No, the Tigers-Red Sox day game on Thursday is not part of a conspiracy theory

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The Red Sox are playing a rough schedule this week. They have a game this afternoon in Cleveland to make up for a rainout on Opening Day. Then they fly to Baltimore for one of those annoying two-game series. Then they fly to Detroit for a four-game series beginning on Thursday.

Difficulty: the Thursday game is a day game, following a Wednesday night contest in Baltimore. That means a late night/early morning tomorrow, another late night/early morning Thursday AND a day game. Not ideal, especially for a team which has not done so well on the road.

The baseball schedule can be tough, especially come August, but some in Boston believe this is more than just some bad scheduling luck. At least one columnist, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, suggests that the day game in Detroit on Thursday may have something to do with the Tigers former relationship with Sox’ president Dave Dombrowski:

The Red Sox tried to get the Tigers to push the start time back to late afternoon or evening when the times were set in the offseason. Major League Baseball said the Tigers could start the game whenever they wanted to, and Detroit refused to accommodate the Sox.

The Tigers have some prior history of Thursday afternoon starts. Another part of their history is that Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski was relieved of his duties as Detroit general manager last summer.

Is this some kind of a less-than-fond farewell card from the Tigers? Al Avila, bumped up to GM after serving as Dombrowski’s assistant, said yesterday that he doesn’t set game times. A request to speak with another Tigers executive yesterday went unanswered.

Silverman acknowledges that “maybe this has nothing to do with Dombrowski,” but still calls it a “bush league move.”

“Bush league,” eh? The Tigers have played four Thursday home games this year. Three of them (April 28, June 23 and August 4) have been day games. The only one that wasn’t a day game was June 2, but that came a day after the Tigers played in Anaheim and had to fly across country afterward with no day off in between. The Tigers have two more Thursday home games scheduled after the one this week: September 15 against the Royals and September 29 against the Indians. Both are day games. Thursday day games are the general rule for Detroit. UPDATE: Someone also just pointed out to me that the Lions are playing a home preseason game at adjacent Ford Field on Thursday night too, which would make a night Tigers game a logistical nightmare.

I suppose it would be nice of the Tigers to move their game to accommodate the Red Sox. It’d be nice if the Red Sox didn’t make teams play an 11am game on the third Monday in April each year. It’d be nice if they agreed not to play Mookie Betts and David Ortiz all the time. But stuff like that happens. It’s not “bush league,” and it doesn’t require some elaborate passive aggressive conspiracy theory to explain it.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.