Eagle-eyed do-gooders turn in Reds for victory cigars

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The Cincinnati Reds had one heckuva celebration after clinching the NL Central title on Tuesday night, dowsing each other with champagne and emerging from the clubhouse to party with fans.

(Watch some great video of it all from C. Trent Rosecrans here)

But apparently their celebration went far beyond the bounds of propriety, as team owner Bob Castellini passed out victory cigars and people proceeded to – gasp! – smoke them.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer – and Big League Stew – five people called a statewide smoking ban complaint hotline to alert authorities after witnessing the heinous act on television.

Only one problem: the city health department can’t do anything unless an inspector personally witnesses the crime in action. Hmm, that might be a problem. From the Enquirer:

State law requires a health inspector to go out within 30 days at about the same time of day as the alleged violation, Merz said. That means an inspector might be attending one of the playoff games to see if anyone is smoking then.

“We come in unannounced, obviously,” he said.

If the inspector sees someone smoking, the Reds will be sent a letter notifying them of the violation, which the team can appeal. No fine is attached to any initial violation. If another complaint is filed and an inspector responds again to the ballpark and sees someone smoking, the Reds could be fined $100. The fine escalates to $500 after that.

So be aware, Reds criminals, you have been put on notice. If you get caught smoking any victory cigars during the playoffs, you’ll receive a stern letter. And if it happens a second time, someone will have to come up with $100.

God knows the shenanigans you will get into if you win the World Series.

Will you double-dip some chips?

Lie about your knowledge of “Melrose Place?”

Smuggle coffee into the movies?

Whatever you do, I am thankful I can sleep at night knowing there are at least five eagle-eyed, law-abiding citizens out there ready to turn you in.

Do you think I was serious about thinking the Reds are criminals? Then perhaps I’m not for you. Otherwise, feel free to follow me on Twitter. Get all your HBT updates here.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.