A Sign of the Times?


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The now-closed Orioles Team Store at the York Galleria, York, Pennsylvania

Ok, so this happened several months ago, but I was sad to learn that the Baltimore Orioles “official team store” in York, PA, has closed. The photo to the left is emblematic of the Orioles’ performance this year: very, very pitiful.

Back in the ’90s, the O’s had retail stores in Washington, DC; Seabrook, MD; and York, PA. Fans could go there to get team merch, meet players, and do last-minute holiday shopping. I got Mike Devereaux‘s autograph at the Seabrook store and often went to the DC store to buy tickets – where they didn’t add on any ticket fees. It was awesome having those stores in convenient places. The great thing about the store in York was that you could still get traded-away player’s jerseys there and other cool stuff that you might not notice if shopping on-line or in the always crowded stadium store.

Is this just another victim of the retail apocalypse or a symptom of the Orioles’ lackluster season? (Or, perhaps, karma for trading away Manny?)

By comparison, several teams have still official team stores at other locations than just inside the stadium: the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies (they have five!), and San Francisco Giants. Even the Miami Marlins have an official team shop at the airport! And let’s not forget the not-even-playing-yet minor league Rocket City Trash Pandas have their own store at a shopping center in in Huntsville, Alabama.

Over the years as I’ve traveled, I’ve stumbled upon official team stores in New York, Seattle, and Cleveland, and it was kind of thrilling to be in the team’s “official” shop. (And I didn’t even like the Yankees back then.) Sure, there are sports shops near a lot of stadiums and we can find team gear at places like Target, Wal-Mart, and even Macy’s. Amazon.com and the official MLB on-line stores are always there ready to serve. Some teams keep their stadium stores open year-round, which is also kind of nice. But there’s nothing like wandering around a city during the off-season and finding the local team’s store ready and waiting for you. They provide comfort during the long off-season and remind us that our beloved baseball will return once again.

Next time I’m in Miami, I’m going to that store in the airport.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

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DL to IL


Image result for disabled list wikiYou may have noted that earlier this week I referred to the “DL” or “disabled list” instead of the “IL” or “injured list.” I’ve found it particularly hard to make this change. Not only because the term is older than me, but in my mind “IL” stands for the International League. Needless to say, I’ve been struggling with this issue for months. One question I have is, how do we refer to pre-2019 instances of a player being on the “DL”? Do we change our language and use “IL,” even if that was not the term used prior to 2019? Also, what effect does this have on the concept of “temporary disability”? – which may or may not be a legal concept, depending on who you ask.

As most people know, MLB changed the name of the disabled list to the injured list for this season. An article on Boston.com noted that the term “disabled list” was first used by The New York Times in 1887. The length of time the list covered has changed over the years. For example, a 10-day disabled list was added in 1966, removed in 1984, but restored in 2017. The 60-day DL was added in 1990, replacing the 21- and 30-day lists. Right now, we have the 7-day IL (for concussions only), the 10-day DL, and the 60-day DL, though in in 2020, the 15-day injured list will return, replacing the current 10-day IL. Players can also be considered “day-to-day,” if their injury or illness is not severe.

According to ESPN.com, the name change was made at the suggestion of advocacy groups for the disabled, including the Link 20 Network.” The Boston.com article seems to imply that the name was proposed solely by the Link20 Network, noting that “Link20, a group of young activists sponsored by the Ruderman foundation, sent a letter to MLB in November raising the issue.” According to the article, the letter stated: “’Using the term ‘disabled list’ for players who are injured reinforces the belief that people with disabilities are injured and therefore are not able to participate or compete in any sports.’” The Los Angeles Times noted that this change was also in keeping with other professional sports leagues that uses terms like “injured reserve.”

I’m all for being inclusive and ensuring disability rights, and I agree that an injury is not the same as a disability. However, injuries can lead to disabilities, and even temporary “disabilities” can be severe enough to impact one’s “major life activities” (see below). Thus, I wonder if this name change was necessary. (I also wonder how other disability rights organizations feel about this issue. If this change was made primarily at the suggestion of one organization, it would have been helpful for MLB to have some additional information, rather than being influenced by just one side of the story (assuming there are other sides)). One argument is that it is important to not conflate injuries with disabilities. But isn’t it also important to highlight that fact that disabilities can happen to anyone? Not being an individual with a disability or an expert on the issue, I don’t have an answer for any of these things I’ve been wondering.

