Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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You know that suggesting or outright saying that Eric Thames was on PEDs while playing baseball in South Korea just makes you sound ignorant, right? South Korea isn't some lawless backwater where anything goes: The Korean Baseball Organization is a legitimate league with actual rules even though — shocked face — it isn't within the United States' border like Major League Baseball.
The KBO uses International Olympics Committee drug testing, meaning Thames was tested regularly during the three years he was playing there. There have been positive tests in various Korean sports, just like sports anywhere else, except in South Korea, the government stepped in to further regulate testing as a reaction to that: PED use is taken very seriously there, to the point that the drug exceptions some MLB players get don't exist either in Korea or in any organization using IOC rules.
It's not just fans on Twitter or wherever accusing Thames of PEDs: A couple of high-profile Cubs heavily implied Thames was using recently, too. Thames was tested regularly in the KBO. He's already been tested in MLB. He's always had power, but now he's got more experience and an improved swing, and you're seeing the results in his league-lead in homers. There is far more to hitting baseballs than being large and muscular, and the fact Thames has seen everything else about his game improve in his time away speaks volumes about the work he's put in.
Maybe just sit back and enjoy the Eric Thames Experience instead of assuming that the KBO is some third-rate baseball circus that lets its players run wild just because it's not MLB.
- In case you were wondering why there was yet another round of "Korea must be where Eric Thames filled himself with drugs," it's because he hit two more homers against the Reds on Monday.
- Don't throw baseballs at Manny Machado's head. Or any baseball player’s head. In case that isn't a self-evident statement, Grant Brisbee has additional words on why not.
- Matt Barnes was suspended four games for the baseball he threw behind Machado, and hopefully Dustin Pedroia smacked him upside the head, too.
- In much happier news: Addison Russell has a Pokémon card collection that he started due to his nieces and nephews, and now he's trying to get MLB players to sign it.
- The new generation of ballparks are pushing us away, writes Travis Sawchik.
- Jen Mac Ramos has a write up of the Trailblazer Series that MLB recently hosted on Jackie Robinson Day.
- Don't run on Yasiel Puig, y'all.
- Eric Hosmer is a poor man's Billy Butler, writes Matthew LaMar at Royals Review.
- Michael Baumann doesn't think the Blue Jays have any real shot in 2017, but he also doesn't think it's time to rebuild.