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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.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.