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Game 143: Twins at Guardians

It’s the end of the hope as we know it, and I feel fine

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Charlton Athletic v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship - The Valley
If your teeth are green, see a dentist immediately. If your horns are green, see a urologist.

Start time: 6:10 Central

Weather: Pretty puffy clouds, first pitch 75°

Opponent’s SB site: Covering The Corner

TV: BSN. Radio: Gladden will go, Provus won’t, Ohio scares him

Young Guardians starter Triston Andrew MacKenzie has three first names. He also has the nickname “Dr. Sticks,” given as you’d expect because of his tall, lanky frame as a teenager. But also because he originally had thoughts about being a doctor. His mother is an accomplished nurse. Well, there’s still time to be a doc, Doc!

Bailey Ober returns tonight from the IL. As Yogi Berra once said, "it ain't over until it's Ober." 2022 digits:

MacKenzie throws a 93-ish fastball, a slider, and a curve, in that order of effectiveness.

You might remember that a few Fridays ago, we looked at efforts to form minor league players into a union. Well, it’s official, as of Wednesday.

Over at FanGraphs, Michael Baumann had a fine look last week at what obstacles MLB could have put up against the union forming, and included some very good links as to why MLB might be feeling it’s wise, publicly at least, to stop seeming such mean greedy dungheads when it comes to paying minor leaguers.

One of them is that the US Senate has been making some grumbling noises about baseball’s antitrust exemption; this largely began after MLB decided to cut back on the number of affiliated teams. As Neil deMause pointed out when it happened, not only does reducing the number of teams cut payroll by a few pennies — it’s an additional blackmail MLB can use to force minor league cities to build new stadiums. (That was the part which got the Senate’s attention, particularly Bernie Sanders. What, you think Ted Cruz cares?)

The AP’s article on the new union has a solid overview of what happened and what might happen next. I thought this was especially interesting: “The MLBPA also governs agents for major leaguers, requiring certification and establishing regulations that include prohibitions on payments, gifts and loans to clients. Agents negotiating minor league contracts have been unregulated.”

Incidentally, Marvin Miller, the original head of the MLBPA, wrote in his book “A Whole Different Ball Game” (it’s about how the union began) that he didn’t think players should ever use agents; Miller believed their interest was in securing big payouts for themselves, and that what they charged clients was robbery. Miller’s suggestion was that players negotiate their own deals, then have a sharp-eyed contract lawyer eyeball the details. Even an expensive lawyer would be cheaper than an agent, if millions are involved!

In any case, I thought Baumann summed up the union’s challenges well:

Once bargaining actually starts, expect MLB to hold just as hard a line as it did during the past two negotiations with the big leaguers. And if you thought the lockout was a siege, remember that the minor leaguers will be coming in with less institutional momentum, no existing CBA to work from, and a bargaining unit more than four times the size of the current MLBPA. This is probably going to be an acrimonious and protracted negotiation — and MLB, paradoxically, might be better off in the long run by recognizing the union and getting started as quickly as possible.

Finally, since there was some Vikings talk around here last Sunday...

deMause, again, brings us a story of Stadium Shenanigans Gone Afoul. This one involving everyone on this site’s favorite ex-Viking, Brett Favre.

It seems that Favre's neck-deep in a pretty serious fraud investigation against politicians and nonprofits in Mississippi. It's about some $77 million of federal funds intended for assistance to needy families being diverted, illegally, into pet projects for the alleged fraudsters.

In Favre’s instance, what’s being looked at is $5 million for a new volleyball facility at the University Of Southern Mississippi, Favre’s alma mater, where his daughter played volleyball.

deMause has the relevant links, of course, and also points out that this sort of thing has happened repeatedly since 1996’s ill-conceived “welfare reform”; the overwhelming amount of welfare fraud is in backroom deals like this one, not dishonest poor recipients.

(Favre's biographer, incidentally, is really, really angry with his former subject and says people should stop reading that book. OK.)

What kinda stuns me in all this is, Favre is rich. Why not just give $5 mil to his old school, get his name on the building, and a nice little charitable tax break?

Who knows. He claims he had no idea anything illegal was going on.

Maybe his agent made him do it!

Today's Lineups

Luis Arraez - DH Steven Kwan - LF
Carlos Correa - SS Amed Rosario - SS
Jose Miranda - 1B Jose Ramirez - 3B
Nick Gordon - 2B Josh Naylor - 1B
Gio Urshela - 3B Oscar Gonzalez - RF
Gary Sanchez - C Andres Gimenez - 2B
Jake Cave - LF Will Benson - DH
Gilberto Celestino - CF Luke Maile - C
Mark Contreras - RF Myles Straw - CF
Bailey Ober - RHP Triston McKenzie - RHP