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Mastrodonato: Amidst a stalling lockout, MLB’s refusal to discuss service time is unsettling



Mastrodonato: Amidst a stalling lockout, MLB’s refusal to discuss service time is unsettling

If Mookie Betts would’ve hit free agency one year earlier, the Red Sox would’ve found themselves in quite the pickle.

They had just won a World Series in 2018, when Betts had a 30-30 season with a .346 average and won the Gold Glove in right field. He would’ve been entering 2019 with one year remaining of team control and the Red Sox would’ve had little choice but to lock up their superstar for the long haul.

They’re certainly not going to trade the American League MVP shortly after a duck boat parade.

Why are we doing this exercise and cutting Betts’ service time clock by one year? Because MLB finally produced an offer to the MLBPA this week, marking the first time the two sides talked about the core economics during the lockout. And according to multiple reports, most notably ESPN and The Athletic, MLB’s proposal included a lot of minor changes, but the owners are refusing to adapt in regards to the years it takes young players to reach free agency for the first time.

It’s an important issue for them, with The Athletic reporting the players “haven’t shown a willingness to drop those requests,” despite the league’s refusal to negotiate.

Why would MLB want to change it? They have it easy when it comes to service time.

The first three-plus seasons of a players’ career are spent making the league minimum salary or close to it, since the players have no power. The team then has control for an additional three years with salaries determined by arbitration, which is based on comparing their statistics to those of similar players in the past.

By the time most players reach free agency after six-plus seasons, they’ve often exited their prime years or already spent a few of them playing for less than market value.

One could argue this actually hurts the teams, who then have to commit long-term contracts to top players in their late-20s that extend into their late-30s.

Rookie contracts in the NFL last just four years, in the NHL just three years (or less, depending on age) and in the NBA just two years (with team options for two more years).

Here’s what MLB is reportedly working on with regards to service time: a system that would award teams in draft pick compensation if they promote prospects to the majors at the beginning of the season and if that player wins the Rookie of the Year, or finishes in the top-three of MVP or Cy Young voting in the next three seasons.

It sounds great at first, given teams often keep their best prospects in the minors as long as possible to manipulate their service time; if they call up a player in June instead of in April, they’ll get an extra year of team control.

But the new system would have holes.

Look at Betts, for example. Would the Red Sox have called him up in the middle of the 2014 season if they could’ve waited until 2015, then let him start the year on the Opening Day roster, finish top-three in MVP voting the very next year and been awarded a first-round draft pick?

Of course not. Betts would’ve almost certainly never seen the field in 2014. And what good is that doing for baseball?

But it also hurts the average players who make little money in their prime, then are easily replaced by younger players who aren’t much worse and can be paid minimum salary for years, starting the cycle all over again.

There are several Red Sox players who had solid careers, but never got paid because of service time issues. Brandon Workman comes to mind, as he put up one of the best seasons by any MLB reliever in 2019, but wasn’t set to hit free agency for another year. The Sox traded him for Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold and watched him burn out in Philadelphia just before free agency. He signed for pennies with the Cubs the following year and was eventually released.

Daniel Nava is another one who comes to mind. He had parts of five seasons with the Sox, never making more than $1.85 million, before he was waived as a 32-year-old in 2015. He bounced around for a bit, but never signed a lucrative deal before retiring.

Cutting one year of service time off team control could lead to a lot of interesting scenarios.

It could force teams to make decisions on star young players one year sooner, perhaps driving more players to stay with the team they were developed with throughout their career, a connective part of the sport that is nearing extinction.

It could give the average ballplayer a chance to sign a multi-year contract one year earlier.

It could spruce up free agency with younger players reaching the pool sooner, and give teams more flexibility on the back end of contracts.

And it might help save baseball’s middle class, which is being squeezed out by teams who want to stockpile young players, run them into the ground until they cost money/suffer career-altering injuries and then replace them with new ones.

It’s too bad MLB doesn’t want to discuss it.


