Give This Baseball Pitcher Who Pulled Off the Matrix Move a Trophy Immediately

Talk about bending over backwards.

During Tuesday night’s game between the Astros and the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif., some kind of miracle — or a moment from the film The Matrix — seemed to happen. The A’s first baseman Kendrys Morales hit a line drive right at pitcher Collin McHugh’s head. But, by the force of magic, witchcraft or an angel, McHugh evaded the ball.

With the ball coming towards McHugh with that kind of velocity, the slow-motion video of the moment is breathtaking. McHugh slid his body backwards as the ball sliced between his mitt and his face. It was far too close for comfort, but somehow, it didn’t touch him.

Astros home plate umpire, Chris Guccione, reportedly told the pitcher he simply had to watch the video immediately. “‘You’ve got to watch it. It went right here.’ So we both turned around and watched the big screen,” McHugh said after the game, according to NBC Sports. “He was like, ‘Dude, I don’t know how you did that.’ I don’t either. Kind of lucky, I think.”

Sports – TIME

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Trump Administration Ends Deal Allowing Cuban Baseball Players to Directly Sign With MLB

HAVANA (AP) — The Trump administration is moving to end a deal allowing Cuban baseball players to sign contracts directly with Major League Baseball organizations. The change will once again require Cuban players to cut ties with their national program before signing with MLB.

The Treasury Department told MLB attorneys in a letter Friday that it was reversing an Obama administration decision allowing the major leagues to pay the Cuban Baseball Federation a release fee equal to 25% of each Cuban player’s signing bonus. The decision made public Monday afternoon appears to make the MLB-Cuba deal unworkable by eliminating the payment mechanism, similar to one MLB has with leagues in China, Korea and Japan.

“The U.S. does not support actions that would institutionalize a system by which a Cuban government entity garnishes the wages of hard-working athletes who simply seek to live and compete in a free society,” National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said. “The administration looks forward to working with MLB to identify ways for Cuban players to have the individual freedom to benefit from their talents, and not as property of the Cuban state.”

The MLB and Cuba engaged in intense negotiations on a player-transfer deal through the Obama administration’s two-year effort to normalize relations with Cuba but the deal was only finalized after Donald Trump took office pledging to roll back Obama’s policy. Opponents of normalization inside and outside the administration argued for its cancellation as soon as it was announced, and appear to have now succeeded.

U.S. law prohibits virtually all payments to the Cuban government under the 60-year embargo on the island but MLB argued the Cuban Baseball Federation, which oversees all aspects of the sport on the island, was not formally a part of the Cuban state.

Opponents called that argument ridiculous given the tight control the highly regimented government maintains over virtually every aspect of life in Cuba.

The letter from the Office of Foreign Assets Control obtained by The Associated Press agrees, saying that “in light of facts recently brought to our attention, and after consultation with the U.S. Department of State, OFAC has determined that MLB’s payments to the Cuban Baseball Federation are not authorized.”

“We stand by the goal of the agreement, which is to end the human trafficking of baseball players from Cuba,” an MLB statement said.

Without a formal path from Cuba to the major leagues, hundreds of top players have left the island for good, many making harrowing crossings on rafts and rickety boats in the years before Cuba abandoned a hated exit permit requirement for most of its citizens.

While such dangerous escapes were mostly eliminated with greater travel freedoms, players still needed to cut ties with Cuban baseball and often their families and hometowns, going years without returning after signing with the major leagues.

“The deal with Major League Baseball is an attempt to stop human trafficking, encourage cooperation and elevate the level of baseball,” the Cuban Baseball Federation said on Twitter. “The politically motivated attacks on the deal hurt players, their families, and fans.”

Last week the Cuban federation released its first group of players able to sign contracts directly with Major League Baseball organizations, and some expected to be playing in the United States this year.

The 34 players were 17 to 25, classified as international amateurs under MLB rules and eligible to sign minor league contracts. No likely stars were apparent on the list, but more notable players included 22-year-old Raidel Martinez Perez and 23-year-old Liván Moinelo Pita, who have played professionally in Japan; 17-year-old infielder Loidel Chapellí Zulueta; and 18-year-old pitcher Norge Carlos Vera Aldana.

