Be careful where you step, scofflaws

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piniella_090818.jpgFirst it was the war on drugs. Then the war on terror. Now? Jaywalking, of course.

Lou Piniella was the latest to get nabbed, getting off with only a warning after being caught committing the unthinkable in downtown San Diego on Tuesday.

Sweet Lou was talking on his cell phone (presumably calling Closers-R-Us), and looking for a place to get his hair cut when he crossed against a red light, attracting the attention of an eagle-eyed motorcycle cop.

Piniella says he didn’t get any special treatment in avoiding a ticket, claiming that the officer didn’t recognize him. This seems unlikely, given his burgeoning rap career, but I digress.

Piniella is only the latest to run afoul of the law. Just last week, White Sox GM Kenny Williams was busted in Seattle, receiving a $56 ticket for his transgressions.

Last summer in the same city, then-Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez was chewed out by a cop for jaywalking, to the point where he was threatened with arrest.

(The best part of that incident is that the officer, not recognizing Ramirez, asked him if he had attended the game. Attended? Well, I guess that all depends on your definition of the word.)

It’s about time baseball people stopped acting as if they are above the law. This isn’t Italy, where the police will applaud and offer you a glass of wine if you manage to cross the street without being run over by a Vespa. Nor is it India, where … well, just watch this video and be amazed.

No, this is America, and we’re just not going to take it anymore. Anyone have George Mitchell’s number? Wonder what he’s up to.

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If you Twitter, and are a law-abiding citizen, you can follow me at @Bharks.

Alex Dickerson to miss 2017 season after undergoing back surgery

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Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.

Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.

The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.

Video: Hanley Ramirez’s No. 250 career home run barely left the field

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Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.

Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.