Search for Supreme Court leaker falls to former Army colonel



Search for Supreme Court leaker falls to former Army colonel


WASHINGTON (AP) — When Gail Curley began her job as Marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court less than a year ago, she would have expected to work mostly behind the scenes: overseeing the court’s police force and the operations of the marble-columned building where the justices work.

Her most public role was supposed to be in the courtroom, where the Marshal bangs a gavel and announces the entrance of the court’s nine justices. Her brief script includes “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” — meaning “hear ye” — and concludes, “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.”

Earlier this month, however, Curley was handed a bombshell of an assignment, overseeing an unprecedented breach of Supreme Court secrecy, the leak of a draft opinion and apparent votes in a major abortion case. Leaks to Politico suggest that the court seems ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that women have a constitutional right to abortion. That has sparked protests and round-the-clock security at justices’ homes,demonstrations at the court and concerns about violence following the court’s ultimate decision.

People who know Curley, 53, described the former Army colonel and military lawyer as possessing the right temperament for a highly charged leak investigation: smart, private, apolitical and unlikely to be intimidated.

“I’m confident that if the truth can be found out here, she’ll find it out and present it in an unbiased manner,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Patrick Huston, her direct supervisor at the Pentagon in her last military job before the Supreme Court. Huston said he was incredibly impressed by Curley and that she had a tremendous reputation as a leader, but even as her boss of two years he didn’t know if she had a spouse or children.

Through a court spokeswoman, Curley declined an interview request. She is the court’s 11th Marshal and the second woman to hold the post. She is also in some ways constrained in her investigation by her position, which was created just after the Civil War, in 1867. Experts say leaking the draft opinion likely wasn’t a crime, and Curley’s investigative tools are limited. She could theoretically hire an outside law firm to assist, and in other judicial records cases the FBI has been called in. But it isn’t clear if she or others have the power to issue subpoenas to get material from journalists or the fewer than 100 people in the court — including justices — with access to a draft opinion.

The investigation doesn’t appear to have any real precedent. In 1973 the outcome in the Roe case leaked several hours ahead of its announcement. The chief justice at the time was furious and threatened lie detector tests, but the leaker quickly came forward and explained it had been an accident.

Even if the circumstances are different, overseeing an investigation isn’t new to Curley. In her military career she routinely oversaw a dozen or more criminal and administrative investigations and supervised large numbers of attorneys and paralegals, Huston said. She was an authority on international law and laws surrounding armed conflict, but the investigations she oversaw throughout her career could range broadly, from criminal matters involving service members to contract issues. Huston described her as “not the sort of person who would ever be intimidated by anything.”

Curley began her military career at West Point, where just under 10% of her 1991 graduating class was women. Lisa Freidel, a member of the same 25-member company as Curley, remembered her as kind and studious but also a “pretty serious person.”

“She didn’t like the tomfoolery of some of the boys, some of the guys, in our company. They were young men. They do stupid stuff. She did not like that,” Freidel remembered, adding Curley “wanted to be surrounded with intellectuals, people that were smart to challenge her.”

Curley was dubbed “Swirlin’ Curl” in West Point’s yearbook, which listed her hometown as Baltimore. She was something of an introvert, Freidel said, adding that she never met Curley’s parents, just an aunt and uncle, and couldn’t remember her talking about siblings.

In school, Curley was interested in American politics and government, an interest that coincided with one West Point requirement: being knowledgeable about current affairs. The New York Times was delivered every morning and cadets were supposed to be able to talk about four articles in the paper every day, Freidel remembered.

“You had to make sure your shoes were shined, your belt buckles were all shined and everything before formation and try to memorize the paper,” she said.

Still, Curley found time for extracurricular activities. A domestic affairs club she was a member of took a trip her senior year to Washington that included a meeting with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. “See you in the White House someday!” her yearbook entry reads.

