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Monday, June 19, 2017

OTP 19 June 2017: Bipartisan baseball: Dems best GOP, give trophy to wounded Scalise

The game at Nationals Park carried on a century-old bipartisan ritual, this one tinged with worry about Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and their determination to answer the attack by coming together in sport. Democrats won in an 11-2 blowout.

In a final flourish of bipartisan camaraderie for the night, Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, his team’s manager, accepted the trophy, then gave it to his GOP counterpart, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, to put in Scalise’s office on behalf of the Democrats. After accepting it gracefully, Barton cracked, “Next year we won’t be so nice.”


(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 19, 2017 at 07:20 AM | 1047 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball, ffs, congress, politics

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rovell: Senators aim to stop use of municipal funds to finance stadiums

Cory Booker, D-N.J., and James Lankford, R-Okla., are sponsoring a bill that would prohibit teams from using municipal bonds, whose interest is exempt from federal taxes, to help finance stadium construction.

. . .

The largest federal subsidies, according to the report, include the New York Yankees ($431 million), the Chicago Bears ($205 million), the New York Mets ($185 million), the Cincinnati Bengals ($164 million) and the Indianapolis Colts ($163 million).

 


Monday, June 12, 2017

OTP 12 June 2017: McCain Stays Up Late to Watch Baseball

The obvious baseball/politics tie-in of the week:

Arizona Sen. John McCain is blaming his convoluted line of questioning at Thursday’s James Comey testimony on his decision to stay up late the night before to watch a baseball game.

Many on Twitter were left scratching their heads after the 80-year-old Republican senator grilled Comey during the hearing about why the FBI closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, while continuing its probe of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

McCain responded by releasing a statement that read: “I get the sense from Twitter that my line of questioning today went over people’s heads. Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games.

I just see this as McCain setting good priorities.  Prepare to investigate threats to our democratic way of life, or watch baseball?  Seems like one of the easier choices a politician could face.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: June 12, 2017 at 06:08 AM | 1635 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, politics, why are nl west games on so late

Sunday, June 04, 2017

OTP 5 June 2017: Venezuelan big leaguers strike back

Back to baseball this week, as patriotic players highlight resistance to a disastrous President. 

Since March, massive anti-government rallies have erupted in Caracas and other big cities, with demonstrators protesting the country’s runaway inflation, deadly shortages of food and medicine, and the politician they blame for pushing Venezuela into crisis: current president Nicolas Maduro.

At least 60 protestors have died in clashes with government forces. As the conflict deepens, a series of Venezuelan sports stars have spoken out in support of the demonstrators, hoping their profile can help publicize the country’s entrenched problems and jump-start solutions.

“We are listening. Here we are supporting (demonstrators),” said Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera in a recorded interview with ESPN. “All they’re doing is not in vain. We’re fighting for a better Venezuela.”

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: June 04, 2017 at 09:59 PM | 2151 comment(s)
  Beats: endy chavez, miguel cabrera, pablo sandoval, politics, venezuela

Monday, May 29, 2017

OTP 29 May 2017: Should we double check with Rod Laver?

Political controversy in sport is global, as witness this episode from Down Under:

Margaret Court said last week she would not travel on Qantas because the boss of the airline, Alan Joyce, supported same-sex marriage.

A volley of controversy followed. It was even suggested that the Melbourne Park court named after the winner of 24 grand slam titles be renamed. It is amazing how stupid some of our community can be.

Should we double check with Rod Laver on his thoughts? What if he doesn’t agree on same-sex marriage either? We’re going to need a bigger spanner.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: May 29, 2017 at 08:27 AM | 1834 comment(s)
  Beats: australia, politics, tennis

Sunday, May 21, 2017

OTP 22 May 2017: George W. Bush photobombs a sports reporter

Former president George W. Bush attended a Texas Rangers baseball game Wednesday evening, and happened to be heading to his seat with drink in hand right when sideline reporter Emily Jones was live on TV.

So Bush did what any normal person would do — seize the opportunity to be on TV and make a funny face.

