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Consider the ‘red ass’

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There are a handful of colorful expletives that are unique to baseball or, at the very least, appear overwhelmingly in a baseball context and hardly anyplace else.

One of those is “horse s**t.” Most of the world uses the bovine version of that notion, but baseball almost exclusively uses the equine. I don’t know why.

Last year we learned about “ass in the jackpot,” which is a phrase no one involved in the conversation at the time seemed to find funny or novel — it was as if that’s something people say all the time — but it made all of us laugh. Again: it’s baseball lingo that we outsiders just aren’t privy to.

Maybe the most famous one, however, is “red ass.” It’s a term that, if you’re around ballplayers or baseball writers who talk to ballplayers you hear fairly often. Today Marc Carig of The Athletic does a deep dive into “red ass” to try to explain to the non-initiated what it truly means. It’s a harder task than you might think, as it can describe a single instance of rage or anger or, more generally, the temperament of a person over time. “Jones has the red ass” vs. “Smith is a red ass” communicate related but distinct concepts, after all. Sometimes it’s complimentary. Sometimes it’s disparaging. Nuance matters, man.

Carig goes over the term’s history and interviews some of baseball’s more famous recent red asses. And talks about guys who famously had the red ass. Again: different things. But also, totally worth a click and read today.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.