Jake Arrieta
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MLB commissioner ‘can’t imagine’ best baseball players in Olympics

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MIAMI (AP) — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has repeated the sport’s opposition to having top major leaguers play at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 2020 Games are scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 9, and Major League Baseball has repeatedly said it will not interrupt its season.

The World Baseball Classic, co-owned by MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association, has been the sport’s alternative.

“I can’t imagine a situation where we would take the kind of break that would be necessary to have our best players in the Olympics,” Manfred said Monday during an All-Star Game town hall meeting. “As a result of that, we feel the WBC is crucial as a substitute, a premiere international tournament that allows our players to play for their countries.”

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Atlanta Braves’ ‘The Freeze’ identified as U.S. sprinter

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An incredibly perceptive track and field fan might recognize “The Freeze” from the now-viral Atlanta Braves promotion.

The man behind the full-body suit and ski goggles is Nigel Talton, a sprinter who has clocked 10.47 seconds in the 100m and made the 2013 U.S. Indoor Championships 60m final (green jersey, second from the right in above video).

He ranks as the 4,678th-fastest man all time, according to Tilastopaja.org’s historic 100m rankings.

Talton harbored Rio Olympic dreams but did not qualify for the Olympic Trials because he had not met the entry standard of 10.16 seconds.

He has been racing domestically since 2010, when he broke the Iowa Wesleyan 100m record as a freshman, running 10.73.

He has also been a member of the Atlanta Braves grounds crew since 2012, according to the Washington Post. Chasing down fans on the Suntrust Park outfield track is a bit different than lining up against the nation’s best sprinters.

“Mainly with the big ol’ goggles, it was a big adjustment,” Talton said, according to the newspaper, adding that he is done racing this outdoor season but hopes to make the 2018 World Indoor Championships team. “I’m used to running in those kind of Boathouse speed suits or little short shorts for track meets.”

To make 2018 World Indoors, Talton would likely have to finish in the top two of the 60m at the U.S. Indoors in Albuquerque in February.

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Katie Ledecky issues invite to Bryce Harper during coming suspension

Katie Ledecky, Bryce Harper
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It appears Bryce Harper might be forced to miss some upcoming Washington Nationals games. D.C.-area native Katie Ledecky is here to soften the blow.

“If you end up suspended,” Ledecky tweeted to Harper after his mound-charging fight Monday, “come on down to Palo Alto and hang out at the pool for a day!”

It would be fitting. After all, Ledecky already joined Harper at Nationals Park in August, when Harper become a medal rack for Ledecky so she could throw a ceremonial first pitch.

Harper then sported a Ledecky swimming cap during the Nationals’ champagne-spraying celebration after winning the National League East title last season.

Ledecky, a rising Stanford sophomore, is preparing for the U.S. Championships in Indianapolis in four weeks. She will race in Santa Clara, Calif., this weekend on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

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