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Bernie Sanders wants to remove baseball’s antitrust exemption

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Bernie Sanders would like to talk to you about MLB’s anti-trust exemption.

Bernie Sanders would like to talk to you about MLB’s anti-trust exemption.
Image: Getty Images

Major League Baseball may soon have another fight on its hands. There’s a reason that there was never a USFL or an ABA to challenge MLB in the 20th century. The league has always been exempt from the antitrust laws passed in the Sherman Antitrust act of 1890 that attempt to ensure open competition in the free market. MLB won a Supreme Court case that said the clubs operate as entities in their own state and don’t engage in interstate commerce.

That might have made sense in 1922, even though the club owners did do business with each other like selling Babe Ruth from Boston to New York, because at least back then games were only broadcast on local radio stations. With MLB’s national television contracts now totaling nearly $2 billion per year, if the freaking Voting Rights Act can’t stay completely intact, it’s probably time for MLB to follow the same open market as everyone else — or at least on paper the same way as other companies as well off.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) has introduced the Save American Baseball Act to Congress to remove MLB’s antitrust exemption. The lockout that threatened the 2022 season was the final straw for Sanders, whose frustration had been percolating since 2020 when, MLB dissolved its relationship with minor league clubs in 40 communities, including Burlington, V.T.

It is well known that Sen. Sanders is not a fan of the wealthiest of Americans’ insatiable appetite for more. However, he makes a great point in his first statement, that speaks to a national problem that can be seen in sports.

“You have a handful of billionaires who own the major league teams,” Sanders said to Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s Real Sports. “Who instead of running a system that works for the fans, works for the communities, is focusing completely on the kinds of profits that they can make.”

First, let’s set aside how his sentiments can be applied to many societal ills that threaten the fabric of the global community. Let’s also ignore the reminder of just how spectacular Larry David was impersonating Sen. Sanders on Saturday Night Live. The big three sports all have a problem with a declining quality of their product.

While the NFL playoffs ended well this past season, most of the regular season was a complete dud. NBA fans have spent much of the regular season focusing on the General Hospital element of the sport rather than the exciting young players on the floor. With MLB, diehard fans and casuals all lament how unentertaining the regular-season product has become. The basic answer to all three of these is: Sports is not fun when the owners are concerned more about profit than product.

The NFL added an extra regular season game, for what? To add an extra week to the television contracts, and earn another week of revenue from another week of game day action at the stadiums. Most slates of games were terrible, because bye weeks stretched from Week 7 to Week 14, and an extra week of giant human beings colliding with each other results in more injuries. I’m not sure what’s less entertaining, a backup quarterback starting in an NFL game, or a legitimate starting quarterback playing behind a backup offensive line. Either way, it can put any football fan to sleep by 4 p.m. EST on Sunday.

In the NBA, there are too many regular season games. It’s why players sit so much more now than they used to when they’re relatively healthy. They realized there is no need to push it to play 82 games, especially when 16 of the 30 teams make the playoffs. Also, today’s players have been on a professional schedule since their early teenage years. American prospects take on a monster AAU schedule every summer, and in other countries, Luka Dončić starts playing in professional leagues at 16-years-old. The players come in with too many miles on their bodies and it has to be managed. At the 50 game mark, it’s usually clear which teams have the best chance to make through that two-month marathon of a postseason, but there is no way the NBA would shorten the regular-season schedule even 10 games, even though the games would have more significance and the players who bring in viewers would be more likely to be on the court every night.

For all of the arguments about pace of play or not hitting for contact, one of the MLB’s biggest problems is front offices refusing to be competitive. They don’t see the need for having a team that can hold fan’s interest all summer, even if it only results in 77 wins and no playoffs. Instead, as of today, there are, again four whole major-league ball clubs with payrolls under $60 million. There are 10 with payrolls under $100 million. That’s not to say that $200 million will win a team a World Series, but these teams at the bottom are contributing nothing to the sport. They take an uninteresting product to ballparks around the country, and make it difficult for their home fans to invest in the success of the team while the owners rake in revenue sharing money.

With the national television contracts that all three sports have recently signed, the owners may feel they can use these teams as ATMs until they feel like cashing for the biggest profit when they sell. However, sports does have the same problem as all of live television, young people are watching less. With the television landscape ever changing, teams are doing themselves no favors by, instead of improving the product, just giving us more of what they already have, while trying to pay less to do so.