The Cuban federation also agreed to release all players 25 and older with at least six years of professional experience to be classified as international professionals under MLB’s labor contract with the players’ association and not subject to international amateur signing bonus pools.

___

Associated Press Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

Sports – TIME

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Are Baseball Umpires Wrong As Often As Fans Think They Are? Yes, One Study Says

Baseball is back, and fans can anticipate another season of amazing catches, overpowering pitching, tape-measure home runs – and, yes, controversial calls that lead to blow-ups between umpires and players.

Home plate umpires are at the heart of baseball; every single pitch can require a judgment call. Yet ask any fan or player, and they’ll tell you that many of these calls are incorrect – errors that can affect strategy, statistics and even game outcomes.

Just how many mistakes are made?

Comprehensive umpire performance statistics are not readily known, tracked or made available. Major League Baseball doesn’t seem interested in sharing the historical data.

Could it be because the numbers aren’t flattering?

Luckily, every MLB pitch is tracked and made available – numbers then have to be accessed, downloaded, sorted and evaluated. This takes time and computing power. In a new study with support from a team of Boston University graduate students, we closely analyzed how many balls get called strikes and vice versa. The accuracy of all home plate umpires was ranked and age and experience taken into account.

While the human element of the game certainly adds color, our results show that it comes at a high cost: far too many mistakes.

Mining the data

All 30 Major League Baseball stadiums are outfitted with triangulated tracking cameras that follow baseballs from the pitcher’s hand until it crosses home plate. Ball location can be tracked up to 50 times during each pitch, and accuracy is said to have a margin of error of 1 inch. This information is used to evaluate players, but MLB doesn’t share the results in a way that allows fans to easily evaluate the performance of umpires.

We analyzed nearly 4 million pitches over the course of the last 11 regular seasons. This data, which had been collected by MLB-owned Statcast and Pitch f/x, was sorted, formatted and superimposed on a standard strike zone map.

Using this available technology, we measured ball and strike calls for accuracy. We then ranked the error rates for each active umpire, creating a “Bad Call Ratio.” The higher the ratio, the worse the umpire.

The findings were troubling.

Botched calls and high error rates are rampant. MLB home plate umpires make incorrect calls at least 20% of the time – one in every five calls. In the 2018 season, MLB umpires made 34,246 incorrect ball and strike calls for an average of 14 per game, or 1.6 per inning. Last season, 55 games – 2.2% of the total played – ended with an incorrect call.

When batters had two strikes, the error rate for all umpires increased – incorrect calls happen 29% of the time, almost double the error rate when the batter had one or no strikes.

We also found that the highest error rates did not come from younger, less experienced umpires; they came from the older, veteran umpires. The average MLB umpire is 46 years old, with 13 years of experience. But the top performers between 2008 and 2018 had an average age of 33 years old and had less than three years of experience at the big league level. Like professional baseball players, professional umpires seem to peak at a certain age.

Despite years of data-driven evidence, MLB has notoriously resisted retiring poorly performing umpires and hiring better-performing ones. The league remains top heavy with aging umpires, making it difficult for fresh new talent to make impact.

Umpires can still play a role

For all of the ways MLB has incorporated technology into the game – the radar gun, instant replay, pitch graphics, Doppler radar – the league has resisted deploying this technology to assist with calling balls and strikes.

Umpires continue to call balls and strikes like they did a century ago when Babe Ruth played.

I’m not proposing that baseball bring in robots and fire the umpires; baseball has too many one-off situations and complexities to assume a bot could replace an umpire. But MLB does have a unique opportunity to use existing technology and strengthen human-software collaboration so umpires can do a better job.

Umpires could easily be fitted with ear pieces connecting them to a control center that conveys real-time ball and strike information. These tech-assisted umpires could then make calls correctly, quickly and effortlessly. Time-honored and much beloved behind-the-plate signs, signals and sounds would still exist. And umpires could remain the final arbiter, having override ability under certain circumstances, such as if a ball hits the ground before crossing the plate or if a system outage occurs.

