as a pitcher. I didn’t see it at the time, but I saw the video — he looked at me, tried to make eye contact. It’s just tired. We’ve seen it from him, though.”

This wasn’t anything quite like Bautista’s over-the-top bat flip against the Rangers in the 2015 playoffs, when he tossed it at least 20 feet in the air in the direction of the Rangers dugout. But given the game situation — Braves led by five runs and bases were empty — the flip and subsequent hard stares from Bautista irked the Braves.

When Bautista crossed home plate and stared at Kurt Suzuki, the Braves catcher stepped up and told him what he thought of the whole incident, too. As they two exchanged words, the benches and bullpens cleared again. Order was again restored without punches thrown or ejections.

After the game, O’Flaherty delivered a withering line about Bautista: “I’m surprised he’s ready to fight again after last year. But he’s throwing some looks around so … it’s what it is.”

He was referencing a famous punch May 15, 2016, when the Rangers’ Rougned Odor hit Bautista with a devastating right hand, after the Texas second baseman took offense to Bautista’s hard slide and then punished him when Bautista dared shove Odor as things escalated.

If Bautista had stopped at first base Wednesday, the stage was set for a potentially similar incident with Peterson, a former college football defensive back and linebacker who wasn’t about to back down if the situation had gone next-level.

“I’m not out looking to start a fight,” Peterson said. “But for me it’s just about situations, I think different situations you can handle the way the game’s going and do things differently. Bautista’s a great player. I don’t think he did it with intent, but he did it. At that moment it kind of triggered me. I felt like we were disrespected a little bit. Now it’s just time to go on and play baseball.”

In the first inning Thursday, Julio Teheran threw inside on the first pitch to Bautista and hit him in the thigh with the second pitch. This time, Bautista didn’t stare at the pitcher. He trotted to first base.

Former MLB star Doug DeCinces convicted of insider trading

Former major-league third baseman Doug DeCinces was convicted Friday of insider trading after a two-month trial in which he was accused of illegally using private information from a friend to net $1.3 million, the Orange County Register reported.

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DeCinces, who spent most of his 15-year career with the Baltimore Orioles and California Angels, was accused of receiving insider information from James Mazzo, a Laguna Beach neighbor who owned Santa Ana-based Advanced Medical Optics.

In turn, federal prosecutors said, DeCinces passed the inside information on to his friend, David Parker, and other DeCinces family members and acquaintances.

Jurors deliberated for four days before finding DeCinces guilty of 14 felony counts, the Register reported. Parker was convicted of three felonies.

Each count carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

DeCinces, 66, stared toward the jury, shaking his head slightly, as the guilty verdicts were read. Jurors were unable to reach a decision regarding an additional 15 counts against DeCinces, deadlocking 8-4 in favor of guilt, the Register reported.

DeCinces’ attorney, Ken Julian, said that he plans to file a motion for a new trial.

“Obviously, this is a disappointment for everybody involved,” Julian told the Register. “This is not the end.”

The judge allowed DeCinces and Parker to remain free pending sentencing after both men promised Guilford that they will return to court. A sentencing date has not been set.

DeCinces began his major-league career in Baltimore in 1973 and joined the Angels in 1982. He finished his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987. He batted .259 with 237 home runs and 879 RBI during his career.

Mets suspend pitcher Matt Harvey for 3 days

The New York Mets suspended right-hander Matt Harvey for three days without pay for an undisclosed violation of team rules, ESPN reported Sunday.

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Mets general manager Sandy Alderson would not give details about Harvey's infraction, saying that he was sent home and that his suspension started Saturday.

"We'll keep it in-house, the way it's supposed to be," manager Terry Collins said before Sunday’s game.

Left-hander Adam Wilk was called up from Triple-A to replace Harvey as the Mets' starter Sunday against the Marlins, ESPN reported. Noah Syndergaard was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Wilk on the 40-man roster, the New York Daily News reported. 

Collins said the suspension was a tough decision.

"There's things with this job that certainly are internal that the public can't see, and how hard it is, and this one's a tough one," Collins told the Daily News. "So we hope to put it behind us and move forward.

