Law school buys minor league ballpark naming rights

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The Thomas M. Cooley Law School of Lansing, Michigan charges its many, many students something like $25-30K a year in tuition for what U.S. News routinely considers a fourth-tier legal education.*  And now their tuition dollars are going to the Lansing Lugnuts, Class-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays:

The baseball park will be renamed Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Stadium in time for the Lugnuts’ season opener in April, said James
Butler, a member of Cooley’s board of directors and the board of
commissioners for the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities
Authority, which runs the ballpark. General Motors gave up its naming rights to Oldsmobile Park as part of its bankruptcy reorganization last summer.

Well, seeing how good a naming rights deal on that park did for General Motors in general and Oldsmobile in particular, I can’t see how this isn’t a fabulous deal for Thomas M. Cooley.

If I paid tuition to that fourth-rate diploma mill they call a law school I’d storm the administration building.

*I’m well aware of the criticisms of the U.S. News rankings and agree with many of them. It’s quite telling, however, that Cooley has done so bad by so many different ranking systems that it actually went out and created its own alternative ranking system that appears to have been designed for the specific purpose of giving a high ranking that Cooley can use in its marketing materials. And in those gamed rankings, Cooley ranks 12th.  Seriously.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.