Addison Russell walked up to the plate to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”

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I have been watching the Pirates-Cubs game at Wrigley Field this afternoon and noticed something odd. When Cubs shortstop Addison Russell walked up to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It” played. I wasn’t the only one who found this disconcerting:

I went back to Russell’s previous at-bats this afternoon and, as far as I can tell, his sixth inning at-bat was the only one for which “Beat It” was played.

Russell was accused of domestic violence last year, which spurred an investigation by Major League Baseball. It didn’t go far, as Russell’s wife refused to speak to MLB. Instead, she filed for divorce and her attorney released a statement saying, “It is her desire to pursue a resolution that is, first and foremost, in the best interest of the parties’ son, and which occurs in a swift, amicable, and private fashion.”

As we have mentioned before when these unfortunately common incidents occur, victims of domestic violence sometimes refuse to cooperate with authorities for a variety of reasons, one of which includes fear of revenge from the abuser. Just because MLB’s investigation didn’t go far doesn’t necessarily absolve Russell of blame. We can’t convict him in a court of law, but we can still condemn him in the court of public opinion.

All of this is why the choice to play “Beat It” before his sixth inning at-bat on Tuesday — whether chosen by Russell or the stadium DJ — is in bad taste. This isn’t the only time that’s happened, either. Back in August 2016, the Cubs fired their then-DJ who played the song “Smack My B***h Up” for then-closer Aroldis Chapman, who was also accused of domestic violence.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 that Major League Baseball had the smallest share of female fans of any major sport. Incidents like this are why. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey from the CDC, nearly one in four women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Baseball keeps telling women it finds their issues unimportant or funny rather than serious.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.