After graduating, she joined the Army’s Signal Corps, which is responsible for setting up communication systems in the field.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my career,” Curley said of that time according to a 2017 news article. “As a young Army signal officer I was able to lead a large platoon in Europe during my first assignment … that was at a time when women were not allowed to serve as platoon leaders in certain jobs.”

She eventually went on to earn a law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and become an Army lawyer. Her career took her around the United States but also to Afghanistan for a year. Later, she spent three years in Germany as the chief legal adviser to the commander of U.S. Army Europe, first Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who is now retired, and then Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli. Cavoli, now a four-star general, was nominated earlier this month to serve as the Supreme Allied Commander for NATO.

In Germany, Curley was the senior Army attorney overseeing some 300 legal officials throughout Europe. She also provided “legal review and advice on the millions of things we were doing,” Hodges said in an interview.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever met anybody more with more integrity,” Hodges said, adding that Curley also had a sense of humor and “a real dose of humility.”

The three-star general said because he liked and respected her so much, he would sometimes tease her. She had no problem holding her own, he said.

“She had the confidence of knowing that her IQ was about 40 points higher than mine,” he said. “And so she could afford to be self-confident.”


AP reporter Ben Fox in Washington and AP researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.

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Best Buy lowers outlook as Q1 results show inflation’s bite



Best Buy lowers outlook as Q1 results show inflation’s bite


NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy Co. posted first-quarter results that showed shoppers pulled back on spending, while higher costs ate into profits.

The nation’s largest consumer electronics chain also cut its annual outlook, noting a deteriorating macro economic environment.

Best Buy was among a handful of big winners in the pandemic, as shoppers splurged on tech equipment like laptops to create home offices to help them with remote work or cater to the needs of their children for virtual learning. But like many retailers, Best Buy is struggling with rising costs for everything from labor to shipping. The electronics chain also had to navigate global chip shortages. Another round of COVID-19 lockdowns in China is only worsening the problem. And soaring fuel costs and the return of promotions are hurting the bottom line.

Meanwhile, Best Buy, like other retailers, is also adjusting to changing shopping behavior. Demand for electronics is cooling as consumers go back to the office and resume normal lives. Inflation is also making shoppers scrutinize their purchases. In particular, CEO Corie Barry told reporters on a call Tuesday that purchases by lower-income shoppers, who were new Best Buy customers during the pandemic, have recently fallen off.

Best Buy follows other major retailers like Walmart and Target in reporting that inflation has taken a bite out of earnings. The other big discounters also reported shifts in spending. Target said that it didn’t anticipate a lightening quick return by consumers to more normalized spending. Purchases of big TVs and appliances that Americans loaded up on during the pandemic have faded, leaving Target with a bloated inventory that must be marked down to sell.

Barry said she expected this year’s results to be weaker than last year as it lapped stimulus payments and other government support and planned for higher costs in its supply chain. But she noted macro economic conditions worsened since it provided its financial outlook in early March, which resulted in its sales being slightly lower than its expectations.

“Sustained high levels of inflation is having an impact broadly again on the consumer, who we feel is pulling back at a faster, deeper pace than we initially assumed,” Barry said.

Barry said Best Buy has a healthy inventory of products, though she noted there are still some isolated areas where there is a shortfall.

Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said given the multitude of challenges, Best Buy fared reasonably well. It noted that while Best Buy has suffered from out-of-stocks because of supply issues, it still has better availability than others because of its size and its strong relationship with vendors. That has helped it retain customers and spending, he noted.

Still, Saunders said he’s worried about the consumer psyche.

“Electronics are highly discretionary, big-ticket items,” he said. ”This puts them directly in the firing line of households looking to trim expenditure.” He also noted that the general demand for electronics is also taking a hit from society returning to normality.

“People are home less, many have returned to the office and classroom, and leisure activities such as attending sports events and movies has risen,” he added.

Best Buy, based in Richfield, Minnesota, reported fiscal first-quarter net income of $341 million, or $1.49 per share. Earnings, adjusted for amortization costs and restructuring costs, came to $1.57 per share.

