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Braves’ chairman doesn’t want them playing in the Central

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Several of the various, as yet ill-formed plans to play the 2020 baseball season involve radical realignment of some form or another. Elimination of the leagues and throwing all 30 teams into three broad divisions to limit travel has come up. MLB has not stated anything official, but many have suggested that they could involve the Atlanta Braves playing in the Central Division.

The Atlanta media has rather enjoyed this, because it would mean a lot of games against the Minnesota Twins who, in addition to being a good team that might make for a fun, new, competitive rivalry, employ Josh Donaldson, who last played with the Braves before signing with the Twins as a free agent in the offseason.

One guy who doesn’t like the Braves in the Central, however, is team chairman Terry McGuirk. Here he is talking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today:

“That’s not happening. There is no possibility of that happening. We live in the East. We play in the East. Our travel will be in the East. We’re an Eastern division team, and that’s where we’ll stay.”

It’s probably worth nothing that geographically speaking, Atlanta is farther west than Pittsburgh. And Cleveland and Cincinnati and Detroit for that matter. It’s also probably worth noting that the Braves, until 1994, played in the NL West. Heck, they’ve won more NL West titles (5) than the Colorado Rockies ever have (0). They’re tied with the Padres in that race, actually.

I dunno. I really don’t think that, in light of all of the other, far more pressing concerns about plans to bring baseball back in 2020, which division each team plays ranks anywhere close to the top. Divide the league up alphabetically or color code them or create divisions based on astrological signs, I don’t care.

I’m far more concerned with things like “will players, managers, and team employees end up on ventilators because of how things were handled” than I am with whether the Braves play in the Central or the East.

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.