AROUND THE HORN
Blue Jays: The Blue Jays and Royals postponed Friday night’s game because of rain and will make it up Saturday as part of a day-night doubleheader before concluding their four-game series Sunday. The first seven-inning game Saturday will start a 1:10 p.m. and the second at 5:10 p.m. “I woke up this morning hoping the forecast would be radically wrong,” said Royals manager Mike Matheny. “We’ll have plenty of chances to grind, but they’ve adapted well without it being ideal of still coming out and being sharp and getting ready to play.”
Braves: The Braves scratched starter Drew Smyly and placed him on the 10-day injured list before Friday’s series opener against the Cubs due to pain in his throwing arm. The lefthander was added to the IL retroactive to April 13 with what the club called left forearm inflammation. Manager Brian Snitker said he hopes Smyly (0-0, 5.73 in two starts) will only miss one start. Smyly signed an $11 million, one-year deal with the Braves as a free agent after the lefty’s stuff suddenly ticked up near the end of 2020 with the Giants.
Hall of Fame: Tim Mead is quitting as president of Baseball’s Hall of Fame after two years. The Hall said Friday the move takes effect in mid-May. Mead was announced as Hall president on April 30, 2019, and took over that June 24 from Jeff Idelson, who had held the job since 2008. “I made the recent leap with every intention of following in the footsteps of my predecessors, in continuing their efforts in maintaining the Hall of Fame as a critical component of the game,” Mead said in a statement. “Try as I might, even with the unwavering support of my family, these last 22 months have been challenging in maintaining my responsibilities to them.”
MLB: When Jimmy Rollins made his first All-Star team as a rookie with the Phillies 20 years ago, the percentage of Black players in the majors was 13. It’s down to 7.6% this year. As the Phillies celebrated Jackie Robinson Day along with the rest of baseball on Thursday and Friday, Rollins reflected on the decline. “It’s more than just one thing,” Rollins told The Associated Press. “Marketing. The NBA and the NFL, those guys’ faces are plastered all over the screen. Baseball, there isn’t really a great deal of marketing. Obviously, everyone knows about Mike Trout and rightfully so, but there are some young Black players that deserves some light, too.” Rollins pointed to Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds as popular players who were marketed well when he was growing up. “But when you start going outside of that select few, the sport itself isn’t marketing anyone else in a major way where kids from the inner cities are attracted to it,” he said. Rollins and teammate Ryan Howard won consecutive NL Most Valuable Player awards with the Phillies in 2006 and 2007. Rollins was the leadoff hitter and Howard batted cleanup for a team that won five straight NL East titles, two NL pennants and the 2008 World Series. The possibilities for marketing two superstars on the same dominant team should’ve been endless. Nothing came of it. Rollins also attributed the decline of Black players in baseball to socioeconomic factors. “You need space to play baseball,” he said. “You don’t have that in a lot of places. In the country, you can find a field. In the city, kids aren’t playing stickball. A basketball, you could pick up and dribble. It’s easier to find a court. You don’t have to field nine guys to play basketball.”