Hey, Cliff Lee is scheduled to start against the Yankees tonight!

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The deal is not done yet, but to my knowledge — and the knowledge of any number of New York people I asked this morning — Joel Sherman has never really whiffed with one of these kinds of reports.  It’s never 100% safe to call a deal done before it actually is, but the odds are better on this one than you usually see, given the reporter in question.

So, if it does happen today, what do the Yankees do about the fact that Cliff Lee is scheduled to start tonight?  Would they dare keep him on schedule and have him go against the Mariners in their own park, mere hours after the deal?  Kind of awkward, ain’t it?

Sherman says no.  His sources are telling him that the Yankees and Mariners “may have a gentleman’s agreement” to not have him start at all this series so as not to embarrass the Mariners in their own park. It’s not clear, though, if, in the event dickering over the deal goes past start time of tonight’s game, whether the Mariners would start Lee against the guys who could be his teammates at any moment.

Hurm.

If Lee does start, would a bad start cause people to freak out and launch conspiracy theories that the fix was in? If he doesn’t make the start, would it cause people — mostly people in Boston and Tampa — to freak out about the Mariners basically giving the Yankees a night off? And heck, if he is traded to the Yankees before tonight’s game and he doesn’t start all weekend, what happens if the Yankees get beat three times and end up losing the division by a game or two? I imagine then that the Yankees fans would freak.

In the words of the immortal Johnny Caspar, it’s an interesting ettickal dilemma.

A-Rod to host a reality show featuring broke ex-athletes

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees answers question in a press conference after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Alex Rodriguez’s transition into retirement has featured a serious move into the business world. He has gone back to school, worked seriously on investments and has started his own corporation. Yes, he’s set for life after making more money than any baseball player in history, but even if his bank account wasn’t fat, you get the sense that he’d be OK given what we’ve seen of his work ethic and savvy in recent years.

He’s going to be getting another paycheck soon, though. For hosting a reality show featuring athletes who are not in as good a financial shape as A-Rod is:

Interesting. Hopefully, like so many other reality shows featuring the formerly rich and famous, this one is not exploitative. Not gonna hold my breath because that’s what that genre is all about, unfortunately, but here’s hoping A-Rod can help some folks with this.

Great Moments in Not Understanding The Rules

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Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a Hall of Fame voter. In the past he has voted for players who used PEDs, but he’s never been totally happy with it, seeing the whole PED mess as a dilemma for voters.

On the one hand he doesn’t like voting for users and doesn’t like harming those who were clean by shifting votes away from them, but on the other hand, he doesn’t want to pretend history didn’t happen and that baseball hasn’t been filled with cheaters forever. What to do?

This year he decided to abstain altogether. A fair and noble act if one is as conflicted as Livingston happens to be. Except . . . he didn’t actually abstain:

Major league baseball will confer bronzed immortality on a few players Wednesday when the results of the national baseball writers’ balloting for the Hall of Fame will be announced.

I had a 2017 ballot. I returned it signed, but blank, with an explanatory note.

A blank ballot, signed and submitted, is not an abstention. It’s counted as a vote for no one. Each “no” vote increases the denominator in the calculation of whether or not a candidate has received 75% of the vote and has gained induction. An abstention, however, would not. So, in effect, Livingston has voted against all of the players on the ballot, both PED-tainted and clean, even though it appears that that was not his intention.

This is the second time in three years a Cleveland writer has had . . . issues with his Hall of Fame ballot. In the 2014-15 voting period, Paul Hoynes simply lost his ballot. Now Livingston misunderstood how to abstain.

I worry quite often that Ohio is gonna mess up a major election. I guess I’m just worrying about the wrong election.