The Mets were involved in another controversy Saturday when a photo posted by the team on social media unwittingly showed a sex toy that was in Kevin Plawecki’s locker, the Daily News reported. An MLB source told ESPN on Sunday that Harvey's suspension had nothing to do with that incident. Plawecki has said he had no knowledge of the toy being in his locker.

Harvey, 28, is 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA in six starts this year as he tries to rebound from the surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome that ended his 2016 season. The right-hander made 17 starts last season, going 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA.

Harvey's best season was in 2015, when he went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA and led the Mets to the World Series.

Reports: Derek Jeter, Jeb Bush group agrees on deal to buy Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has reached an agreement to sell the team to a group of investors that includes New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, according to a report from the Miami Herald on Tuesday afternoon.

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There are "other details to be worked out," but that deal would have to be approved by Major League Baseball, according to an MLB source.

The source told the Herald that Bush and Jeter's group has agreed to pay $1.3 billion for the team.

Though both the Marlins and the purchasing group are confident that the deal will get done, the actual process could take months to finalize.

The MLB source suggested that Bush, who recently ran for the Republican nomination for president, plans to be the Marlins’ “control person,” or the individual who would have ultimate control over franchise decisions.

The report suggests that Jeter, too, will have an active role with the team.

This news comes just hours after Marlins president David Samson ripped to shreds a Forbes magazine report suggesting that the Bush/Jeter group was the only one interested in buying the team. Forbes had reported earlier in the day that another potential ownership group — this one including Tagg Romney, son of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine was out of the running to buy the Marlins.

“As with most things published by Forbes regarding the Miami Marlins,” Samson told the Herald, “this most recent story is also inaccurate. There are inaccuracies contained in each paragraph.”

1876 documents that launched MLB headed for auction

It could be called the Ten Commandments of Major League Baseball, even though it’s 74 pages long. Or perhaps, since it has just been discovered, it could be baseball’s version of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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Regardless, the 1876 “Founding Documents and Original Constitution of Major League Baseball” are a valuable piece of sports memorabilia. The documents will go on sale May 24 in online bidding sponsored by SCP AuctionsSports Collectors Daily reported.

The artifact is a handwritten document that officials from California-based SCP Auctions claim is of “unprecedented historical significance.” The contents became part of baseball’s early bylaws, but the location of the original documents had been a mystery. They had been in the possession of the family of a longtime National League executive and had been passed down through the generations, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

“This is a huge revelation,” SCP Auctions Vice President Dan Imler told USA Today. “This is not a document that has made the rounds publicly. It’s never been exhibited in a major institution. It’s never been sold previously in a prior auction. It has never appeared anywhere.”

Baseball became a professional sport in 1869 thanks to the barnstorming tour of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, and in 1871 the National Association was formed. But after the 1875 season, baseball owners realized that more rules and structure were needed to make baseball more successful and profitable. In a meeting held on Feb. 2, 1876, in New York, Chicago White Stockings owner William Hulbert proposed a blueprint for operating professional baseball.

The other owners hammered out a plan and a new association was formed, dubbed “The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs.” The league’s inaugural franchises would be located in Chicago, Boston, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Hartford and Louisville.

Copies of the plan were given to each club but the one coming to SCP Auctions is the first original known to have survived, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

“Very few documents of this importance exist in tangible form,” Imler told USA Today.

“It's really remarkable to think that a document of such historical importance has never been unearthed until now," SCP Auctions spokesman Terry Melia said Sunday. "We're just excited to see what kind of reaction the original MLB constitution gets from the collecting community when our online bidding starts May 24.

“We expect it will be very strong." 

Authenticating the constitution took several months, as experts confirmed the age of the ink and the paper. The handwriting was analyzed and baseball historian John Thorn added his expertise as a consultant, USA Today reported. 

The baseball constitution continues a trend of originating documents that have come to auction. In 2016, SCP Auctions sold a set of 1857 documents representing the original rules of baseball for $3.26 million on auction, Sports Collectors Daily reported. James Naismith’s original 13-page “Rules of Basket Ball” sold for $4.34 million in 2010 by Sotheby’s to a consortium put together by Josh Swade, who chronicled his quest in his 2013 book, “The Holy Grail of Hoops One Fan’s Quest to Buy the Original Rules of Basketball,” and in an ESPN documentary.

