Prosecutor: Angel Villalona bought way out of jail

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Angel Villalona is out of jail yet still facing murder charges in the Dominican Republic after paying the family of the man he allegedly killed $55,000 of an approx. $140,000 settlement, prosecutor Jose Antonio Polanco told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Polanco said Villalona, one of the Giants’ top prospects, is expected to pay another $83,000 to the family of Mario Felix de Jesus Velete.
“The family … has behaved in an embarrassing manner because they now say that Villalona is not even the person involved in the death,” he said. “But the prosecution … will continue to pursue this case.”
Polanco added that the case is expected to be heard in about a month.
Villalona allegedly shot Velete in a bar on Sept. 19. He could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. A conviction, though, could be incredibly difficult to attain without the family’s cooperation, particularly if more of Villalona’s original $2.1 million signing bonus finds its way into the right hands.
While Villalona may well succeed in making the murder charges go away, one can hope it won’t be so easy for him to get a visa to play professionally in the United States next year. It’d be disgusting to see him resume his baseball career as though nothing ever happened.

Report: Mariners enter into a ballpark naming rights deal with T-Mobile

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Maury Brown of Forbes reports that T-Mobile will be the new naming rights partner for the Seattle Mariners’ ballpark beginning in 2019. Their park had been known as Safeco Field since it first opened in the summer of 1999. The 20-year naming rights deal with Safeco ended with the close of the 2018 season.

Brown reports that the deal will be around $3 million a year, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot. Then again, I have long been skeptical of how much naming rights actually bring back to the naming rights partner. That’s especially true when the partner is slapping its name on a ballpark that was known as something else beforehand. People tend to still use the old name and, I suspect, resent the new one a bit. Maybe that’s less the case when the park has only been known by corporate names, and no beloved traditional name is being displaced, but I still question if anyone really makes a single purchasing decision based on the name of a ballpark.

I know this much for sure, though: despite the relatively small cost of naming rights here, none of the most notable Seattle-based companies — which include Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Costco and Alaska Airlines — felt it was worth it. Possibly because they know people are gonna call the place “Safeco” for several years regardless.