Strong recruiting, hiring and retention of superior performing umpires coupled with tech aids would reduce error rates and also help dampen biased pitch calling. Strike zone subjectivity would be minimized, allowing batters and pitchers to focus more on their craft and less on guessing a specific umpire’s strike zone quirks. It would also reduce conflict between teams and umpires. And imagine how much the player and fan experience would improve if more than 34,000 annual incorrect calls vanished.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

Sports – TIME

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Baseball game interrupted by eagle and osprey fighting over a fish

baseball eagle

Humans like to follow schedules like, for example, when a college baseball game is going to take place, but Mother Nature couldn’t possibly care less about our plans. In nature, things happen when they happen and there’s no getting around it.

So, when a bald eagle and an osprey decided to face off over a dead fish in the middle of a game at Jacksonville University’s John Sessions Stadium on Saturday, the players just had to kind of let things happen. Ultimately, neither bird ended up with the meal, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

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Baseball Player Manny Machado Just Signed Sports’ Biggest-Ever Contract for a Free Agent

(SAN DIEGO) — All-Star infielder Manny Machado has agreed to a $ 300 million, 10-year deal with the rebuilding San Diego Padres, the biggest contract ever for a free agent, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a successful physical and had not been announced. Machado can opt out after five years and become a free agent again, the person said.

Machado’s deal, if completed, would be the second-largest in baseball history behind Giancarlo Stanton’s $ 325 million, 13-year deal signed with the Miami Marlins ahead of the 2015 season. Among free agents it tops Alex Rodriguez’s $ 275 million, 10-year contract with the New York Yankees from 2008-17.

Records may be broken soon. Free agent outfielder Bryce Harper could top Stanton’s deal in coming days or weeks.

Speaking at spring training in Peoria, Arizona, Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said: “We do not have a deal with any free agent player. We are continuing discussions, and that’s all we have to say.”

Teams draw a distinction between an agreement subject to a physical and a finalized deal.

However, general partner Peter Seidler, without confirming the deal, said: “Ron and I, we love the city of San Diego, we love sports in San Diego, we’re also well aware of the history. There’s never been a championship … We as an organization, we want to completely change that. We want our franchise to win year after year after year. And we’re going to do whatever we can rationally do to make that happen.”

The Padres haven’t had a winning season since 2010 and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006. They haven’t won a playoff series since the 1998 NLCS against Atlanta.

And they’ve had the city’s big league sports scene to themselves since the NFL’s Chargers moved to the Los Angeles area two seasons ago.

The Padres have been rebuilding mostly with prospects and draft picks, although they are making a stunning move early in spring training for the second straight year after reaching a $ 144 million, seven-year contract last February with first baseman Eric Hosmer.

Machado is expected to fill the team’s gaping need at third base. He began last year with Baltimore, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers after the All-Star break and struck out to end the World Series loss to Boston.

With the 26-year-old Machado on board, the next big move for the Padres is expected to be the promotion of shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., the 20-year-old son of a former big leaguer and the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball.

A four-time All-Star, Machado hit .297 last year and set career bests with 37 homers and 107 RBIs. A four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, he has a .282 career average with 175 homers and 513 RBIs in seven big league seasons.

The Chicago White Sox were among the teams that pursued Machado.

“Still in a bit of disbelief. The one thing I can say — I just told Rick (general manager Han) this and I will tell Jerry (owner Reinsdorf) and our coaching staff and players — I feel we put our best foot forward. Jerry, in particular, really stepped up,” he said.

“If the acceptance of the offer that I’m seeing is true, then actually our offer had the opportunity for Manny to surpass that. But in the end we went after the guy and we didn’t get him. We’re disappointed but, hey, we are positioned . the reason why we were going after him in the first place is because we feel we are positioned to do some good things here going forward. We wanted to accelerate that to a large degree and that’s why we made the overture we did,” he said.