The SCP auction for the baseball constitution documents will close on June 10.

Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner injured in dirt bike accident 

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner was placed on the disabled list after suffering rib and shoulder injuries when he crashed his dirt bike on Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

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The Giants’ ace, who has led the team to three World Series titles, suffered bruised ribs and a Grade 1 or 2 sprain of the AC joint in his left shoulder in the accident, which occurred on the team's off-day in Denver, ESPN reported.

The Giants said they were unsure how long Bumgarner will be on the DL and plan to re-evaluate his injuries next week.

“He’s definitely very important to this club,” right fielder Hunter Pence told the Chronicle. “He’s a leader. It’s a big deal. We just hope he’s OK.”

Bumgarner told pitching coach Dave Righetti by text message that he was “a little beat up,” the Chronicle reported.

Bumgarner pitched in Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at Kansas City, allowing one run in six innings.

Giants manager said that Bumgarner was “very remorseful.”

“Here's a young guy, like a lot of us who think we're invincible, he's just having fun that day, hit a slippery spot and went down,” Bochy told ESPN. “I'm sure, looking at it now, Madison wishes he wouldn't have gotten on [the bike]. … Unfortunately, an accident happened.”

Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo offers batting practice passes to young fan

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is stepping up to the plate for a deserving young fan.



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Chicago’s all-star first baseman offered batting practice passes to 9-year-old Kolt Kyler, a Pierceton, Indiana, boy whose tears of joy after receiving tickets to see the Cubs game at Wrigley Field caused him to openly sob, WGN reported. The emotional moment was captured on video, which went viral.

“When u come for the game Kolt I’ll have BP passes waiting for you. NO better place to see the Cubs then right on the field,” Rizzo said in his tweet.

Kolt earned the tickets from his father for his hard work on the family farm, WGN reported. The game is in June, when the Cubs will host the St. Louis Cardinals.

Jackie Robinson broke MLB color barrier 70 years ago today

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

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The Dodgers had opened the 1947 season at home against the Boston Braves, and 26,623 fans attended the game at Ebbets Field. Robinson went 0-for-3 in his debut, won 5-3 by the Dodgers. He made the game’s first putout, receiving a throw from third base rookie Spider Jorgensen to retire Boston leadoff hitter Dick Culler. 

Despite the inauspicious debut, Robinson would play in 151 games. He hit .297 and won the first Rookie of the Year Award. He led the National League in stolen bases with 29 and collected 175 hits as the Dodgers reached the World Series.

Robinson was the first black player in the major leagues since Moses Fleet Walker played 42 games for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association in 1884. It was Walker’s only year in the majors, and no black had been on a major-league roster until Robinson debuted in 1947. 

Robinson would play 10 seasons, mostly at second base. He finished with a career average of .311. He played in six World Series for the Dodgers and retired after the 1956 season. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Twenty years ago today, baseball retired Robinson’s No. 42, in a dramatic announcement madeat Shea Stadium in New York by Commissioner Bud Selig, who was flanked by Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson; and President Bill Clinton.

Cubs’ rain delay allows David Ross fans to see him dance

What do Chicago Cubs’ fans do when there’s a rain delay?

Many didn’t leave Wrigley Field, staying to brave the rain to cheer on fan favorite David Ross as he dominated the dance floor.

The Jumbotron operators routed Ross’ competition on “Dancing with the Stars” after the storms cleared and as fans waited for the game to begin, WGN reported.

Ross danced the Viennese waltz to the same song he used as his walkup anthem his last season: “Forever Young.”

He was hoping his baseball fandom would translate to a W in the dance world. But the spin around the dance floor was scheduled in the middle of the Cubs’ home opener. He reminded his fans that he needed their votes and asked the Cubs to help him out.

Ross and his partner Lindsay Arnold had enough votes to make it to next week’s round, WGN reported.

The Cubs won after the 2-hour rain delay, beating the Dodgers 3-2.

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