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Cole Hamels scoffs at a Brewers-Cubs rivalry based on ticket sales

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The Brewers beat the Cubs yesterday and the clubs face off five more times in the next eight days. With Milwaukee four games back of Chicago, the outcome of these two series will most likely determine the NL Central. Basically, the Brewers need to take most if not all of these games to have a real shot at the division title.

That — combined with the fact that Miller Park and Wrigley Field are only 90 miles apart — would seem to make for a pretty good rivalry. Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels is not buying it, though. Why? Because Cubs fans take over Miller Park when the two teams meet. Hamels:

“When you have the majority of Cubs fans in the stands, I don’t know if that’s a rivalry. They aren’t going to like me for the comment, but look at the ticket sales.”

It’s true that Cubs fans, despite the best efforts of the Brewers, who have tried to limit ticket sales for Cubs series to Wisconsin residents, fill up Miller Park when the teams meet. Chicago isn’t far away and Cubs fandom extends pretty far into the northern Chicago suburbs and exurbs when stretch into southern Wisconsin. The numbers are undeniable. Still, that’s quite a comment from a Cubs player after a loss. Especially one of the newest Cubs players.

Because of how the rotation will work out Hamels won’t face the Brewers for the rest of the year, but if the two sides meet in a playoff series and Hamels has to pitch in Miller Park, it’ll be interesting to see (a) the composition of the crowd; and (b) the reception he gets.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.