Machado also met with the Yankees, a team that had expressed concern over Machado’s remarks about hustling — not hustling, actually — during the playoffs.

After failing to run out a grounder in the NL Championship Series, Machado said: “Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’ and run down the line and slide to first base.”

Machado tried to clarify his remarks after the season, saying, “looking back, it doesn’t come across how I meant it.”

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner took notice of Machado’s initial comments, labeling them “troubling.”

“If we’re interested in any player, to sit down with them face to face and ask him, ‘Where did this come from? What was the context around the entire interview? Was there a point? How do you justify it?’” Steinbrenner said in November.

“Because that ain’t going to sell where we play baseball,” he said.

Sports – TIME

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This Baseball Team Wants to Rewrite ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ After Going Peanut-Free

A Connecticut minor league baseball team is banning peanuts and Cracker Jack from its stadium to protect fans with food allergies — and it’s even rewriting a classic ballpark song because of it.

As of the 2019 season, the Hartford Yard Goats will no longer sell peanut products at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, according to a team announcement. While other teams have hosted peanut-free nights or maintained peanut-free sections, team officials said they believe they are the first to implement a full ban.

The decision came after Kerry Adamowicz and other local parents approached team officials about their children’s food allergies. Adamowicz’ two-year-old son, Sam, has a life-threatening peanut allergy, and the new policy means he can grow up a baseball fan, she told NBC Connecticut.

“It’s a huge relief,” Adamowicz said. “It’s a really good feeling to come to the park and know that’s one stress that is taken away and we can breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy baseball.”

As many as 2.5% of U.S. children are allergic to peanuts, an increase of 21% since 2010, according to a recent estimate from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. A recent study also estimated that about 4.5 million adults are allergic to peanuts, and 3 million are allergic to tree nuts.

Yard Goats President Tim Restall told the Hartford Courant that helping kids and adults with peanut allergies to enjoy the game is more important than selling peanut products.

“The way we look at it, if we eliminate this one item to allow kids to enjoy a baseball game, that’s what it all comes down to,” Restall said. “Why prevent someone from catching a foul ball or getting a picture with [mascots] Chompers and Chew Chew because of a food item?”

And while General Manager Mike Abramson admitted to NBC Connecticut that the team would likely get “flak” for the decision, it’s taking it in stride.

The team is even sponsoring a contest to rewrite the “peanuts and Cracker Jack” lyric in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and the winning submission will be sung at the park this season, the Courant reports.

Sports – TIME

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Trailblazing Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson Dies at 83

Crowding the plate, fearsome and fearless, Frank Robinson hammered his way into the Hall of Fame.

His legacy, however, was cemented that day in 1975 when he simply stood in the dugout at old Cleveland Stadium — the first black manager in Major League Baseball.

Robinson, the only player to earn the MVP award in both leagues and a Triple Crown winner, died Thursday at 83. He had been in failing health and in hospice care at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. MLB said he was with family and friends at the time.

“Frank Robinson’s resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

Robinson hit 586 home runs — he was fourth on the career list behind only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays when he retired and now ranks 10th. An MVP with Cincinnati and Baltimore, he led the Orioles to their first World Series championship in 1966.

“Frank Robinson and I were more than baseball buddies. We were friends. Frank was a hard-nosed baseball player who did things on the field that people said could never be done,” Aaron posted on Twitter.

“Baseball will miss a tremendous human being,” he said.

An All-Star outfielder in 12 seasons and a first-ballot selection to Cooperstown, Robinson also was a Rookie of the Year, a Gold Glove outfielder and a bruising runner.

But his place in the sport’s history extended far beyond the batter’s box and basepaths.

Robinson fulfilled his quest to become the first African-American manager in the big leagues when he was hired by the Cleveland Indians. His impact was immediate and memorable.

The Indians opened at home that year and Robinson, still active, batted himself second as the designated hitter. In the first inning, he homered off Doc Medich and the crowd went crazy, cheering the whole April afternoon as Cleveland beat the Yankees.

