steinbrenner in car

Breaking: celebrities get special treatment by police


We often ridicule celebrities who pull the “don’t you know who I am?” card whenever they have run-ins with the police, but you can’t fault them for trying. Because, at least in New York, the police knowing who you are can be really, really helpful!

Star-struck cops have fixed tickets for big-time celebs, including Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and former team owner George Steinbrenner, sources told the Daily News. Cops also made tickets disappear for three current City Council members, sources told The News. Two of the elected officials are from the Bronx and the third is from Manhattan. Cops even showed Brooklyn love, letting rap superstar Jay-Z’s driver off the hook for a speeding ticket, sources said.

When asked for comment about his traffic stop, Jay-Z said the incident occurred seventeen years ago and it was really a matter of him being young, being black and having his hat real low. At least he assumed so, because he is not a mind-reader.

As for A-Rod and Steinbrenner, I have this feeling that nixing their tickets was less about being star struck and more about avoiding the hassle involved with basically everything that has to do with A-Rod and Steinbrenner. I mean, the earful the officer on the scene took from Steinbrenner was probably bad enough that pursuing the $97 fine was totally not worth it.

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, seven made the playoffs. Only the Twins and Diamondbacks improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.