The results fell short of Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.59 per share.

But consumer electronics retailer posted revenue of $10.65 billion in the period, down 8.5% from the year-ago period. But revenue still topped topped analysts’ forecasts. Nine analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $10.43 billion.

The company saw comparable sales decline across almost all categories, with the largest drivers being computing and home theater. The metric, a key measure of a retailer’s health, measures sales in stores open at least a year.

Domestic online revenue was down 4.9% on a comparable basis, and as a percentage of total domestic revenue, online revenue was 30.9% versus 33.2% last year.

Best Buy expects full-year earnings in the range of $8.40 to $9 per share, with revenue in the range of $48.3 billion to $49.9 billion. Previously, it expected per-share results of $8.85 to $9.15 and revenue of $49.3 billion to $50.8 billion

Analysts expected $8.88 per share on $50.17 billion for the year.

Best Buy shares have declined 29% since the beginning of the year, while the S&P’s 500 index has fallen 17%. The stock has decreased 37% in the last 12 months.

Shares rose about 1.4% to $73.62 in morning trading.


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FBI Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 22: May 24 Release, Time And Plot Speculations



FBI Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 22: May 24 Release, Time And Plot Speculations

FBI Most Wanted is a famous American detective drama television program that premiered on January 7, 2020. René Balcer conceived this tv show, which has been produced by Wolf Entertainment. After only a few episodes, the sitcom became so popular that it was renewed for a second season.

CBS extended the sitcom for season 3 in March 2021, which will be broadcast on September 21, 2021. The majority of the episodes of FBI Most Wanted Season 3 have already aired. The viewers are amazed by this program and are desperate to learn when the next episode, FBI Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 22, will be released. If you are also waiting then, you’ve come to the perfect spot. On this page, we have updated all of the information regarding FBI Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 22.

What is the Story About?

“The plot primarily revolves around the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force, a small and unorthodox squad designed to track down and apprehend infamous individuals on the Bureau’s Most Wanted List.” The research team is led by Supervisory Special Agent Jess LaCroix, who is also a crime analyst and adept stalker. Special Investigator Sheryl Barnes, a former investigator with a background in behavioral science and the group’s second in leadership, is an Army veteran, and a technology genius. Other group members include the squad’s intelligence specialist, Special Agent Clinton Skye, a highly skilled sharpshooter with a law background and one of LaCroix’s most accomplished operatives, and his brother-in-law.”

When will FBI Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 22 Be Released? And What is its Plot Speculation

The next episode is called “A Man Without a Country.” The episode would premiere on CBS on May 24, 2022, at 10 p.m. ET. It is also available to watch online. The show portrays the crew as they pursue an oligarch who embarks on a horror rampage to leave an untenable position.

Where to watch FBI Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 22?

1653406962 916 FBI Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 22 May 24 Release

The upcoming episode of FBI: Most Wanted Season 3 would run on CBS the following Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. ET. Paramount+ allows you to view episodes streaming. You may also follow the series live on CBS’s online site. FBI: MW season 3 episodes premiere once a week on the channel and digitally.

There is also a plethora of different viewing and VOD services where you may enjoy the series digitally. Season 3 is now available for viewing on Paramount Plus, Spectrum On-Demand, Paramount+ Amazon Channel, and Pluto TV for free with advertisements. Season 3 are also available on Apple iTunes, Microsoft Store, Vudu, Amazon Video, and Google Play Movies.

Recap of FBI Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 21

In the FBI: Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 21, the teacher told her customer about the school. Along with this, she cleared up the financial difficulties building following an in-home yoga lesson. The teacher granted a loan by his wife. On that day, the pair arrived at the instructor’s house and demanded the funds refunded. The instructor returned the payment and inquired as to why her spouse mentioned a school from her background. Then she brutally slaughtered them!

The post FBI Most Wanted Season 3 Episode 22: May 24 Release, Time And Plot Speculations appeared first on Gizmo Story.

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