If you’ve ever participated in one of those business class contests in school, the trick to winning was always to invest as much into research and development as possible. These days, sports owners not only want to invest less in development, but less into their teams period, while making record profits, and the net worths of these teams skyrocket.

They can keep trying to lessen their investment in the product to maximize profit all they want, but if they don’t want to make the effort to participate in the whole civic pride thing that sells sports, they can one day find themselves going the way of NBC’s Must See TV Thursday. Maybe Sen. Sanders’ proposal, while it will hurt MLB owners in the short run if it passes, is one tiny step that can help the league in the long run. It can force the clubs to try a little bit harder to do the thing that fans never hesitate to loudly demand of players: Compete.



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Mark Cavendish: Two men jailed over knifepoint robbery of cycling star and wife Peta at their home | News News

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Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta were victims of a knifepoint robbery at their home in November 2021

Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta were victims of a knifepoint robbery at their home in November 2021

Two men have been jailed for robbing Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta of their high-value watches in a knifepoint raid at their home.

Intruders wearing balaclavas broke into their home in Ongar, Essex at about 2.30am on November 27, 2021 and threatened to stab the athlete, a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

They took items including two Richard Mille watches with a combined value of £700,000.

Romario Henry, 31, of Bell Green, Lewisham, south-east London, denied two counts of robbery but was found guilty following a trial and sentenced on Tuesday to 15 years in prison.

Ali Sesay, 28, of Holding Street, Rainham, Kent, admitted two counts of robbery and was jailed for 12 years.

“This was serious organised crime,” Judge David Turner KC told the defendants as he sentenced them. “This was no run-of-the-mill domestic burglary by opportunist amateurs.

“This was planned, targeted, orchestrated, ruthless offending aimed at an internationally known sportsman and his wife who happened to be brand ambassadors for exceptionally valuable Richard Mille watches.”

The trial was told that Sesay’s DNA was found on Mrs Cavendish’s phone, which was taken and found outside the property.

The charges were that the accused men robbed Cavendish of a watch, phone and safe, and robbed his wife of a watch, phone and suitcase.

Mrs Cavendish, who like her husband was naked during the robbery, had told jurors she had heard a noise that woke her in the night and went downstairs to investigate.

She said she could see “men’s figures in balaclavas, and they were running towards the bottom of the stairs”, and that she believed there were “between three and five” people.

Court artist sketch of Peta Cavendish giving evidence, watched by Judge David Turner, at Chelmsford Crown Court

Court artist sketch of Peta Cavendish giving evidence, watched by Judge David Turner, at Chelmsford Crown Court

She told the court she ran back to the bedroom shouting “get back” or “get in” to her husband, who was unable to activate a panic alarm.

Mrs Cavendish said one of the intruders “dragged” Cavendish “from his feet and started punching him”.

One had her husband in a headlock, she said, adding: “One of them held a large black knife to his throat and they said ‘where’s the watches?’ and ‘do you want me to stab you?”‘. She agreed with a suggestion that it was a Rambo-style knife.

Mrs Cavendish said that at the time her husband had been “out of hospital for four days, maybe” after a cycling crash which left him with three broken ribs and a tear to his left lung.

She said that when she went downstairs after the intruders had left, she saw that a patio door was smashed, and Cavendish cut his feet on the broken glass.

Edward Renvoize, prosecuting, said Henry had a previous conviction for supplying drugs in 2012, and for perverting the course of justice in 2013 by “assisting in burning out a vehicle that had been used in a murder as part of a gang enterprise”.

Archangelo Power, for Henry, said the defendant’s brother had been murdered three and a half months before the robbery and that had a “significant bearing on the psychological make-up of the defendant”. Mr Power said Henry had been “on the verge of committing suicide”.

Mark Cavendish and his wife had high-value watches stolen in the robbery

Mark Cavendish and his wife had high-value watches stolen in the robbery

Mr Renvoize said that Sesay had admitted at an earlier hearing to six unrelated firearms offences over the possession of two guns and ammunition, when he had been prohibited by a previous sentence from possessing such items.

The prosecutor said Sesay was arrested at an address in Thornton Heath, south London, on December 16 2021 and officers “had to use a chainsaw to gain access” and saw items, later found to be firearms, being thrown from a window to a neighbouring garden.

The judge jailed Sesay for eight years for the firearms offences, consecutive to the 12-year prison sentence for the robbery, making a total of 20 years. The judge said Sesay had previous convictions including for supply of cocaine and heroin in 2017.

