Link-O-Rama: Hall sentenced to 45 years in prison

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* Former Yankees, Indians, Cubs, and Giants outfielder Mel Hall has been sentenced to 45 years in prison after being convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl who he coached on a basketball team.

The 48-year-old Hall, who has also been accused of carrying on inappropriate relationships with several other children, will be eligible for parole in 22.5 years.

* It’s probably not a great sign that A.J. Hinch is holding a team meeting 36 games into his managerial career. As Ozzie Guillen put it last week: “Good teams win games. Bad teams have meetings.”

* Also not a good sign for a manager: Cleveland’s most prominent sports columnist is wondering if Eric Wedge has “reached his limit with floundering Tribe.”

* Chipper Jones is happy
that John Smoltz’s altered comeback timetable has him avoiding the
Braves in his second start. Instead of facing his former teammates,
Smoltz will start against the Orioles after getting the Nationals in
his Red Sox debut next Thursday.

* After eight straight Republican victories, the Democrats finally won the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park last night.

Jeff Wilpon reminds Mets fans that insuring David Wright “is not cheap”

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It’s can’t be easy being a Mets fan. Your team plays in the biggest city in America and should, theoretically, have big payrolls and always be in contention. They aren’t, however, partially because of horrendous luck and ill-timed injuries, partially because of poor baseball decisions and partially because the team’s ownership got taken down by a Ponzi scheme that, one would think anyway, sophisticated businessmen would recognize as a Ponzi scheme. We’ll leave that go, though.

What Mets fans are left with are (a) occasional windows of contention, such as we saw in 2014-16; (b) times of frustrating austerity on the part of ownership when, one would hope anyway, some money would be spent; (c) an inordinate focus on tabloidy and scandalous nonsense which just always seems to surround the club; and (c) a lot of disappointment.

You can file this latest bit under any of or many of the above categories, but it is uniquely Mets.

Team president Jeff Wilpon spoke to the press this afternoon about team payroll. In talking about payroll, David Wright‘s salary was included despite the fact that he may never play again and despite the fact that insurance is picking up most of the tab. Wilpon’s comment:

I’m guessing every team has a line item, someplace, about the costs of insurance. They’re businesses after all, and all businesses have to deal with that. They do not talk about it as a barrier to spending more money on players to the press, however, as they likely know that fans want to be told a story of hope and baseball-driven decisions heading into a new season and do not want to hear about all of the reasons the club will not spend any money despite sitting in a huge market.

This doesn’t change a thing about what the Mets were going to do or not do, but it does have the added bonus of making Mets fans roll their eyes and ask themselves what they did to deserve these owners. And that, more than almost anything, is the essence of Mets fandom these days.