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Major League Baseball buys Rawlings

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Major League Baseball and a private equity firm, Seidler Equity Partners, has teamed up to purchase Rawlings Sporting Goods, the league’s longtime baseball supplier. The selling price: $395 million.

Rawlings is being sold by its current owner, Newell Brands Inc., in order to reduce debt load and streamline its operations. Major League Baseball’s reason for buying it comes in the form of a statement from Chris Marinak, the league’s executive vice president for strategy, technology and innovation:

“MLB is excited to take an ownership position in one of the most iconic brands in sports and further build on the Rawlings legacy, which dates back to 1887. We are particularly interested in providing even more input and direction on the production of the official ball of Major League Baseball, one of the most important on-field products to the play of our great game.”

That important on-field product has been in the news quite a bit lately, as Major League Baseball recently revealed that the composition of the ball had, apparently inadvertently, changed, reducing its aerodynamic drag, resulting in a record-setting spike of home runs over the past two and a half seasons.

There’s no suggestion that the league’s purchase of Rawlings has any connection to this, but it will soon be the case that MLB will be fully responsible for the horsehide being flung.

Wait, they haven’t made the ball out of horsehide for over 40 years, so if players are flinging horsehide, someone is gonna get written up.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”