The decision is a response to recent concerns voiced by Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation and expressed displeasure with the Chop during Games 1 and 2 in Atlanta.
As part of their efforts, the Braves announced they will not distribute foam tomahawks to each seat for Game 5.
“Out of respect for the concerns expressed by Mr. Helsley, we will take several efforts to reduce the Tomahawk Chop during our in-ballpark presentation today,” the Braves said in a statement.
The Braves also announced they will not play the accompanying music to the chant or use any “Chop-related graphics” on their scoreboard when Helsley is in the game.
“As stated earlier, we will continue to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand, as well as the overall in-game experience,” the team’s statement said. “We look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after the postseason continues.”
Helsley was informed of the decision by a reporter before batting practice, and he was pleased with the Braves’ proactive stance during the middle of the series.
“I think they’re taking the right steps,” said Helsley, who attended Sequoyah High School in Oklahoma. “I think it’s a positive thing. Fans might not like it, but maybe they can reflect back on it and see it was a good move.”
The Cardinals were also pleased that their opponent listened to one of their players and acted.
“It’s nice that the Braves are respectful of everyone involved, especially our player,” Cardinals general manager Mike Girsch said.
Helsley has appeared in two games in the series, striking out three in 1 1/3 innings.
Astros vs. Yankees – Live Game – October 18, 2019
CC Sabathia said the reception he got from fans was the main reason he got so emotional as he walked off the field for the final time in his career after suffering a shoulder injury in Game 4 of the ALCS. And despite the pain and the eventual Yankees loss, he says he feels blessed and at peace with how he went out. “I threw until I couldn’t anymore.”
Reports — MLB proposes overhaul of minor leagues, elimination of 40 teams
Major League Baseball is in negotiations with its 160 minor league teams about efforts to “reorganize elements of the system” that could reduce the number of affiliated teams from 160 to 120, according to reports.
The current agreement between MLB and the minor league teams — called the Professional Baseball Agreement — expires at the end of the 2020 season. MLB is looking to make some major changes, according to reports, that would overhaul all levels of the minors, particularly at low Class A and below.
Baseball America was the first to report the proposal and detail the restructuring.
Major League Baseball issued a statement to The New York Times saying that discussions are ongoing.
“We are in discussions with the owners of the Minor League teams to reorganize elements of the system with the goal of improving the working conditions of minor league players,” the MLB statement said, “including upgrading the facilities to Major League standards, increasing player compensation, reducing travel time between affiliates for road games, improving transportation and hotel accommodations, increasing the number of off days, and providing better geographical affiliations between the MLB clubs and affiliates.”
Other major changes would involve overhauling full-season minor leagues and shuffling teams throughout the Triple-A, Double-A, high Class A and low Class A levels into leagues that are more geographically friendly, according to Baseball America.
According to the reports, the 40 teams at the lower levels that are not included in this venture would be reclassified into a “Dream League,” which would be run jointly by MLB and Minor League Baseball and would include players who were not selected in the draft, which under this proposal would be moved from June to August and reduced to 20-25 rounds from the total of up to 40 in its current format.
According to The New York Times, Pat O’Conner, the president of Minor League Baseball, sent a letter warning teams of “significant impending changes” and advised not making any major decisions, including financial commitments, beyond the 2020 season.
Some minor league teams would lose existing affiliations with major league franchises under the proposal, according to the reports.
Giancarlo Stanton returns from quad injury as Yankees’ DH for Game 5
Stanton is the team’s starting designated hitter and will hit cleanup in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros, with Houston holding a commanding 3-1 series lead.
The left fielder suffered a right quadriceps strain in Game 1, a 7-0 win for the Yankees, while legging out a single in his first at-bat. Stanton also had a solo home run in the sixth inning of that game.
Manager Aaron Boone said ahead of Game 4, an 8-3 loss for the Yankees, that Stanton was available as a pinch hitter and that he was considering Stanton as the designated hitter for Friday’s game.
Boone hopes Stanton’s bat will spark a morose Yankees offense that scored a total of six runs in their three consecutive losses against Houston.
Having Stanton at DH meant benching Edwin Encarnacion, who is struggling in the ALCS, hitting .067 (1-for-15) with eight strikeouts.
Boone said before Game 5 that it would be a tough choice to start Stanton over Encarnacion. “[Encarnacion] is a great hitter that can wreck a game in a hurry,” Boone said. “You’re trying to kind of walk that line, strike that balance. I would want to feel pretty good about it because if [Stanton] goes in there, it’s taking out a good player.”
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