Let's take a short break from interleague play

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Interleague_Logo.pngInterleague play begins again tonight. Feel the excitement?

Nah, me neither.  Don’t get me wrong: I was against interleague play when it was first proposed because I am a scared old man who fears change, but  after it got started I got used to it rather quickly. I even began to enjoy some aspects of it. I’m not gonna lie to you: Mets-Yankees is kinda neat, as is the Cubs-White Sox, Angels-Dodgers and other geographic rivalries.  I’ve even gotten into the Indians-Reds thing (though I wish they’d split the difference in travel time and play the games here in Columbus).

But like so many people — players included — I really wish they’d find a way to stick to those rivalry games and spare us series of the Rays-Astros variety, which outweigh those attendance-driving marquee matchups.  I’d rather see more games between teams competing for playoff spots in their own leagues, thank you very much.  The unbalanced schedule already means that some teams fighting for the postseason face a harder road than others. Interleague play exacerbates that. And leads to dumb two-game series. And makes people focus too much on league inequality and do a bunch of other things that, again, because I am old and fear change, I don’t particularly like.

But it’s not going anywhere. It has proven to be financially successful and does draw some people into the game who wouldn’t otherwise watch it (baseball isn’t dumb; they know people like me aren’t going anywhere).  We all like to pretend that baseball is a public trust or something, with its mission being to make us all warm and happy, but it’s a business just like any other business, and interleague play makes good business sense.

Still, interleague play doesn’t start until tonight, and I’m already tired of it.  So how about this one, tiny suggestion:  give it a two-year break so as to restore some of the novelty of it.  Take those two years and see whether we’re scheduling out interleague play optimally or to see how else we can improve it.  I can’t help but think that there’s a better way to do this whole thing. 

A way that doesn’t make the whole affair both unfair and yawn-inducing.

Jung Ho Kang’s DUI arrest was his third since 2009

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 10:  Jung Ho Kang #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields a ground ball in the second inning during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park on June 10, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Last week Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was arrested in South Korea for driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident. That’s bad, but it turns out that it’s nothing new. The Yonhapnews Agency reports that Kang has been arrested for DUI three times since 2009:

Gangnam Police Station in southern Seoul confirmed that it was Kang’s third DUI arrest, with the three strikes law resulting in the immediate revocation of his license. According to police, Kang had also been arrested for a DUI in August 2009 and May 2011. No personal injuries were reported in either case, though he’d caused property damage in the latter incident.

The report also notes that a companion of Kang initially claimed that he, and not Kang, was behind the wheel at the time of the accident which led to Kang’s arrest last week. It was later revealed by the car’s black box, however, that Kang was driving. So add in some obstruction of justice, whether it is charged or not, to the scene. Police are investigating that.

Between all of this and the fact that Kang is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault in Chicago this past season, a pretty ugly portrait of the Pirates’ infielder is beginning to reveal itself.

Under Armour to become MLB’s official uniform provider in 2020

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This is interesting. Majestic Athletic has been baseball’s official uniform provider for decades, with its relationship with Major League Baseball dating back to the early 80s when it started providing batting practice jerseys. But that’s going to end after three more season:

As CNBC’s Jessica Golden reports, this will be Under Armour’s first official uniform deal in major professional sports. UA does, however, sponsor a number of individual players, most notably Bryce Harper.

MLB has just released a statement about it:

Beginning in the 2020 MLB season, Under Armour will be the exclusive MLB provider of all on-field uniform components including jerseys featuring prominent Under Armour branding, baselayer, game-day outerwear, and year-round training apparel for all 30 MLB Clubs.  Fanatics, a global leader of licensed sports merchandise, will be granted broad consumer product licensing rights to manage the manufacturing and distribution of Under Armour and Fanatics fan gear, which include jerseys at retail, name & number products and Postseason apparel. Under Armour and Fanatics expect to offer an assortment of new fan gear apparel and accessories at retail, prior to the 2020 season.