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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.

The Buffalo Blue Jays? The team has reportedly asked about playing there

The Buffalo Blue Jays
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The Buffalo Blue Jays? Is that a thing? Maybe.

The Toronto Blue Jays are, officially, set to begin their season at Rogers Centre in Toronto on July 29. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, however, reports that they are looking at alternatives:

Multiple sources confirm to The Buffalo News that the Bisons’ parent club has finally reached out to Rich Baseball Operations in the last couple of days to examine the possibility of Toronto’s home schedule being played in Buffalo this summer.

This report of a potential for the Buffalo Blue Jays to make their debut comes a couple of days after the strict restrictions on movement for Jays players — they are reportedly required to stick to the Rogers Centre and the connecting hotel or face harsh punishment — met with at least some backlash. The restrictions are inevitable, however, given that Canada is requiring a 14-day quarantine for people traveling into the country. Since the Jays will be playing all road games in the United States, there is little choice for them but to be restricted to their hotel and the ballpark after arriving back in the country after playing games in the states.

As Harrington notes, Buffalo is not an ideal option given the less-than-major-league-level lighting and clubhouse space present in the Triple-A park, so it would not be ideal. Like everyone else these days, however, the Buffalo Blue Jays — er, I’m sorry, the Toronto Blue Jays — have little choice but to scramble.