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Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 3:20 PM
It’s been a while since the Dayton Dragons have been involved in a “big” series at any time during a season, but that’s exactly what will unfold down at Fifth Third Field this weekend.
The West Michigan Whitecaps roll into town for a four-game series over the holiday weekend. The Detroit Tigers affiliate is now the frontrunner in the Midwest League’s East Division with Dayton sitting 1 game behind in the standings.
The Dragons have owned the top spot most of the season, riding the best record in minor league baseball until they dropped two out of three at Great Lakes and now stand a game back in the division.
Dayton (31-15) comes into the series with fewer home-field losses than any team in the Midwest League, including a three game sweep of the Whitecaps at Fifth Third Field last month. West Michigan (32-14) is riding a six-game winning streak.
The Dragons haven’t won the first-half championship since 2007, and they haven’t made it to the playoffs since 2011.
The top two teams in each division in the first half qualify for the playoffs.
Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 5:39 PM
— Former Braves general manager John Coppolella has been banned for life by Major League Baseball as part of discipline handed down by the league Tuesday for major infractions committed in the international free-agent market.
In addition, special assistant Gordon Blakeley has been suspended for one year. In handing down the punishment, the league announced that Braves will forfeit rights to 13 international prospects, will be prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period and are restricted from signing players in the next two signing periods for contracts with bonuses greater than $300,000.
The highest-profile signee that the Braves will lose is infielder Kevin Maitan.
Here is the complete statement from MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred:
“My office has completed a thorough investigation into violations of Major League Rules by the Atlanta Braves. The Braves cooperated throughout the investigation, which was conducted by MLB’s Department of Investigations. The senior Baseball Operations officials responsible for the misconduct are no longer employed by the Braves. I am confident that Terry McGuirk, John Schuerholz, Alex Anthopoulos and their staffs have and will put in place procedures to ensure that this type of conduct never occurs again and which will allow the Club to emerge from this difficult period as the strong and respected franchise that it has always been.
“The investigation established that the Braves circumvented international signing rules from 2015 through 2017. During the 2015-16 international signing period, the Braves signed five players subject to the Club’s signing bonus pool to contracts containing signing bonuses lower than the bonuses the Club had agreed to provide the players. The Club provided the additional bonus money to those players by inflating the signing bonus to another player who was exempt from their signing pool because he qualified as a ‘foreign professional’ under MLB rules. Consistent with the rules, the Braves could have signed all of the 2015-16 players for the full, actual signing bonus amounts. Had the Club signed the five players to contracts containing their actual bonuses, however, the Braves would have exceeded their signing bonus pool by more than five percent and would have been, under MLB rules, restricted from signing any players during the next two signing periods for contracts with bonuses greater than $300,000.
“As a result of the 2015-16 circumvention, the Braves were able to sign nine high-value players during the 2016-17 signing period who would have been unavailable to them had the Club accurately accounted for its signings during the 2015-16 signing period. These players were Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario, Abrahan Gutierrez, Kevin Maitan, Juan Carlos Negret, Yenci Peña, Yunior Severino, Livan Soto and Guillermo Zuniga. In addition, the Braves entered into additional ‘package’ agreements in 2016 and 2017 in which they signed Brandol Mezquita, Angel Rojas and Antonio Sucre for reduced amounts, and provided additional money to those players’ agents by signing other players affiliated with their agents to contracts with inflated bonuses. In order to remedy these violations, I am releasing these players from their contracts with the Braves and declaring them free agents eligible to sign with any other Club. The procedures governing the players’ release and the signing process will be communicated to MLB Clubs under separate cover.
“The investigation also determined that the Braves: (i) agreed to sign six players to inflated signing bonuses pursuant to an agreement with prospect Robert Puason’s agent in exchange for a commitment that Puason would sign with the Club in the 2019-20 signing period; and (ii) offered prospect Ji-Hwan Bae extra-contractual compensation. In order to remedy these violations, I am prohibiting the Club from signing Robert Puason when he becomes eligible to sign, and disapproving the contract between Bae and the Braves, which has not yet become effective.