Mark my words, the Donald will be doing this a couple of decades from now, and we’ll all be nostalgic for the innocent, rosy days of 2017.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: May 21, 2017 at 08:10 PM | 1731 comment(s)
  Beats: journalism, politics, rangers, television

Monday, May 15, 2017

OTP 15 May 2017: A sport dominated by politics

And that would be … cricket – what were you expecting?

Tanya Alfred draws our attention to the world-threatening problem of climate change — which more than 97 per cent of climate scientists agree on’ — and bemoans the lack of a strategy from the English Cricket Board (ECB) for how cricket is organised today and its lack of preparation for the future.
In 2016, for instance, the Indian Premier League was forced to relocate matches from Maharashtra because of a water shortage. Bangladesh is threatened by extreme river floods, rising sea levels and high temperatures.
Zimbabwe has uncertain precipitation patterns, as does the southern part of Australia, while England is predicted to get more rainfall.

Does MLB have a climate-change contingency plan? I am sure Rob Manfred would consider it.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: May 15, 2017 at 08:43 AM | 2684 comment(s)
  Beats: cricket, politics

Monday, May 08, 2017

OTP 8 May 2017: FIBA to allow Muslim athletes to compete while wearing hijab

Nothing to do with baseball this week, but an important development at the intersection of sport, religion, gender, and politics:

Muslim women now will be able to compete in basketball while wearing hijab, thanks to a rule change by the international governing body for the sport.

The ruling, which takes effect Oct. 1, is the culmination of a study by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that began in September 2014 and follows a trend in which more governing bodies are allowing athletes to balance their religious beliefs with their athletic pursuits. FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body, has allowed players to wear hijab since early 2014.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: May 08, 2017 at 07:30 AM | 1817 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, muslims, politics, women in sports

Monday, May 01, 2017

OTP 1 May 2017: “Season of Lies” mixes baseball, politics

Dennis Hetzel has crafted “Season of Lies,” a new novel featuring the Chicago Cubs becoming enmeshed in a dirty presidential campaign.

Now that the Cubs have finally won a world championship, their chances of building a new baseball dynasty are threatened by sinister circumstances beyond the team’s control, when star pitcher Trey Von Ohmann decides to endorse President Luke Murphy for re-election, much to his teammates’ consternation.

Heh, remember when you knew a book was fiction if the Cubs won the Series.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

BDC Posted: May 01, 2017 at 06:14 AM | 1799 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fiction, politics

Monday, April 24, 2017

OTP 24 April 2017: Talking politics (and baseball) with the mayor

Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett on politics:

“Who thinks it is acceptable for a kid to come Downtown with a handgun in his pocket?” he asked. “Who thinks it is OK for kids who aren’t even 18 to be walking around with guns? I don’t think you can find anyone who thinks that is acceptable.”

Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett on baseball:

“Some call it slow, or even boring. But it’s deliberate for a reason. It’s a situational game. Every batter, every pitch, presents a different situation and a different challenge. What I love about baseball is that I’m 60 years old and I’ve been watching baseball for as long as I can remember, but I’m still learning.”

I’m with him on gun control and agin’ him on pace of play.  What say others?

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

 

BDC Posted: April 24, 2017 at 09:06 AM | 972 comment(s)
  Beats: indianapolis, politics

Sunday, April 16, 2017

OTP 17 April 2017: Baseball, giant American flags, and patriotism

Craig Calcaterra on a ginormous pre-ballgame flag in Atlanta:

While patriotism is a laudable trait — and while I consider myself to be a patriotic American — to suggest that flag-waving is exclusively done by those with noble and pure intent is simply laughable.

Do I think the Braves were making a political point with their giant flag on Friday night? No, not particularly. At least not anything beyond the efforts made by every baseball team which wishes to make its fans feel like going to the ballpark is not merely a commercial experience but a uniquely American one. Especially on Opening Day. And, well, especially when they just made those fans hand over their tax dollars for a new ballpark the team didn’t really need, so hey, let’s make sure we create the impression that this is about more than the Braves’ bottom line.

But let us not pretend for one second that displays of conspicuous patriotism haven’t spiked dramatically in our country over the past 16 years.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: April 16, 2017 at 08:23 PM | 1402 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, politics

Sunday, April 09, 2017

OTP 10 April 2017: More sports teams want in on 50-50 raffles

[Texas] lawmakers in 2015 approved a plan to let 10 professional sports teams in Texas hold … 50-50 raffles during sporting events, and voters also approved the plan.

