Jury: airplane manufacturer not responsible in Cory Lidle’s death

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It was just less than a month ago that the Cory Lidle wrongful death trial began. The claim, brought by Lidle’s family: that the manufacturer of the airplane Lidle was flying malfunctioned and was responsible for his death.  Today the jury came back with a verdict. They did not agree.  The FAA’s determination of the matter — pilot error — remains the only explanation adopted by anyone who has dispassionately considered the matter.

HBT Commenter Emeritus Old Gator is a licensed pilot with thousands of hours under his belt and has experience with the sort of plane Lidle was flying that fateful day in October 2006.  His assessment, in comments last month, was as follows:

The scenario of an aircraft as relatively simple as a Cirrus going out of control due to a berserk Hall-9000 control system strikes me as too preposterous to take very seriously. This one has all the classic hallmarks of overreaching student pilot stupidity and an instructor who was asleep at the switch … I can tell you that any pilot who was trying to perform a 180-degree turn inside the Hudson corridor, below the level of the surrounding buildings, was doing something very foolish unless there was some kind of genuine emergency at hand – like, collision avoidance – and any instructor who would permit him to do so should have had his license yanked.

Cory Lidle’s death was a sad thing. But it would seem that his death was also the doing of his own errors and/or those of the flight instructor who died with him.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.