Settling the Scores: Memorial Day Edition

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Hope you had a good weekend. For many of you that weekend still continues today.

Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. As one remembers the dead of any given war one can, and in many cases maybe one should, consider the righteousness or necessity of that war or the politicians who and ideas which sent these men and women into battle. In this day and age such things are thought of by most as decidedly unpatriotic, however. And given that Memorial Day has, regrettably, become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday, one is liable to be shouted-down if one were to raise questions about the leaders and causes which sent men and women to their death.

Don’t let people conflate those things, however. Commemorating the dead does not require venerating the leaders who gave them their orders or the stated causes for which the wars in which they served were fought. In fact, in some cases appropriate commemoration may require the exact opposite of that so as to ensure that other men and women, later, do not unnecessarily become the subject of Memorial Day commemoration themselves.

But while the misplaced patriotism that has come to characterize Memorial Day irks me a bit, it’s inevitable and I don’t begrudge it too terribly much. Wave a flag or campaign for whatever you consider to be patriotism if you feel it’s important to do that. Protest wars and the leaders who start them if you feel it’s important to do that. Enjoy your free time if you happen to have it. Go to a barbecue, take in a ballgame, binge-watch some awful TV show or get crazy, crazy, crazy Memorial Day deals at Mattress Wholesalers if that’s your thing. Given the purpose of the holiday, it’s always weird to say “happy Memorial Day” or to treat it like some other random bonus day off work, but we do it anyway, even on what’s supposed to be a day of mourning or reflection.

And that’s OK. Because no matter what one can say of a war — say of its leaders or the stated reasons it was fought — the men and women who actually fought in it and died in were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s frivolous sometimes.

So do have a happy Memorial Day. Have a silly or dumb Memorial Day. Have a flag-waving, camouflage-wearing troop-supporting day. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many happy, silly, dumb or reflective days as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness.

Blue Jays 8, Mariners 2
Astros 10, Tigers 8
Indians 5, Reds 2
Marlins 5, Orioles 2
Athletics 7, Rays 2
Red Sox 6, Angels 1
Braves 2, Brewers 1
Nationals 4, Phillies 1
Pirates 9, Mets 1
Twins 8, White Sox 1
Cardinals 6, Royals 1
Padres 11, Dodgers 3
Rockies 11, Giants 2
Diamondbacks 4, Cubs 3
Rangers 5, Yankees 2

 

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.