[Team] officials said they were “very pleased” with the support they saw from Rangers fans during the first year of the Texas Two Split.

“We were able to raise significant funds to support Rangers Foundation programs, including the construction of the new Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, presented by Toyota, as well as to support community initiatives like the Line of Duty Fund that supported the families of the Fallen Officers from July’s tragedy in Dallas,” said Karin Morris, executive director of the foundation.

I am never sure how much good these multiple layers of foundations and sponsored projects do for anybody.  And I’m not fond of that much vigorish.  But some aren’t as choosy, because even on a weeknight the Rangers tend to take in $15-$18K in this raffle, or about a dollar for every fan in the park. What does the BBTF collective think of 50-50 raffles, as public policy?

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: April 09, 2017 at 08:34 PM | 1484 comment(s)
  Beats: charity, gambling, politics, rangers

Monday, April 03, 2017

OTP 3 April 2017: The Nationals Leave Politics Aside

Honestly, if Adam Eaton said something on Twitter that I disagree with, I would probably think he was the other Adam Eaton anyway.

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said he issued no new directives after the 2016 election than he has in the past. … “I’m all about players speaking out when they feel like speaking out. They’re grown men,” Rizzo said. “You’ve seen it when people on our roster have said negative things toward me and my decisions. I salute their right to express their opinion.” …

Adam Eaton said he stays away from Twitter because he has “gotten crushed” for sharing his opinions before.

“For me, it’s not worth it to speak your mind as an athlete because you do get burned,” Eaton said. “Even if 95 percent of the country agrees with you, there’s that five percent that doesn’t. And if a media personality picks it up and disagrees with you, you’re in trouble.”

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

 

BDC Posted: April 03, 2017 at 08:11 AM | 1356 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, politics

Sunday, March 26, 2017

OTP 27 March 2017: Trump, Healthcare, and the Art of the Botched Deal

OK, there’s just one easy-ground-ball baseball metaphor in this story.  And Donald Trump started college the year the Mets moved to Queens.  But it is the week’s big political news:

When Donald Trump was growing up in Queens, the local baseball team, the New York Mets, was the lowliest franchise in the National League. The Mets were so bad that the manager, Casey Stengel, once famously asked of his team: can’t anybody here play this game?

That’s the central question now in Donald Trump’s Washington. On Friday afternoon, the House GOP leadership pulled its bill overhauling Obamacare rather than experience a humiliating defeat.

When he arrived in Washington, many wondered whether Donald Trump could play this game. Just two months into his presidency, the answer is glaringly obvious: he cannot.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

 

BDC Posted: March 26, 2017 at 10:10 PM | 1221 comment(s)
  Beats: casey stengel, mets, politics

Sunday, March 19, 2017

OTP 20 March 2017: This fighter for civil rights has baseball in her DNA

An interview with Bay Area activist and baseball fanatic Sunny Schwartz.

The S.F. Giants are gutsy and sincerely community-minded. They not only put money where their mouth is but they put their principles in action. They raised awareness of our [restorative justice] program. Graduates from our program stood shoulder-to-shoulder with survivors of violence in the ballpark before a game, saying they’d do the right thing. The Giants also took on AIDS awareness in the early ’90s. Today that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but back then it really was. They’ve also taken on domestic violence. Our first Strike Out Violence Day was in 1998 or ’99.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: March 19, 2017 at 09:58 PM | 2086 comment(s)
  Beats: activism, ballpark weddings, giants, politics

Sunday, March 12, 2017

OTP 13 March 2017: A Week in Breitbart Sports

DJ Gallo spends a week reading Breitbart Sports so we don’t have to:

I always endeavor to watch sports, if for no other reason than to gain a brief escape from the rest of our hyper-partisan culture. But then I happened to discover that there is something called Breitbart Sports. Yes, Breitbart.com, the flagship website of the nationalistic, alt-right. The angry white man to the New York Times’ old gray lady, the publication whose headlines (and longtime publisher) have somehow come to inform the most powerful and misinformed man in the world, is slinging sports news and takes with the rest of us.