The Reds, Orioles and Indians have retired his No. 20 and honored him with statues at their stadiums.

Robinson later managed San Francisco, Baltimore and Montreal. He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the franchise moved from Montreal for the 2005 season — the Nationals put him in their Ring of Honor.

More than half the major league teams have had black managers since his debut with Cleveland.

Robinson later spent several years working as an executive for MLB and for a time oversaw the annual Civil Rights Game. He advocated for more minorities throughout baseball and worked with former Commissioner Bud Selig to develop the Selig Rule, directing teams to interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a new manager.

For all he did on and off the field, Robinson was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2005.

Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre played against and worked with Robinson for years.

“He was a tough nut,” Torre recalled at the owners’ meetings in Orlando, Florida. “He never lost that feistiness, which puts a smile on your face … He was always that guy that commanded a lot of respect and he had a presence about him.”

Born Aug. 21, 1935, in Beaumont, Texas, Robinson attended McClymonds High School in Oakland, California, and was a basketball teammate of future NBA great Bill Russell. But it was on the diamond, rather than court, where fame awaited Robinson.

Former Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer, who also gained first-ballot entry into the Hall, once called Robinson, “the best player I ever saw.”

Starting out in an era when Mays, Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams were the big hitters, Robinson more than held his own over 21 seasons — if anything, many who watched Robinson felt he never got his full due as an all-time great. He finished with 1,812 RBIs and hit .294 — he played in the World Series five times, and homered in each of them.

Robinson was the only player to hit a ball completely out of old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and once connected for grand slams in consecutive innings of a game. But he didn’t just slug away, as evidenced by a .389 on-base average boosted by 1,420 walks against 1,532 strikeouts. Extremely alert on the bases, he had 204 steals.

Robinson played the game with grace, yet was known as fierce competitor who combined hard work with natural talent. He planted himself near the plate, yielding to no pitcher, and didn’t seem to care about being brushed back or getting hit by a pitch 198 times.

“Pitchers did me a favor when they knocked me down,” Robinson said. “It made me more determined. I wouldn’t let that pitcher get me out.”

And opposing pitchers noticed.

“Frank Robinson might have been the best I ever saw at turning his anger into runs. He challenged you physically as soon as he stepped into the batter’s box, with half his body hanging over the plate,” Hall ace Bob Gibson once wrote.

“As a rule, I’m reluctant to express admiration for hitters, but I make an exception for Frank Robinson,” Gibson wrote.

Robinson carried a similar philosophy as a baserunner, unapologetically sliding spikes high whenever necessary.

“The baselines belong to the runner, and whenever I was running the bases, I always slid hard,” Robinson declared.

Robinson broke in with a bang as a 20-year-old big leaguer. He tied the first-year record with 38 home runs for Cincinnati in 1956, scored a league-high 122 times and was voted NL Rookie of the Year.

Robinson was the 1961 NL MVP after batting .323 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs for the pennant-winning Reds, and reached career highs in runs (134) and RBIs (136) in 1962.

All-time hits leader Pete Rose joined the Reds the next year.

“He had a huge influence on me when I first came up in ’63,” Rose told The Associated Press by phone. “Frank was a really aggressive, hard-nosed player, and it rubbed off on everybody. Frank was the one who took me under his wings, so to speak. … Frank consistently talked to me about playing the game the right way,” he said.

Robinson was an All-Star, too, in 1965, but Reds owner Bill DeWitt decided Robinson was an old-ish 30 and time to make a move.

That December, Robinson was the centerpiece in what would ultimately be one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history, going to Baltimore for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson.

Robinson became an instant hit with the Orioles in 1966 as the unanimous AL MVP and a Triple Crown winner.

On May 8, he became the only player ever to hit a home run completely out of Baltimore’s home park, Memorial Stadium. The drive came against Cleveland ace Luis Tiant and the spot where the ball sailed over the left-field wall was marked by a flag that read “HERE” that remained in place until the Orioles left for Camden Yards in 1991.

