Jordan Schafer was just ahead of his time, man

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Lots of hand wringing when Astros’ center fielder Jordan Schafer was arrested with marijuana a couple of months ago. However, Courtland Milloy’s column in the Washington Post — passing along the results of a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine — may show that it wasn’t all bad, man:

“Athletes under the influence of cannabis indicate that their thoughts flow more easily and their decision making and creativity is enhanced,” the researchers wrote. “Health professionals have encountered athletes including gymnasts, divers, football players and basketball players who claim smoking cannabis before play helps them focus better.”

But, they concluded, “Much additional research is needed to determine the effects of cannabis on athletic performance.”

Personally, I’d still keep marijuana banned for pro athletes.  Not because of the drug itself. It’s way less harmful than alcohol and tobacco and we have no problem with ballplayers using that stuff.  Rather, I’d ban it because it leads to stuff like increased Taco Bell consumption and late nights watching “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” and that stuff is just horrible for one’s conditioning.

Rays lose, clinching postseason berth for Athletics

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The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.

Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).

Yay?

John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.

What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.

The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?