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Braves loss vs. Dodgers loss: which was worse?

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The Braves got shellacked in the first inning last night and lost. The Dodgers took a lead late into the game only to see their manager’s choices and their relief pitchers woof it, sending them to defeat as well.

Which was worse?

Both modes of defeat bring with it a certain form of misery.

For my part I sat, as a Braves fan, and watched my team cough up ten runs in the first inning, secure in the dreadful knowledge that the game was already lost. Most people could just turn it off, I suppose, but I felt it necessary both out of professional obligation and out of a certain sense of, I dunno, mourning, that I had to keep the game on for the next three hours. Because I’m also perpetually online it led to a rather extreme sort of nastiness on Twitter and in comment sections with recriminations, complaining and all other manner of ugliness being hurled about. It was a pretty dreadful experience.

Still, I can’t help but think that that was way better than being a Dodgers fan, watching your starter pitch wonderfully, only to see your manager make two really bad calls to the bullpen with both your team’s generational superstar and a guy they brought in via free agency to “fix” the bullpen just implode, while the hero for the other team turned out to be none other than one of your own team’s former players. It was a gut-punch, heart-ripped-out-of-your-chest defeat, made all the worse by the specifics of who was doing the punching and heart-ripping.

If you had to choose your own method of execution, and your only two choices were (a) drinking a glass of poison that you know would bring certain death, but only in three hours time, allowing you to reflect on your impending demise for that entire time; vs. (b) enjoying your life to the fullest, only to have someone, at a time unknown to you, dropping a 16-ton weight on your head, I’m guessing most of us would pick (b).

In sports, though? I think it’s the opposite. Especially if you’re not a moron like me and you have the good sense to turn off your TV after the first inning, go outside and take a walk.

Major League Baseball threatens to walk away from Minor League Baseball entirely

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The war between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball escalated significantly last night, with Minor League Baseball releasing a memo accusing Major League Baseball of “repeatedly and inaccurately” describing the former’s stance in negotiations and Major League Baseball responding by threatening to cut ties with Minor League Baseball entirely.

As you’re no doubt aware, negotiations of the next, 10-year Professional Baseball Agreement, which governs the relationship between the big leagues and the minors — and which is set to expire following the 2020 season — have turned acrimonious. Whereas past negotiations have been quick and uncontroversial, this time Major League Baseball presented Minor League Baseball with a plan to essentially contract 42 minor league baseball teams by eliminating their major league affiliation while demanding that Minor League Baseball undertake far more of the financial burden of player development which is normally the responsibility of the majors.

That plan became public in October when Baseball America reported on it, after which elected officials such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren began weighing in on the side of Minor League Baseball. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball were not happy with all of that and, on Wednesday, Manfred bashed Minor League Baseball for taking the negotiations public and accused Minor League Baseball of intransigence, saying the minors had assumed a “take it or leave it” negotiating stance.

Last night Minor League Baseball bashed back in the form of a four-page public memo countering Manfred’s claims, with point-point-by-point rebuttals of Major League Baseball’s talking points on various matters ranging from stadium facilities, team travel, and player health and welfare. You can read the memo in this Twitter thread from Josh Norris of Baseball America.

Major League Baseball responded with its own public statement last night. But rather than publicly rebut Minor League Baseball’s claims, it threatened to simply drop any agreement with Minor League Baseball and, presumably start its own minor league system bypassing MiLB entirely:

“If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”

So, in the space of about 48 hours, Manfred has gone from being angry at the existence of public negotiations to negotiating in public, angrily.

As for Minor League Baseball going public itself, one Minor League Baseball owner’s comments to the Los Angeles Times seems to sum up the thinking pretty well:

“Rob is attempting to decimate the industry, destroy baseball in communities and eliminate thousands of jobs, and he’s upset that the owners of the teams have gone public with that information in an effort to save their teams. That’s rich.”

Things, it seems, are going to get far worse before they get better. If, in fact, they do get better.