Image result for EEOCThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notes that in 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act was amended to expand the definition of disability “in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA…” In other words, the American with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA) sought to make it easier for individuals to seek protection under the law by allowing the term “disability” to be interpreted more broadly that it had been by the courts. Thus, for legal purposes, the ADAAA defines disability as:

  • a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (sometimes referred to in the regulations as an “actual disability”), or
  • a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limited a major life activity (a “record of” having a disability), or
  • when a covered entity takes an action prohibited by the ADA because of an actual or perceived impairment that is not both transitory and minor (“regarded as” having a disability).

While the law did not specifically discuss if or how temporary disabilities were covered, in 2014, the Fourth Circuit held that the ADAAA did, in fact, cover persons with temporary disabilities that are “severe.” While the issue may be far from decided, it leaves open the possibility that the types of injuries that substantially limit baseball players from performing their jobs may legally be considered “disabilities” even if they are temporary.

Ultimately, I’m happy to adopt whichever terminology is preferred by and most respectful of the disability community. I just want to be sure that the entire disability community has been consulted.

The larger issue here is that MLB keeps making changes, but it is unclear where these changes are coming from. Are they considering all sides in their decision-making? Or are they only listening to part of the story? Perhaps they are doing their due diligence, but it is not transparent to the fans.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

A Fall Escape


img_2436I woke up around 4 am yesterday. It was dark, it was cold, and it was way too early to be awake. Nonetheless, I boarded a plane in Baltimore a few hours later. After everyone found their seats and stored their carry-ons, the plane was de-iced and we took off. Five hours later, after a nice nap, we landed in Phoenix, Arizona, where it was a wonderful 85 degrees. The blue sky was gorgeous – it was going to be a great day to be outside.

So, I made my way to the Peoria Sports Complex where I joined a handful of other folks at a baseball game between the Peoria Javelinas and the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League. For those of us whose favorite teams aren’t in the World Series, the Arizona Fall League is a nice distraction. Although the Fall Stars Game has been televised the past few years, the rest of the games are not, though you can follow online. So when I had the chance to go to Arizona, I couldn’t refuse.

img_2457The sun was out, but there was a nice breeze. Seating was open, so I sat in the sun along the third base side for the beginning of the game (I moved to the shadier first base side in the 3rd inning). The visiting Desert Dogs were up first, with three of my Bowie Baysox in the lineup. The Javelinas were the first to score in the bottom of the ninth, but the Desert Dogs came back in the top of the 2nd with three runs. By the 8th inning, the Dogs had 6 runs, including a 2-run home run by Cleveland’s Yu Chang in the top of the 5th. In the bottom of the 8th, the Javelinas scored another run on a home run by Seattle’s Ian Miller.

After a mere 2 hours and 11 minutes, the blissful afternoon ended all too soon as the final out was recorded. The final score was Desert Dogs 6, Javelinas 2. My team had won, and my spirit had been renewed.

If you ever need a fall escape, the Arizona Fall League is the place to be. I highly, highly recommend it.

~ baseballrebecca

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A Week Without Baseball: Postscript


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Tower at Heathrow Airport (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Last week I recounted my agony over being without baseball for an entire week while on vacation in Europe. Its really hard to find anything baseball-related in London, Malaga, or Paris (aside from the random person wearing a Yankees cap no matter where you go). After a week of longing for my teams, we spent one last night in London before our return flight home.  We arrived at the Heathrow Airport Hilton, checked in, and immediately turned on the TV. And to my great surprise and delight, there was a baseball game!

I figured they were just playing the game because MLB had just announced that day that they would be playing a game in London in 2019. Nonetheless, I imprinted the name of the TV channel on my brain in case I ever had occasion to be in London during baseball season again. It turns out that BT Sport-ESPN is an all-sports TV channel airing in the United Kingdom and Ireland – and it focuses on North American sports. It had been operated by ESPN from 2009 to 2013. In 2013, England’s BT Group acquired ESPN’s UK and Ireland TV business. In 2015, the channel was renamed BTS-ESPN.

Satellite_dish_1_C-BandThe important thing here is that baseball games are televised in the United Kingdom. This is good news for those of us who find themselves in the UK during baseball season. BT has several other sports channels as well and, in fact, BTS 1 is showing the Astros-Yankees game tonight. Or tomorrow morning. Sometime soon? Yesterday? I’m not sure about the whole time difference thing…

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

This is Where the Twins Play


I love it when you see the local team represented immediately upon arriving at a new location. Recently, I had a layover in Minneapolis. As I stepped off the airplane into the walkway, the first thing I saw was a Delta ad stating they were the official airline of the Minnesota Twins. 

Then I found this cool restaurant in the airport: 

I love a town that loves its baseball team!

~ baseballrebecca