Schultz: Coppolella submarined the Braves
“While the remedies discussed above will deprive the Braves of the benefits of their circumvention, I believe that additional sanctions are warranted to penalize the Club for the violations committed by its employees. Accordingly, the Braves will be prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period, which is the first signing period in which the Braves are not subject to any signing restrictions under our rules; and the Braves’ international signing bonus pool for the 2020-21 signing period will be reduced by 50 percent.
“The investigation also determined that the Braves offered impermissible benefits, which were never provided, to a player they selected in the First-Year Player Draft in an attempt to convince him to sign for a lower bonus. As a penalty for the Club’s attempted circumvention involving a draft selection, the Braves will forfeit their third-round selection in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft.
“With respect to individual discipline, former Braves General Manager John Coppolella will be placed on the permanently ineligible list, effective immediately. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley will be suspended for a period of one year, effective immediately, and may not perform services for any MLB Club during his suspension. I intend to discipline other Braves’ International Baseball Operations employees who participated in the misconduct after the completion of our internal procedures. My staff will speak to the Players Association and officials in the Dominican Republic regarding appropriate consequences for the representatives of the players who intentionally participated in schemes to circumvent our rules, none of whom are certified by the Players Association.”
Check myAJC.com for a full report on the Braves and the punishment.
Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 6:48 PM
DARIEN, Ill. — An Illinois boy returning home after receiving treatment for a rare cancer was greeted by a bedroom renovation designed just for the young Cubs fan.
When Ken Markiewicz heard a WGN report about Joey Ventimiglia, 7, a young Cubs fan battling cancer, he felt compelled to use his artistic skills to show his support.
Ventimiglia was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, which is a rare type of brain tumor. Because of the tumor’s position, surgery is not an option, WGN reported. Ventimiglia has been receiving experimental treatment in Mexico to battle the aggressive cancer.
Markiewicz, who owns Crayons Gone Wild, offered to paint a Cubs-themed mural for Ventimiglia, free of charge.
Markiewicz reached out to the Ventimiglia family with his idea and while Ventimiglia was at his latest treatment, Markiewicz transformed the boy's bedroom into a dream for a Cubs fan. Markiewicz painted a baseball on the boy's closet and got the entire Cubs team to sign the artwork. He also recreated the famous ivy-covered wall at Wrigley Field.
Published: Friday, September 01, 2017 @ 11:35 AM
NEW YORK — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor visited New York’s Yankee Stadium to watch her beloved team take on the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, and it only made sense that she found herself right at-home in “The Judge’s Chambers.”
Sotomayor, a Bronx-native, took a seat in the rooting section named for rookie Aaron Judge as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 6-2, The Washington Post reported.
With a foam gavel stamped with “All Rise” in hand and wearing a black robe – both courtesy of the stadium, according to The Associated Press – Sotomayor could be seen smiling broadly as she cheered for the Yankees.
Sotomayor in the Judge's Chambers!!! pic.twitter.com/quEs2Sq4Ph— Stefanie Gordon (@Stefmara) August 31, 2017
Published: Monday, August 07, 2017 @ 10:24 AM
AUSTIN, Texas — Former major-league baseball star Don Baylor died Monday morning after a long struggle with multiple myeloma. He was 68.
Baylor died at 4:25 a.m. Monday at St. David’s South Hospital in his native Austin, Texas, his son confirmed to the Austin American-Statesman.
Baylor graduated from Austin High School as one of the first African-Americans to attend the school and the very first to play baseball and football for the school.
He played 19 seasons in the major leagues and was a feared power hitter who was known for crowding the plate and taking a pitch -- lots of them. He was hit a then-record 267 times, an example of his toughness and fearless style.
Baylor would have become the first black player in University of Texas history but for his decision to turn down a scholarship offer from legendary coach Darrell Royal to pursue a career in baseball.
Baylor played for six different American League teams -- most notably the California Angels -- but also the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox. Following his playing career, he became manager for the expansion Colorado Rockies with a six-year stint and later managed the Chicago Cubs for three seasons.