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Four arrested in connection with deaths of Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo

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A horrifying turn in an already horrifying case: four people have been arrested in connection with the deaths of Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo. They died after their car hit a large rock in the road, which caused them to be ejected from the vehicle. Authorities say that the rock was not in the road on accident. From the Los Angeles Times:

Authorities said the players may have been the intended victims of criminals in Venezuela who throw rocks onto roadways to disable cars or cause crashes and then rob the vehicles’ occupants. Four suspects found with Valbuena’s and Castillo’s personal belongings were arrested by police, state governor Julio León Heredia wrote on Twitter.

If this report is true, and the accident was caused by people trying to commit a robbery, this could be charged as felony murder. Or would be in the United States. Whether Venezuela’s legal system would handle it the same is unclear, but most countries do consider deaths caused in furtherance of a felony — especially when the means employed to carry out the felony are likely to cause serious injury or death — to be the most serious of crimes. It could be charged as a capital offense in the United States, subject to the death penalty where applicable. Venezuela does not have the death penalty, but it would nonetheless be among the more serious crimes that could be prosecuted.

Unconscionable. Simply horrible. It’s murder.

 

Braves promote Alex Anthopoulos, extend Brian Snitker

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The Atlanta Braves announced this morning that they have promoted general manager Alex Anthopoulos to President, Baseball Operations and General Manager and have extended his contract through 2024. They have likewise extended the contracts of manager Brian Snitker and his coaching staff through the 2021 season.

Anthopoulos’ promotion will not likely change his duties very much, as it’s become increasingly common for top baseball operations executives to be given the title of “president” as opposed to “GM.” Part of this is some expansion of the role of said executives. Some of it is simple title inflation. Some of it is to prevent other teams from being able to interview and potentially poach top executives without permission under the guise of promotion.

Anthopoulos was hired following the 2017 season, replacing former GM John Coppolella, who resigned and was subsequently permanently banned from baseball following his involvement in a scandal in which he breached rules in connection with signings of international players and obstructed Major League Baseball’s investigation into it all. Before that Antopoulos served as the Blue Jays’ GM for seven years.

Snitker took over as interim manager when the Braves fired Fredi Gonzalez in the middle of the 2016 season. He and Coppolella did not get along and there were strong suggestions that he would never lose the interim tag, but he has been on far steadier ground since Anthopoulos took over. Winning helps, of course, and under the leadership of Anthopoulos and Snitker, the Braves have won the last two NL East titles, going 187-137 in the past two seasons.