Dear Commissioner Manfred,

Did you notice the television audience for the soccer League Championship Sunday night? Almost 400 million viewers in countries around the world.

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Bayern Munchen victorious

(The Super Bowl, by comparison, got only about one-quarter as many — 100 million.) The whole world watched the League finals. Not just the US, Canada and the Spanish-speaking parts of Latin America.

One heck of a lot of those viewers were female — wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, single women, "coupled" ones, old, young, very young. You know, the whole gender.


Because it's an exciting game played-and understood-at a high level by BOTH SEXES.

Yes, Mr. …

Yup, another baseball season is underway and you guys are already screwing it up.

On opening day, I tuned in to the Angels-A’s game and saw Matt Olson hit a walk-off grand slam to win it for Oakland 7–3. As Olson rounded the bases, his teammates rushed from the dugout toward home plate. My heart sank. Here it comes, I thought.

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The A’s — Social but no distance

Olson was mobbed as he crossed the plate. I watched in disbelief as players jumped all over him and pounded him on the back. Uh, about that virus? I wondered.

I was sure the telecast announcer would say something, and he did, but it had nothing to do with Covid-19 and spreading the virus. All he said was “Well, this is cause for celebration.” …

Attention Major League Baseball! It’s time to clean house.
And I’m guessing that for all you old white men who run MLB and own teams, cleaning house means only one thing — get a woman to do it.

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You are right! You need a woman — probably a whole team of females! — to clean up the mess you’re making of this season and of the game itself.

Where to start? How about finding a middle-woman to run the negotiations between the owners and the players?

While major league baseball sputters along trying to figure out whether to have a season, let me turn briefly to football and say this: If I were an NFL owner, the first thing I would do is hire Colin Kaepernick to be my quarterback. Not because he’s necessarily the best quarterback available but rather because of what he stands for — or kneels for: to protest police brutality.

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Colin Kaepernick

My hometown is Minneapolis where another knee made headlines, one belonging to a cop who snuffed out the life of George Floyd.

What’s encouraging is that this despicable crime is prompting people to speak out, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who has always been in lock-step with team owners who oppose kneeling. Although he didn’t mention Kaepernick by name, Goodell did issue his strongest support yet for players seeking to fight racism and police brutality. He apologized for not listening to the concerns of African-Americans and said he supports the players’ rights to protest peacefully. …

Major League Baseball’s idea of playing baseball in Phoenix is the wackiest idea since President Trump said he would like to see the U.S. re-open for business by Easter. Whoever came up with the idea ought to be benched.

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Commissioner Manfred thinking about things

The plan, which is still being discussed by Commissioner Rob Manfred and others, would see the 30 clubs resume playing there in May, using the fields some teams play on for spring training.

Has MLB given any thought as to how hot it gets there? I’ve played there in October in the Men’s Senior Baseball League World Series and it’s absolutely scorching. I don’t care how young the players are or what kind of shape they’re in. …


Anyone following this blog recently may have noticed that I’ve not been a happy camper lately. Sort of grumpy, actually. In one article after another, it seems like all I’ve done is grumble.

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I’ve grumbled about the Washington Nationals visiting the White House after winning the World Series, and before them I grumbled about the Boston Red Sox going there. I’ve also grumbled about my beloved Yankees for its silly policy prohibiting beards and long hair policy.

So it’s refreshing to finally write something positive and pass along a couple of things that make me think, “Way to go! One of them is Rachel Balkovec. She’s just become the first woman hired as a fulltime batting coach by a major league organization, and by the Yankees no less. …

Just for once, I would love to see someone NOT play by the rules, and by that I mean the Yankee rule prohibiting beards and long hair. It strikes me as petty, out of date and perhaps even harmful.

Look what happened to Clint Frazier. Remember all the fuss over his curly locks after the Yankees acquired him?

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Clint Frazier — Fuzzy Was He

He was practically impeached! Higher-ups came down on him like a ton of bricks and Frazier was forced to cut everything off. In my opinion, it wasn’t just hair that was lost. It was also his image. …

You did it. You actually went through with it and showed up for President Trump’s photo op. No surprise there.

What was a surprise — a pleasant one — is that nine other players, mostly blacks and Latinos, had the guts and integrity not to attend the White House ceremony. Among them, the team’s star third baseman, Anthony Rendon.

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This is just a postscript to what I wrote yesterday expressing dismay that the rest of you guys would accept an invitation from someone like Trump.

Here’s someone who heaps praise on white supremacists but denigrates the disabled, who accuses opponents of treason while snubbing the Constitution he is sworn to uphold. …

Is it true? Have you really accepted the Groper-in-Chief’s invitation to visit the White House?

Your winning the World Series was one of the most thrilling and inspiring moments in baseball history, and even though I’m a Yankee fan I was happy for your victory and so proud of you.

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Now I’m ashamed. You’ve accepted an invitation to visit the White House — with one exception, however. As of this writing, Sean Doolittle is the only player declining to go. “I don’t feel like hanging with a guy who’s said the things he said,” Doolittle explained. He went on to say that it didn’t feel right, that after all of the cruel and disgusting things Donald Trump has said and done, taking part in such an event would make him feel uncomfortable. …

Now that the New York Yankees have clinched the American League Eastern Division Championship, can the Boston Red Sox be far behind?

Yes! Far, far behind. They’ve been eliminated from post-season competition after winning the World Series last year.

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Remember last year?

A number of reasons have been cited. Some attribute it to what’s called World Series hang over. Others cite injuries and the inability of the starting pitchers to come through. Or the failure to re-sign their star closer Craig Kimbrel who was lights out last season.

I have another theory: it was the club ‘s decision to accept an invitation to visit the White House, something other sports teams refused to do because of President Trump. First were the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. …


Don and Petie Kladstrup

American writers living in France, working on forthcoming book, “Almost Home: Playing Baseball in France.” Authors, “Wine & War,” and “Champagne.”

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