The idea of sport as a uniter made it through the first world war, but could it withstand an association with Breitbart?

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: March 12, 2017 at 07:18 PM | 1534 comment(s)
  Beats: espn, nba, nfl, politics, tim tebow

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Travis: ESPN Cutting Nearly $100 Million In On-Air Talent

#StickToSports

Two years ago ESPN cut several hundred behind the scenes jobs to save hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly costs. Since that time ESPN’s subscriber losses have accelerated, averaging over three million lost subscribers a year. Now new jobs cuts are coming, only this time you’re likely to know some of the casualties—Outkick has heard from a variety of different sources that ESPN is cutting up to $100 million in on-air salaries.

Yep, on air. This means you’re going to know many of the people leaving the network.

The cuts will come via buyouts and expiring contracts that won’t be renewed and when those layoffs start becoming apparent many will recognize that what Outkick has been writing for a couple of years now—ESPN is in a world of trouble and doesn’t know how to stem a rapidly collapsing business model.

ESPN’s collapse is the biggest story in sports yet most still haven’t realized it.

That business collapse at ESPN has caused a panic at the network, a desperate grab for relevance that has led to a pronounced leftward move. ESPN’s trying desperately to stay relevant as ratings collapse and subscribers flee. The decision? “We’ll be MSESPN, the home for far left wing politics and sports!” Only, it’s not working.

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: March 07, 2017 at 06:00 PM | 260 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting, cable, espn, jobs, politics

Sunday, March 05, 2017

OTP 6 March 2017: Baseball Won’t Change Politics, But Politics Will Definitely Ruin Baseball

Equal time for our friends on the right, with a blast from David Harsanyi of the Federalist:

Stark notes, for instance, that there was a “social media storm” when St. Louis Cardinals centerfielder Dexter Fowler “dared” to “express personal concern for his wife’s Iranian-born family in the wake of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.” Fowler was also expressing concern about his sister-in-law having to delay a business trip from Qatar.

Don’t get me wrong, that struggle is real. Yet if Fowler, who has a daughter, had “dared” bring up the rampant misogynistic culture that permeates Iran (and most of the Islamic world) when Barack Obama was striking a deal with that country, the reaction would have been far more consequential than some random fans telling him to stick to baseball.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: March 05, 2017 at 10:07 PM | 1583 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, politics, social media

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

With nation deeply divided, MLB’s silence speaks volumes

Welcome to baseball in 2017, a year like no other in our nation. In the NBA, coaches and stars take regular aim at the policies of the new president of the United States, from the executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries to plans for building a massive wall along the Mexican border. But in Major League Baseball—where locker rooms feature a multicultural melting pot of athletes, many of whom could be directly or indirectly affected by those policies—what you hear (or don’t hear) is the careful sound of political silence.

Several clubs have made a point this spring of giving their players the same sort of “advice” the Yankees provided. We even know of one high-ranking club official who told his players that if they choose to take a stand on anything political, 50 percent of the people who used to cheer them would not just stop cheering. Those cheers would turn to hate.

“In these times, we’re polarized on every issue,” that official says. “I don’t know if it’s 50-50 or 60-40. But there’s a huge segment of the population that has a strong opinion on every issue. So if you’re a player, there are a certain number of fans that are going to have a negative reaction to any position you take. You’re immediately alienating 50 percent of your fans. So if they don’t know you, all that 50 percent knows is that they hate you.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 28, 2017 at 11:12 AM | 91 comment(s)
  Beats: politics

Sunday, February 26, 2017

OTP 27 Feb. 2017: Become Political

What does it mean to become sick of politics? asks columnist Jonathan Stinson.

