Update to the Pittsburgh police beating/tazing

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In the wake of that video we posted earlier of the guy getting beaten and the tazed by police at PNC Park in Saturday — posted again below for your convenience — the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Big League Stew) has tracked down the police report and has comments from the Pittsburgh Police Department:

“We both feared for our safety,” city detective Francis Rende wrote in a criminal complaint filed yesterday. The other officer named is Lebella, but no first name is given.

City police spokeswoman Diane Richard declined comment through an e-mail saying she had not reviewed the police reports. Police had to intervene because the man appeared to be drunk, bothered fans in his section and belligerently refused to cooperate with PNC Park staff who asked him to leave, team spokesman Brian Warecki said … “We were being surrounded by the drunked fans and finally got the actor up and took him to the security office,” Rende wrote. “All the while facing the wrath of a very hostile crowd.”

Like I said this morning, you can’t necessarily judge what went down just by watching the video. At the same time, as many commenters said earlier, it does seem like a rather … unorthodox way to take down a belligerent suspect.  The tazer seemed to hit the guys jacket, not the guy himself. The first hit with the club was then met with … nothing, as if they were waiting to see what the guy would do. If the crowd was getting hostile and unruly, it probably had something to do with the fact that the police didn’t seem to have total control of the situation for a good while.  It was just odd.

I’ll leave it to independent law enforcement experts to say whether this situation was handled correctly, but at least we have more information now.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.