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Snake Bytes, 5/17: Mo’ money, mo’ problems

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The MLB owners provided a breakdown to the union indicating massive losses for every team if only half a season gets played.

A Thousand Dollars Photo by Alfred Gescheidt/Getty Images

[AP] MLB projects $640K per game loss with no fans - Major League Baseball told players their prorated salaries would contribute to an average loss of $640,000 for each game over an 82-game season in empty ballparks, according to a presentation from the commissioner’s office to the union that was obtained by The Associated Press. Teams say the proposed method of salvaging a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic would still cause a $4 billion loss and would give major league players 89% of revenue. [The D-backs actually come in with one of the smallest losses, at only $107 million. The top five worst are the Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, Cubs and Red Sox. So, not ALL bad, then...]

[The Courier-Tribune] Womack brings rich baseball family history to Copperheads - Alsander Womack certainly had the perfect mentor to learn the sport of baseball from as he grew up in the Waxhaw area. Womack’s father is Tony Womack, the 13-year MLB veteran whose key hits led the Arizona Diamondbacks to the 2001 World Series championship. The two recently were able to enjoy the 2001 World Series when a station rebroadcast the entire World Series, considered by many to be one of the most exciting postseason series in baseball history. “Way too many to count,” Womack joked about how many times his father nudged him in the shoulder or slapped him on the back while watching the games. “It felt like he was watching a live game and he didn’t know what was about to happen.”

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks have found some great players late in MLB draft - Other notable late draft picks for the Diamondbacks include Adam Eaton, who was a 19th-round pick in 2010 and Mark Reynolds, who was a 16th-round pick in 2004. Current Diamondbacks Kevin Cron, James Sherfy and Jake Lamb all were post-fifth-round MLB draft picks for Arizona. Cron was a 14th-round pick in 2014. Sherfy went in the tenth round in 2013. Lamb was a sixth-round selection in 2012. Can you imagine how different things would have been for the organization if the draft had ended after five rounds in each of the years these players were selected?

[Washington Examiner] The natural: Pittsburgh-area legend Ron Necciai recalls his 27-strikeout game - It was May 13, 1952, a cold, damp Tuesday night for 1,100 people at Shaw Stadium in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Necciai was pitching for the Bristol Twins, a Pittsburgh Pirate-affiliated Appalachian League farm team, against the Welch Miners. The gangly 19-year-old from Gallatin, Pennsylvania, had no idea he would never leave the mound again that night. Nor did he know that his name and what he did in that game would be forever etched in baseball history books. [Hat-tip: Terry M]

Cuban Rebel Girls (1959)

Rating: D

Dir: Barry Mahon
Star: Beverly Aadland, Marie Edmund, John McKay, Errol Flynn
a.k.a. Assault of the Rebel Girls

Errol Flynn and Fidel Castro: name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait. Er, what? The Hollywood master of swashbuckling and the communist Cuban dictator? Surely some mistake. But, no. Flynn had been a regular visitor to the Caribbean island in the fifties, often using it as a stop-over on the way to his estate in Jamaica. By the end of the decade, his film career was heading sharply downward, his reputation shot thanks on on-screen flops and off-screen scandals. In 1958, he arrived in Havana as a reporter and was granted an audience with then rebel leader Castro. The actor was won over, became a supporter of the popular struggle against President Batista, and as a propaganda contribution to help the bearded one improve his image in America, made this weird cross between a documentary and an action film.

It stars his teenage girlfriend Aadland – those “off-screen scandals” for Flynn, included a trial for statutory rape in 1943 – in her only credited role. She plays American teenager Beverly Woods, whose boyfriend Johnny (McKay) has gone off to fight with Castro’s revolutionaries. Her pal Jacqueline is involved in smuggling guns to the rebels, and Beverly goes along on a delivery, looking to meet up with Johnny. Initially, she has no interest in the fight, caring only for her boyfriend. But inevitably, she is converted by the honest struggle of the proletariat, and becomes a true believer. In one of the sections that’s more documentary than drama, she ends up riding into Havana on a tank in a parade with the victorious Castro army.

Flynn, meanwhile, plays an American journalist, whose largely unnecessary narration is dropped on top of proceedings. That aspect isn’t actually too bad: his voice still commands a certain attention. But when he appears on the screen, the illusion of a cinematic idol is shattered by the sleazy version of Alec Baldwin which shambles into view. It and similar Flynn production Cuban Story (lost for 50 years) certainly rank alongside Plan 9 From Outer Space as among the saddest final feature films of an iconic actor’s career. If this has value, it’s almost entirely as a time-capsule, and a rare example of Hollywood making a pro-Communist film.

For it didn’t take long after World War II ended, for Russia to go from ally against the Nazis to existential threat to America. Hollywood quickly followed suit, the fifties giving us the likes of I Was a Communist for the FBI and Invasion U.S.A. This is arguably even worse than any of those ‘Red Scare’ films, and certainly no less subtle in its messaging. The lack of talent across the cast is painfully obvious. and outside of Flynn, it doesn’t appear anyone else had movie experience – some seem to have been actual members of Castro’s forces. Even director Mahon was making his debut, though unlike everyone else, he did go on to have a career. Well, of sorts. His filmography includes such titles as The Diary of Knockers McCalla and Fanny Hill Meets the Red Baron.

If you think of this as a porn film without any actual sex, it’ll go a long way to explain the wooden performances and leaden dialogue. The worst thing is easily its lead actress. Aadland is so bad, she’ll turn any viewers into a fervent anti-Communist with her petulant whining. “But I won’t get to see anything!” she bleats, after being stuck on lookout duty. “When am I gonna see Johnny?” With rebel girls like that, it’s a miracle Castro ever won. Yet this finishes with him somehow prevailing, and Flynn boozily telling the camera, “Well, I guess that winds up another stage in the fight to rid Latin America of tyrants and dictators.” Oops. Not exactly a statement which aged well.