I kept seeing random photos of baseball players pop up on my newsfeed the other day. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. Pitchers and catchers have reported for camp, and Spring Training is right around the corner for the rest of the MLB stars and hopefuls.
Then I read one of the posts. It said: “The idea of this is to occupy Facebook with baseball posts to break up all the political posts. Whoever likes this post will be given a baseball player and is to post a picture of that player with this text.”
The effort was no Ice-Bucket Challenge, but it did sum up the feelings of many on the left and the right about the current state of the power struggle that surrounds our government.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: February 26, 2017 at 07:22 PM | 2148 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards, politics, social media

Monday, February 20, 2017

How 10 Facebook comments tell the story of Dexter Fowler, the Cardinals and America in 2017

Fowler hadn’t sought to make a grand political statement. His wife, Aliya, was born in Iran, and he was talking about how the president’s executive order seeking to severely curtail immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries affected his family. The law had mucked up his sister-in-law’s travel plans, and Fowler said he no longer was comfortable visiting Iran with his young daughter.

“It’s huge,” Fowler said. “Especially any time you’re not able to see your family, it’s unfortunate.”

Those 14 innocuous words – ones that, absence of context, speak to Democrats and Republicans, black and white and Latino, man and woman, anyone and everyone – turned Fowler into a target. The refrain was simple. “Play ball,” wrote 77 people. “Just play baseball,” said another 15. They were among the most civil.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 20, 2017 at 01:51 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dexter fowler, politics

Sunday, February 19, 2017

OTP 20 Feb. 2017: Baseball in a Time of Politics

Unitarian Universalist minister Elz Curtiss offers sage advice on how we might use sports as a lightning rod for our political emotions:

As the pitchers and catchers settle in, I’m looking for a team to hate as much as I hated the Dodgers. I need it. Someone to wish into a baseball gutter, to jeer with ugly, dripping sneers when they take the field. I need them because I refuse to stoop to that level in discussing our president, his party, nor the people who put them in office. If this country is to have any future, someone has got to take the first step in modeling an admirable minority position. It doesn’t mean staying quiet on issues, it doesn’t mean keeping calm in the face of outrage. It just means remembering that most of these people are honorable, patriotic, decent in many ways, and, frankly, probably just as confused as the rest of us about what the future holds.

But if I’m going to keep this cool in what looks to be a long, hot summer, it’s going to take a scapegoat from major league baseball to keep me stable.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: February 19, 2017 at 08:35 PM | 2041 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, politics

Sunday, February 12, 2017

OTP 13 Feb. 2017: Football and Politics

Because this past week was the annual nadir of baseball news, and because the political Patriots are getting some headlines, this week’s OTP link is unabashedly unconnected to baseball:

In the wake of the Patriots’ thrilling 34–28 overtime victory, six players, five of whom are African-American—Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower, LeGarrette Blount, and Alan Branch—announced they would skip the team’s ceremonial visit to Trump at the White House. All this dissidence, of course, capped an N.F.L. season marked by the San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s weekly ritual of kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

BDC Posted: February 12, 2017 at 10:04 PM | 2310 comment(s)
  Beats: football, politics

Sunday, February 05, 2017

OTP 6 Feb. 2017: Curt Schilling, Politics, and the Hall of Fame

Curt Schilling has said that his politics are costing him votes for the Hall of Fame. The other day here at NRO, Aaron Goldstein argued specifically that in the most recent balloting, earlier this winter, baseball writers backed away from Schilling because he supported Trump last year in the presidential election.

A few problems dog that theory. One is that Schilling did better in the 2017 voting than he’s done on average in his five years of eligibility.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

BDC Posted: February 05, 2017 at 10:45 PM | 2003 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, hall of fame, phillies, politics, red sox

Sunday, January 29, 2017

OTP 30 Jan. 2017: From big-league baseball to small-town politics

As a pitcher for the Florida Marlins more than a decade ago, Chuck Smith was the one in charge every time he took the mound. These days, he’s running the show as mayor of a small, inner-city town in Ohio.

Smith was a 30-year-old journeyman, rising from obscurity when he reached the majors with the Marlins in 2000. But he became one of the team’s top starters, winning the club’s rookie of the year award after going 6-6.

In 2009, he was elected mayor of the suburban Cleveland town of Woodmere, close to where Smith was raised and learned to play baseball.

Eight years seems like a long time for this news to filter down to Miami, but then again, Woodmere has a population of 884 and an area of less than a square mile.  Metropolis or not, Smith is still mayor there today.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

BDC Posted: January 29, 2017 at 07:48 PM | 2396 comment(s)
  Beats: marlins, politics

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