Get Kenesaw Mountain Landis’ name off of the MVP trophy

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It certainly wouldn’t solve racism, but Major League Baseball needs to get Kenesaw Mountain Landis’ name off of their Most Valuable Player trophies. Just ask a number of former MVPs, both Black and white, as the Associated Press’ Ben Walker recently did:

Fact is, few fans realize Landis’ name is plastered all over the Most Valuable Player trophies. Most people just call it the MVP.

But there it is, prominently displayed on every American League and NL MVP plaque since 1944 — Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award, in shiny, gold letters literally twice as big as those of the winner.

With a sizable imprint of Landis’ face, too.

To some MVPs, it’s time for that 75-year run to end.

Maybe you aren’t familiar with Landis and his history. The short explanation is that MLB should not be able to celebrate both Landis, the first-ever commissioner of the game, and Jackie Robinson, who was the first Black man to play in what would become MLB since the previous century, because they… let’s say, as baseball historian John Thorn did, were diametrically opposed.

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Please stop both-sidesing the MLB labor battle

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With MLB commissioner Rob Manfred now saying he can’t 100 percent guarantee that there will be Major League Baseball games played in 2020, we’re about to witness a flood of “if only the two sides, equally at fault, would work together” sentiments. This was a take I was marinating even before Buster Olney woke up this morning and decided to both-sides what have very clearly been bad faith negotiations by the league:

Olney, at this point, is either willfully ignorant of reality, or incapable of comprehending what’s going on. It doesn’t matter which it is: the material damage is the same.

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Debt service, and MLB’s obfuscation racket

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Major League Baseball is concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic, and the drop in revenues that will come with a shortened 2020 season, is going to make it more difficult for teams to pay off their debt. You might be familiar with the debt service rule in MLB: it arose from the collective bargaining of 2002, and was an attempt to make sure that teams actually had the money to pay their bills by limiting their debt to 10 times their annual earnings. You might also not be familiar with it at all, because it’s barely ever mentioned by the teams or the media, and even now it being brought up is more a negotiating ploy than a real thing to be concerned about.

Keeping in line with the debt service rule isn’t something that’s going to get teams in trouble with some financial authority like a bank: it’s just an internal MLB thing that’s meant to keep teams from promising to be able to pay more than they’ll be able to. And yet, despite the institution of this rule in 2002, nine clubs were in violation of the debt service rule in 2011. MLB didn’t go after most of those teams: they did go after the Dodgers for violating the debt service rule, though, that was because everyone wanted Frank McCourt to get kicked out of the league. The Mets were in violation at the same time, thanks to the Wilpons’ involvement with Bernie Madoff, but they were allowed to keep their team, because then-commissioner Bud Selig and the rest of the owners didn’t despise the Wilpons like they did McCourt.

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Paying MLB’s stadium workers during COVID-19 suspension isn’t ‘complicated’

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Major League Baseball would like you to know something: paying stadium workers during the postponement of the 2020 regular season is going to be “complicated.” How do we know this? Because that’s what was reported on Sunday by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal:

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The Red Sox are lying about Mookie Betts, and the media is helping them do it

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The world is burning, and athletes are silent

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Australia is on fire. Like California in the United States, bush fires during the hotter months are a common occurrence, but climate change has fanned those flames, and they just keep burning. Huge swaths of lands are now devastated and dead, as is whatever lived there, be they plants, insects, marsupial, or even people. It’s horrifying on a number of levels, and the kind of thing that isn’t going to just get better by ignoring it or sending well wishes.

It’s through this lens that you need to read Howard Bryant’s latest at ESPN, in which he takes tennis players — and athletes in general — to task for the way they handle political crises:

Appropriate or not, the narrative has been typecast to return us to normalcy, with athletes’ on-field strength infusing us, teams and players arm-in-arm with law enforcement, mayors and governors. They are the ambassadors whose very presence tells you we will rebuild, that everything will be all right.

While the fires decimate the country and players voice their concerns that conditions are unsafe and perhaps the tournament should be postponed, Tennis Australia, the governing body of the sport in the country, has said little of substance to address the effects of the fires on player safety, or the ethics and morality of hosting a multimillion-dollar spectacle as the country literally burns. Health officials have graded the air quality as “unhealthy.” Even through the smoke, it appears the show must go on.

The superstars, knowing their place despite the growing voices of dissent within their own ranks, assured tennis authorities and the public at large they could still be counted on, that they would trust authority instead of challenge it.

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John Henry tries to pin blame for his own words about payroll on the media

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The Dodgers define themselves as successful for private reasons they won’t share with you

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The year in creating baseball coverage, featuring leftism

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MLB’s 2019 luxury tax reports are in, depressing

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