The city that rejected a bar called “Buck Foston” just got slapped with a $1.5 million jury award

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We wrote about this back in 2011A New Brunswick, New Jersey businessman sued the city in federal court, claiming that the mayor held up approval of his liquor license for a sports bar because he didn’t like the bar’s proposed name — Buck Foston. The claim asserted that the mayor was a Red Sox fan and illegally singled out the bar in violation of the First Amendment.

The owner of Buck Foston just won big. Specifically, after six days of evidence, the jury sided with the bar owner, calling the license denial an outrageous First Amendment violation and awarding him $1.5 million.  This, from the Post is the best part:

. . . the jury heard testimony that the mayor had met with Blatterfein to ask him to change the name, which he allegedly called “vulgar.” During the conversation, Blatterfein asked Cahill why it’s OK to have a Cluck-U Chicken restaurant in town but not a bar called Buck Foston’s, court papers state.

Cahill responded that the name was fine because “chickens cluck,” according to the lawsuit.

I don’t remember the “chickens cluck” exception from my Constitutional law class, but I suppose I might’ve skipped class that day.

Viva democracy. And viva New Jersey businessmen for having the right to name their probably gross bars whatever silly name they want to. That’s what America is all about.

Mark Melancon is considering surgery

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Giants’ right-hander Mark Melancon is considering surgery for an undisclosed injury, the pitcher told reporters prior to Friday’s game against the Phillies. Melancon did not divulge the exact location of the injury, but revealed that it had been plaguing him off and on since the 2012 season and was a separate issue from the right pronator strain that kept him sidelined through much of July and August. Giants’ head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner called the injury day-to-day and has not revealed a timetable for the right-hander’s return, should surgery become necessary.

Melancon, 32, has struggled to replicate the sparkling pitching line he produced with the Pirates and Nationals in 2016. He’s toting a 3.80 ERA through 25 appearances with San Francisco, flanked by a 1.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 23 2/3 innings. His season has been significantly shortened after multiple trips to the disabled list for a right forearm strain, and while he looked to be in line to resume his closing duties this week, the Giants will likely play it safe with the veteran righty to keep him from compromising his health in 2018.

Although the injury doesn’t appear to be severe in nature, it’s clearly intensified over the last few months. Per MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Melancon said he’s “had discomfort every day this season,” though he hopes to continue pitching through the remainder of 2017. The Giants aren’t on the verge of contending by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid end to the 2017 season could help Melancon make some headway as he looks to reclaim his status as the team’s closer next spring.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.