Dereck Rodríguez returns to field where his Giants career launched

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–Before Dereck Rodríguez burst onto the scene with one of the best rookie seasons for a pitcher in franchise history, Rodríguez needed to convince the Giants he belonged in a rotation.

It took until the final week of spring training last year, but Rodríguez accomplished his goal.

In a start against an Arizona Diamondbacks lineup featuring most of the team’s regulars, Rodríguez turned in three scoreless innings and retired slugger Paul Goldschmidt twice.

“I feel like that’s where I really got put on the map last year,” Rodríguez said. “It was after that start here.”

“Here,” is Salt River Fields, the spring training home of the D’backs and Rockies. Rodríguez returned to the stadium Sunday to face Colorado in his second start of the spring.

The right-hander was only assigned to face the D’backs last spring because the Giants wanted to hide Jeff Samardzija from facing a lineup the team sees often during the regular season. With several pitchers to pick from, San Francisco selected Rodríguez to come over from minor league camp to match up with Arizona.

Rodríguez said he initially signed a minor league deal with the Giants as a relief pitcher, but former general manager Bobby Evans said otherwise last summer. Evans insisted the Giants planned to evaluate Rodríguez in both capacities in his first spring with the club, but Rodríguez’s only start came against Arizona on March 21.

An ability to command all four of his pitches impressed Giants evaluators, who told Rodríguez shortly after the start he would open the season in the Triple-A Sacramento rotation. He lasted two months in the minor leagues before debuting with the Giants in Denver against the Rockies on May 29.

Pitchers rarely know ahead of time whether they’ll face “A” lineups or less competitive lineups filled with prospects and role players in spring training, but …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


‘Leaving Neverland,’ the Michael Jackson documentary that left Sundance audiences stunned, is out Sunday on HBO

Michael Jackson

“Leaving Neverland,” the documentary about sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson, will be out on HBO Sunday and Monday night.
The 4-hour, two-part documentary left audiences stunned at Sundance, where counselors were on site, and reviewers live-tweeted their surprise at what were allegedly shocking new and seemingly credible details about the allegations against Jackson.
Jackson’s family said the film is part of a campaign to secure money from Michael Jackson’s estate.

The documentary film “Leaving Neverland,” which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, will air on HBO as a two-part series March 3 and 4.

The film, directed and produced by British filmmaker Dan Reed, alleges that Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck were sexually abused by the late pop star Michael Jackson over multiple years in the 1980s and 1990s. In a series of interviews Robson and Safechuck give graphic portrayals of their relationships with Jackson, which began at ages 7 and 10, respectively. The film also interviews their mothers, siblings, and wives.

Read more: Inside the making of the 4-hour HBO Michael Jackson documentary, ‘Leaving Neverland,’ which contains harrowing allegations of child sexual abuse

Both Robson and Safechuck had previously denied being sexually abused by Jackson. Safechuck in a 1993 civil case and Robson in a 2005 criminal case. In 2013 they both went public claiming to have been molested by Jackso, filing separate lawsuits which were eventually dismissed.

“For Wade, I think it was a very cathartic experience to step outside the framework of therapy or legal discussions and just say what happened,” Reed told Business Insider over the phone from the UK. “And James was kind of rediscovering what was happening. As he said things he was listening to himself and going, ‘Oh my god, I did that!’ I think it was a new experience for them to …read more

Source:: Business Insider


Virginia school spotlights transgender kids in event supported by teachers, rights group

By Debbie Truong | The Washington Post

When Jaim Foster began teaching nearly two decades ago in Nebraska, he said he was discouraged from being an openly gay educator. He had championed LGBT causes at his liberal arts college but suddenly found himself switching pronouns when telling students about his boyfriends.

“I was told I had to stop being that advocate, and I had to go back into the closet because it wasn’t really safe,” the teacher recalled. “You could be fired.”

On Thursday, Foster reflected on how far the country has progressed, he said, as dozens of kindergarten students sat cross-legged in his classroom at Ashlawn Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, listening as an advocate for transgender rights paged through a children’s picture book about a transgender girl.

“I have a girl brain but a boy body. This is called transgender. I was born this way,” the advocate, Sarah McBride, read to the students from the storybook “I Am Jazz.”

McBride, a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign, who drew national attention when she came out as transgender the day after her term as American University’s student body president ended, wanted to relay a message of tolerance on a national day of reading led by the country’s largest teachers union.

“For young people, being kind and being respectful is quite simple,” she said. “LGBTQ young people are their classmates, their friends. They may be LGBTQ themselves. And so, this just makes sense. No one’s ever too young to learn to be nice.”

Students throughout the country were expected to participate in the National Education Association’s annual Read Across America Day. It was the first time the union partnered with the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for LGBT civil rights.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the union, said the support was especially urgent because the Trump administration …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


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