Ty Cobb’s great-grandson is a college basketball player and his name is Ty Cobb

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Bob Pool of the Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about Ty Cobb’s great-grandson, a 19-year-old college freshman with the same name who’s on the basketball team at Occidental College and turned down the chance to be a two-sport athlete because he’s just not all that into baseball.

I’m not going to play baseball here. It’s just not my love. Basketball has always been my favorite sport. I get it all the time: “Why are you playing basketball?” I played baseball through high school. This will be the first year I’ve ever not played. I guess Occidental just caught me at the wrong time. I’ve played football, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, run track. But basketball is the one I always come back to. There’s no doubt in my mind it’s what I love to do.

Occidental baseball coach Jason Hawkins still plans to see if he can talk Cobb into playing baseball too, but for now he’s a 6-foot-5 small forward only. As for what life is like as a teenager with a Hall of Famer’s name, particularly when that Hall of Fame had some not-so-wonderful moments chronicled in a movie?

People have given me a hard time about it because Ty Cobb had a tough reputation among a lot of people. They think he wasn’t a very good guy. Some people thought he was a jerk. I’ve had to defend him on more than one occasion. My dad knew him really well. My dad would tell fun stories about when he was young and interacting with Ty Cobb.

When my dad was about 12 my great-grandfather was in his late 60s or 70s. One day he had a fresh linen suit on and they were talking baseball and he decided to teach my dad how to hook-slide. So they go out in the backyard on the grass and Ty Cobb is in his fancy suit and he’s got the cuffs of his pants rolled up and one of his helper ladies came out and said, “Mr. Cobb, you can’t be doing that!” It kind of showed his competitiveness even into his twilight years.”

Maybe they can include that scene if Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Wuhl ever get together for a sequel.

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

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Yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions leveled on the Atlanta Braves hit them pretty hard, but it also turned a dozen players into free agents. What happens to them now? Who can sign them? When? And for how much?

First off, they get to keep their signing bonuses the Braves gave them. It wasn’t their fault the Braves messed up so it would make no sense for them to have to pay the money back. As for their next team: anyone can, theoretically, sign them. As far as team choice, they are free agents in the most narrow sense of the term.

There are limits, however, because as young, international players, their signings are subject to those caps on each team’s international bonus money which were imposed a few years back. Each team now has a “pool” of finite dollars they can spend on such players and, once that money is spent, teams are severely limited as to what they can offer an international free agent. Each summer the bonus pools are reset and it starts anew.

Which, on the surface, would seem to create a problem for the 12 new free agents, seeing as though a lot of teams have already spent much if not all of their July 2017-18 bonus pools. The good news on that, though, is that Major League Baseball has made a couple of exceptions for these guys:

  • First, the first $200,000 of any of the 12 former Braves players will not be subject to signing pools, so that’s a bit of a break; and
  • Second, even though these players will all likely be signed during the 2017-18 bonus pool period, teams have the option of counting the bonus toward the 2018-19 period. They can’t combine the money from the two periods, but they can, essentially, put off the cost into next year for accounting purposes.

Which certainly opens things up for clubs and gives the players more options as far as places to land go. A club can decide whether or not the guys on the market now look better than the guys they’ve been scouting with an eye toward signing after July 2018 and get a jump on things. Likewise, teams don’t have to decide whether or not to take a run at, say, Shohei Ohtani, burning bonus money now, or instead going after a former Braves player. Ohtani’s money will apply now, the Braves player can be accounted for next year.

The new free agents are eligible to sign during a window that begins on December 5 and ends on Jan. 15. If a player hasn’t signed by then, he can still sign with any club but cannot get a bonus. If a player hasn’t signed anywhere by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, though they can’t pay the guy a bonus either.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a rundown of the top guys who are now free agents thanks to the Braves’ malfeasance. Kevin Maitan is the big name. The 17-year-old shortstop was considered the top overall international free agent last year, though his first year in the Braves minor league system was less-than-impressive. There are a lot of other promising players too. All of whom now can find new employers.