Robinson batted .316 with 49 home runs and 122 RBIs during his first season in Birdland. He then homered in the first inning of the 1966 World Series opener at Dodger Stadium and capped off the four-game sweep of Los Angeles with another homer off Don Drysdale in a 1-0 win in Game 4.

Robinson hit two home runs against Rose and the Reds in teaming with future Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson to win another crown for the Orioles in 1970.

All told, Robinson was an All-Star in five of his six seasons with Baltimore, reaching the World Series four times and batting .300 with 179 home runs. The cap on his Cooperstown plaque carries on O’s logo.

Pappas went 30-29 over two-plus seasons with the Reds, Baldschun won one game in 51 appearances over two years with Cincinnati and Simpson hit five home runs as a part-time outfielder for the Reds during two mediocre seasons.

Robinson was traded to the Dodgers before the 1972 season. He played for the California Angels in 1973 and was dealt to Cleveland late in the 1974 season.

His managerial debut came 28 years after Jackie Robinson broke the MLB color barrier as a player.

“Every time I put on this uniform, I think of Jackie Robinson,” Frank Robinson said as he began his new role.

Robinson had coached for the Orioles and worked in their front office when he became their manager in 1988 after the team opened at 0-6. Things didn’t get much better right away as Baltimore went on to lose its first 21 games and finished 54-107. The next season, the O’s went 87-75 and Robinson was voted AL Manager of the Year.

Tough and demanding, he went 1,065-1,176 overall as a big league manager.

A no-nonsense guy, Robinson also had a sharp wit. That served him well in Baltimore where, in addition to being a star right fielder, he was the judge for the team’s Kangaroo Court, assessing playful fines for missing signs, uniform mishaps and other things he deemed as infractions.

At the time, the Orioles had a batboy named Jay Mazzone, whose hands were amputated when he was 2 after a burning accident. Mazzone capably did his job for years with metal hooks and became good friends with Robinson.

Some players, though, initially weren’t sure how to treat the teen.

“Frank Robinson broke the ice,” Mazzone said. “He was running his Kangaroo Court and calling a vote among the players, whether to fine somebody or not.”

“It was either thumbs up or thumbs down,” he recalled. “After the vote, he said, ‘Jay, you’re fined for not voting.’ Everybody laughed. After that, I was treated just like everybody else.”

Survivors include his wife, Barbara, and daughter Nichelle.

There was no immediate word on funeral arrangements.

___

AP Sports Writer Joe Kay and AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

Sports – TIME

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Major League Baseball Asks for Its $5,000 Campaign Donation Back From Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

When lobbyists for Major League Baseball made a donation in connection with a political event on Friday, they probably didn’t expect to ask for it back two days later.

Amid outcry over racially insensitive remarks made by Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith earlier this month, the MLB has asked her campaign to return its $ 5,000 donation.

On a Nov. 2 campaign stop, Sen. Hyde-Smith was captured in a viral video making remarks about attending a “public hanging.”

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be in the front row,” Sen. Hyde-Smith said, referring to a supporter. Her opponent in Tuesday’s run-off election, former Democratic Representative Mike Espy, is an African-American.

Hyde-Smith subsequently gave a partial apology during a Nov. 20 debate against Espy.

“For anyone that was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize,” she said. “There was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statements.”

She then noted “this comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me.”

The MLB made its contribution to her campaign weeks after the senator made those comments.

“The contribution was made in connection with an event that MLB lobbyists were asked to attend,” the league said in a statement issued Sunday, reported the Daily Beast. “MLB has requested that the contribution be returned.”

Several companies, including Walmart, have recently asked her campaign to return donations following the comment, reported USA Today.

It’s not the first controversy that Hyde-Smith has caused.

In 2014, she posted a picture on her Facebook page showing her posing at the Jefferson Davis homestead holding a rifle and wearing a Confederate hat, reported the Washington Post.

“Mississippi history at its best!” she wrote.

Hyde-Smith has also been caught on video making jokes about voter suppression.

 

Sports – TIME

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