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Todd Helton serves two days in jail for 2019 DUI

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Former All-Star first baseman Todd Helton was arrested in March of last year and charged with driving under the influence after a single-car accident in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Associated Press reports this morning that Helton pleaded guilty “to driving under the influence as a first offense” and has served 48 hours in jail as part of his sentence.

I find that “first offense” line to be interesting given that Helton pleaded guilty to a previous DUI, in Colorado, in 2013. In that incident Helton, who was still an active member of the Colorado Rockies, struck a median with his truck while driving home from a convenience store where he went to purchase lottery tickets after consuming, in his words, two Igloo cups of red wine. His blood-alcohol level was .102.

In the more recent incident Helton’s car struck a telephone pole. At the time of his arrest Helton told deputies that he had taken an Ambien a few hours earlier. There was a cup in Helton’s car that “had the odor of an alcoholic beverage.” Helton’s lawyer says that Helton had entered a treatment program soon after his arrest. I can only assume “the first offense” reference is because his previous conviction was legally expunged.

Helton, a five-time All-Star, played for the Rockies from 1997 through 2013, winning three Gold Gloves and collecting 2,519 hits and 369 homers. In 2000 he led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBI, doubles, total bases and hits.

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.