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Curt Schilling loves a t-shirt threatening violence to reporters

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Curt Schilling is on the Hall of Fame ballot and, to gain admittance to Cooperstown, he needs 75% of the electorate to vote him in. The problem (a) the electorate consists of journalists; and (b) Schilling seems to think the idea of murdering journalists is hilarious.

This all arose out of a t-shirt seen at a Donald Trump rally in Minnesota over the weekend with the words “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required” printed on it. If you’ve looked under some of the uglier rocks in the great garden that is the Donald Trump movement this past year, it isn’t terribly surprising to see so ugly a sentiment expressed. Among a certain subset of Trump folks, there is a conviction that the media is the America’s greatest enemy and that anything remotely negative that can be said of Donald Trump is, in reality, a coordinated media conspiracy designed to sink his candidacy. Journalists have been harassed and even attacked at his rallies and have been stalked online by Trump supporters.

Enter Schilling, who thinks the idea of lynching reporters is just grand:

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Later, when he was assailed by scores of people, including several members of the media, many of whom have been sympathetic to Schilling in the past, he claimed he was being sarcastic, and that it was merely a “smart ass” t-shirt. Of course, Schilling has often claimed he was joking or being sarcastic when saying truly vile things, despite the fact that there is no evidence of sarcasm to his comments whatsoever. Schilling, ever the brave soul, has since deleted the tweet.

Most people have used this little episode to mock Schilling. Retired pitcher Dan Haren’s mockery was particularly savage:

It’s an understandable impulse to mock him, as there are always a million jokes to be made at Schilling’s expense because he has turned himself into a clown. But it’s probably worth noting that three-dozen journalists have been killed this year as a direct result of sentiments like the one Schilling is applauding or, at the very least, joking about. In 2015 six dozen were murdered. To Schilling, the notion of promoting the killing of journalists is, at the absolute best, assuming you buy his sarcasm defense, a “smart ass” sentiment.

One wonders how many other atrocities he finds amusing t-shirt fodder. One also wonders how the journalists with whom Schilling-the-broadcaster was nominally a colleague until last year, feel about his “sarcasm.” One further wonders how those nominal colleagues who have Hall of Fame votes will treat his candidacy going forward.

Angels fire back at Rob Manfred’s comments re: Mike Trout

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout‘s marketability has been a topic of conversation in recent days as the best players in baseball converged upon Washington, D.C. for the All-Star Game. We learned that, according to one firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, Trout is as recognizable to the average American as Brooklyn Nets reserve forward Kenneth Faried, despite being far and away the best player in baseball and one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

Commissioner Rob Manfred also addressed Trout’s marketability, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reported. Manfred said, “Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time. I think we could help him make his brand very bug. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”

The Angels fired back on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said:

On behalf of the Angels Organization and baseball fans everywhere, congratulations to Mike Trout on another outstanding All-Star Game performance.

Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization, and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools, and countless other charities. One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility. His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate.

In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.

It’s not on Trout to build a brand that appeals to MLB’s marketing department, so the Angels are right to back Trout’s decision to stay out of the limelight. The Angels’ motivation likely isn’t entirely selfless, however, as supporting him in this situation may make it more enticing for him to sign a contract extension before his current contract expires after the 2020 season.