Graeme Molloy, for Sesay, said the defendant was “truly sorry for his role” in the robbery and had admitted his involvement.

Speaking about the firearms offences, Mr Molloy said Sesay claimed the guns were not his but that he had thrown them from the window. Mr Molloy said the guns “were loaded but the cartridge wasn’t in the firing chamber”.

Jurors were told that two other men, Jo Jobson, from Plaistow, east London, and George Goddard, from Loughton in Essex, have been named as suspects in the robbery but have not been apprehended. Jobson was 25 and Goddard 26 at the time of a police appeal last March.

Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, of Flaxman Road, Camberwell, south London, denied two counts of robbery and was cleared by jurors after a trial.





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Eagles’ Nick Sirianni asked if Super Bowl is a ‘must win’ game

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Gotta be a gag, right?

Gotta be a gag, right?
Image: Getty Images

In the Eagles’ Nick Sirianni’s first Super Bowl as a head coach, he experienced one of the true jewels of Super Bowl week: Being asked one of the most ridiculous questions that he will ever hear.

One of the best things that the NFL does is credential almost any and everybody for the artist formerly known as Super Bowl Media Day. Of course no dollar can be left on the table, so since 2016 it has been a Monday primetime event known as Super Bowl Opening Night.

Fortunately, even though the day and name has changed, the spirit of the event remains the same. Some head-shaking questions are asked out of ignorance. Others are from someone trying to be the class clown in a large group.

There has been no Opening Night for the previous two Super Bowls due to the pandemic. The evening was back in full effect on Monday night, and somebody came out swinging. From somewhere in the scrum of people on the floor at the Footprint Center, someone asked the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles if the Super Bowl was a must-win game.

Someone asked what?

The championship game. The final game of the season. The highest rated broadcast on the American television calendar. The game that Rihanna has decided to take her jersey down from rafters and — while worth a billion dollars and also a new mom — spend time rehearsing to perform at.

Sirianni was able to keep a straight face and quickly move past might either the most asinine or possibly the most hilarious question that will be asked all evening

If the person who asked this is mocking the event, then by all means continue. Ask Jalen Hurts if he is happy that the Eagles won the NFC. Maybe ask Travis Kelce if he knows how to spell his last name. Or even better, ask Patrick Mahomes if State Farm truly is the best choice for car insurance.

Either make an artistic display with silly questions, or be escorted out by security. If you’re going to waste peoples’ time at least do it with a sense of humor.



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Chelsea FC: Brilliant Badiashile leading way for new signings as Thiago Silva partnership blossoms

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C

helsea have not conceded a goal in the first 270 minutes that Benoit Badiashile has been on the pitch since his £35million move from Monaco.

His promising early form at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hope, hint at better times to come through their new signings.

The arrival of French centre-back Badiashile at the start of last month kick-started a record January spending spree of more than £300m.

After Chelsea were sent spiralling into crisis with defeats by Manchester City and Fulham, Badiashile made his debut in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

After the Blues claimed a further two clean sheets in 0-0 draws away at Liverpool and at home to Fulham, he is building an impressive partnership with Thiago Silva.

Impressive start: Benoit Badiashile has formed a promising partnership with Thiago Silva

/ Getty Images

Badiashile was one of five new signings to feature in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham. He started alongside £106.8m Enzo Fernandez, who started well but faded over 90 minutes, £89.5m Mykhailo Mudryk, who struggled over 45 minutes while carrying a cold, and £30m Noni Madueke, who was bright after being brought on at half-time.

“What a waste of money” was the regular chant from the Fulham fans in the away end.

That felt harsh in Badiashile’s case. With his size and speed, he looks like a perfect partner for 38-year-old veteran Silva.

In addition, he showed the ability to play brilliantly out of Fulham’s well-drilled press and he coped in his duels against Aleksandar Mitrovic.

There is still adaption to be done, as Graham Potter barked instructions about his positioning in relation to Silva.

However, using French to communicate with the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, Badiashile has helped steady the ship in the absence of the injured Wesley Fofana, and with Kalidou Koulibaly out of form.

While still only averaging just 1.05 goals per game in the Premier League, Chelsea will draw more than they win unless their new midfielders and forwards step up.

Arriving in the weeks after Badiashile, the likes of Fernandez, Joao Felix, Mudryk and Madueke have not had as much time to adapt to their surroundings.

With Chelsea still in 10th place and increasingly falling behind in the race to qualify for Europe, they must follow Badiashile’s lead and hit the ground running before time runs out.



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