San Diego Padres players wearing jerseys with the number 42 in honor of the late player Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier, listen to God Bless America  during their MLB National League baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los

Tuesday is an important day on the Major League Baseball schedule. Jackie Robinson Day honors one of the most compelling men to ever play the game, a man who taught baseball lessons it consistently fails to heed, even some 65 years later.

Jackie Robinson is lauded for his bravery, his perseverance, and his humanity as he travelled a nearly impossible road to the big leagues, riding superstar talent and character to become a starter for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Tuesday is a day that all major-league players don the number 42, to pay tribute to the man and one of his most famous quotations, a sign of solidarity and togetherness not often seen in our world. Moreover, the battles fought during Jackie Robinson’s journey to the big leagues are still being waged today – on another front.

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Write out a list of the best outfielders of the past 30 years. How many names do you scribble down before you get to Carlos Beltran? In all likelihood, most of those players haven’t produced more than Beltran has since the turn of the century. In the expansion era, very few outfielders have put up numbers like Beltran. Among center fielders, the list shrinks even more.

Carlos Beltran is one of the most talented baseball players in recent memory, a true five-tool all star putting the finishing touches on a brilliant career. At 36, Beltran might not be the power/speed wunderkind that from his days in New York and Kansas City, but he’s still hitting.

He keeps hitting as his body changes and his role transitions to one suitable for his current skill set. I spoke with Carlos Beltran about reintegrating himself into the American League and the adjustments of 21st century baseball.

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers

It’s simple. The Brewers have the best record in baseball for three very obvious reasons, unrelated to the fact that we’re 12 games into the season.

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Twins' Mauer reacts to striking out against the  Blue Jays during their MLB baseball game in Toronto

Joe Mauer is one of the best players in Minnesota Twins’ history. By Wins Above Replacement, he is either in the top six now or will be by the end of an average Joe Mauer season.

He won the American League MVP in 2009, claimed the AL batting crown three times, and led the Twins to the playoffs in three of his 11 big league seasons.

And Twins fans seem to hate him. Maybe not hate, but they expect more of Mauer. They constantly express disappointment in Mauer. Blame his contract or his move to first base or the sudden downturn in Twinkie fortunes but there is a growing tide of resentment against Joe Mauer in the Twin Cities. Blame the local media or blame Mauer’s particular shortcomings as a player but, right now, it is getting tense for Mauer in Minnesota.

This isn’t fair, not to the rebuilding Twins or the face of their franchise. With the Twins window for contention not likely to crack within the next two years (at which point Mauer will be 33), the time is now to deal. Get his huge contract off the books and the weight of the world off his shoulders. It’s win/win.

But where will Joe Mauer land? Here are seven suitable landing spots for the former catcher and former MVP and future franchise cornerstone.

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DOMINICAN-BASEBALL

San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, according to a 1986 United Press International report, was the “pot at the end of the rainbow” for baseball scouts. The city of 123,000 had produced 270 major leaguers over the past 15 years, including 21 on rosters for the 1986 season.

“They’re hungry,” Dodger vice-president Al Campanis told UPI reporter Aurelio Rojas. “They have fairly good builds. They want to get fame and acclaim and money to eat and in that country that means being an entertainer, prize fighting or baseball.”

The year prior, then-White Sox manager Tony La Russa discussed the rise of Latin American talent with Peter Gammons, then with the Boston Globe. “It’s in a Latin kid’s blood,” La Russa said. “That’s why I believe that if you give a young Latin player the time to fully adjust to the culture — on and off the field — you’ll have someone who’s easier to manage than the American stars.”

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Michael Pineda of the New York Yankees pitched very well last night, contributing six innings and seven strikeouts to a 4-1 win over the world champion Red Sox. For the first four innings or so, he pitched with something stuck to his right hand. Something that didn’t belong there. Something that looked an awful lot like pine tar.

Pine tar has its uses, but when we see it on the pitching hand of a big league starter, it’s hard to think of a viable application for the product in a “game action” context. Why would a big league pitcher need pine tar, on his throwing arm, on the hill? Gripping the baseball is important, thus the presence of a rosin bag on every mound in baseball. But pine tar? For no reason outside conventional wisdom, pine tar has a more sinister connotation.

With a dozen HD cameras pointed at each and every baseball game, stuff like this doesn’t elude the unblinking eye for long. Broadcast picks up “evidence”, viewers (and announcers, typically) freak out, player is a cheater and reviled by the rival supporters. The team on the receiving end of these clearly doctored baseballs? They don’t make a big deal about it.

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For years, baseball fans believed that on July 22, 1887, 14-year-old Fred Chapman pitched in a Major League game for the Philadelphia Athletics against the Cleveland Blues. The youngest player ever to appear at such a high level threw for five innings, giving up eight hits and four earned runs.

For 21st-Century fans, it was a funny anecdote from a distant past when child labor laws barely existed and Major League Baseball wasn’t earning billions of dollars from television deals. The problem is it’s not remotely true. In reality, a pitcher named Frank Chapman started for the Athletics in that game. He was much older than Fred.

This is the issue with baseball’s sparsely documented history. We’re put into a position in which we’re forced to trust a limited number of sources, or not believe a story at all. It’s a problem that persists in baseball, beyond the worries of the game’s historians.

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