Elijah Dukes is now a rapper. And he used to smoke weed before Nats games.

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The guys over at Nationals Enquirer directed my attention to this Tampa Tribune story about former Rays and Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes.  Seems that Dukes is now a rapper known as “Fly Eli.”  He’s got an album ready to drop, as the kids say, and has concerts scheduled and all of that.  Oh, and like Jose Canseco, he believes Major League Baseball has blackballed him:

In several interviews, including one at his home and one at the studio, Dukes talked about how the police are out to get him, the difficulties of being a black athlete in Tampa and how he was “thrown under the bus” by Major League Baseball.

He says he was blackballed by baseball after he came forward last year with allegations that fellow ball players were smuggling drugs onto chartered aircraft, using drugs in hotel rooms after flights and how he would sometimes smoke marijuana before home games when he played for the Washington Nationals.

Maybe Elijah Dukes was exposing wrongdoing.  But Dukes was also given a bunch of chances by Major League Baseball and he always — always — ended up alienating his teammates or worse. There was promise there once, but he was never worth the baggage, and I find it rather hard to believe that baseball went after Elijah Dukes the whistleblower as opposed to simply cutting ties with Elijah Dukes the enormous pain in the ass.

But hey, good luck storming the hip-hop charts, Fly Eli.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.