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Bob Watson, All-Star Slugger, dies at 74

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Bob Watson, an All-Star slugger who became the first black general manager to win a World Series with the New York Yankees in 1996, has died. He was 74.

What We Know:

  • The Houston Astros, for whom Watson played his first 14 seasons in a baseball career spanning six decades, announced his death Thursday night. The team did not provide details, but his son Keith wrote on Twitter that he died in Houston from kidney disease.
  • “He was an All-Star on the field and a true pioneer off of it, admired and respected by everyone he played with or worked alongside,” the Astros said in a statement. “Bob will be missed, but not forgotten.”
  • Watson, nicknamed “The Bull,” made the All-Star team in 1973 and ’75, hit over .300 four times and drove in at least 100 runs twice while hitting in the middle of the Astros’ lineup. He also holds the distinction of scoring the 1 millionth run in major league history — on May 4, 1975, against the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park.
  • Commissioner Rob Manfred lauded Watson as a “highly accomplished figure” and “deeply respected colleague”. He also praised his work with the Baseball Assistance Team, which assists those in baseball who are in need.
  • “I will always remember the outstanding example that Bob set for others,” Manfred said in a statement Friday.
  • Watson was known off the field for his cameo, along with several Astros teammates, in the 1977 comedy film The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. In a key scene, Watson delivered the memorable line: “Hey, c’mon, let the kids play!”
  • He also played for Boston (1979), the Yankees (1980–82) and Atlanta Braves (1982–84), finishing with a .295 career batting average with 184 home runs, 989 RBIs and 1,826 runs scored while primarily playing first base and left field. Watson also hit .371 in 17 career postseason games. He was the first player to hit for the cycle in both leagues — for Houston in 1977 and Boston two years later.
  • After retiring as a player, Watson began coaching and helped the 1988 Oakland Athletics win the American League pennant as the hitting coach for the likes of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. He became the second black general manager in major league history, after Atlanta’s Bill Lucas, when he was hired by the Astros in 1993.
  • Watson was hired as the Yankees’ GM in 1995, and made the then-highly criticized decision to hire Joe Torre as New York’s manager. Watson, along with Torre leading the team on the field, helped put together the World Series-winning squad in 1996.
  • He retired from the Yankees after the 1997 season, and Brian Cashman replaced him as New York’s GM. Watson later served as Major League Baseball’s vice president in charge of discipline and vice president of rules and on-field operations and worked in the league offices until 2010.
  • ”Bob’s positive impact on our game and those who came in contact with him was accomplished with the utmost integrity, devotion and commitment,” Tony Clark, executive director of the players’ union, said in a statement.
  • Watson overcame prostate cancer after being diagnosed in 1994 and became an advocate for awareness and early detection. He often spoke at conferences and seminars about his experience, which he discussed in his 1997 book, ”Survive To Win.” He dealt with other health problems in recent years.
  • ”I know that my dad has accomplished more than even he ever thought he would accomplish in life,” Keith Watson told Houston TV station Fox 26. ”The legacy that he has left behind for us is one of giving, one of sharing, one of winning, and he doesn’t leave here not having done everything that he set out to accomplish in his life.”

Watson is also survived by his wife, Carol, and daughter Kelley.

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Coronavirus

Dave Chappelle Tests Positive for COVID-19 Cancels Texas Shows

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US comedian Dave Chappelle and recipient of the Mark Twain Award for American Humor arrives at the Kennedy Center for award ceremony on October 27, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP) (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Dave Chappelle tested positive for the coronavirus just prior to his comedy show scheduled for Thursday, demanding his future appearances to be canceled, a spokeswoman said.

What We Know:

  • Chappelle was expected to play Thursday through Sunday at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas. “Dave Chappelle is quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19,” the comedian is asymptomatic his representative Carla Sims said in a statement.

“His remaining shows at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, TX have been canceled, and ticket holders should contact their point of purchase for refunds,” Sims said in a statement.

  • Live Nation was the producer for the plays, which had a hefty $1,600 per table (plus tax and unspecified fees) entry for a six-person table, or $1,400 for four people.
  • Sims said Chappelle played socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June and moved his shows to Austin through the winter. Rapid testing for the public and daily tests for Chappelle and his team were executed.
  • TMZ, which first published about Chappelle’s positive test, completed the first of the five shows in Austin Wednesday night in the stand, with the rest programmed for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

 

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  • Chappelle was placed to team up with Joe Rogan on two nights. The other three dates were billed as “Dave Chappelle and Friends,” but no specifics on who would appear were given.
  • Rogan was programmed to perform at the shows Friday and Saturday. He apologized on Instagram to followers for the canceled shows, announcing they’d be rescheduled. A post earlier this week confirmed Rogan at Stubb’s with Chappelle and other celebrities, including Donnell Rawlings, Ron White, and Elon Musk.

Refunds will be possible for ticketholders at their time of purchase. Wishing Dave Chappelle a very quick and healthy recovery!

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White House Website Allows Users to Specify Pronouns for First Time

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As soon as President Biden was sworn into office, major changes came to the White House Website.

What We Know:

  • The day President Joe Biden was sworn in, the White House website was updated to allow visitors to specify what pronouns they use. LGBTQ advocates see the change as a small but symbolic example of the Biden administration reaching out to transgender and nonbinary Americans.

  • On Wednesday, the contact form at WhiteHouse.gov added a drop-down menu with pronoun options, including “she/her,” “he/him,” and “they/them.” Users can also select “other” and write in their own selections or indicate they “prefer not to share” their pronouns. The list of prefixes has also been updated to include the gender-neutral “Mx.” along with “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” and “Ms.”

  • Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, former White House LGBTQ liaison under the Obama administration and the first openly transgender person to work as a White House staffer, said, “It’s truly wonderful to see the White House so sensitively and prominently signal inclusion.”

“Allowing visitors, whether transgender, nonbinary or cisgender-identified, to indicate their preferred pronouns when visiting the home of President Biden, demonstrates the kind of welcoming place 1600 Pennsylvania will now be for all Americans,” Freedman-Gurspan told NBC News.

  • The site now includes a Spanish language version of the White House’s communications, a page that went dark when former President Donald Trump took office. The relaunch came the same day President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office. Harris is now the first female, first Black, and first South Asian vice president.

This is a small step that President Joe Biden and his administration have already taken after being in office for one day.

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Dallas Martin Named President of Asylum Records

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Dallas Martin. (Photo by Lance Gross.)

Veteran A&R Dallas Martin has been named president of Asylum Records, a trademark of Warner Music Group.

What We Know:

  • After proving himself as one of rap’s most prominent A&Rs (artists and repertoire) of the past decade, playing a crucial role in the careers of artists like Meek Mill, Roddy Ricch, Wale, Rick Ross, and Nipsey Hussle, Martin will direct Asylum beside co-president Gabrielle Peluso. He teams up a label including Wayne “Wayno” Clark, vice president of A&R.
  • “Gabby has done an amazing job with Asylum, with Wayno as a lead A&R, and I’d continue building on their momentum,” Martin states to Complex.

“I see Asylum as a place for raw talent. I want to focus on signing artists who have potential, even if they don’t have big streaming numbers. Asylum will be synonymous with artist development.”

  • Martin would report back to Eliah Seton, president of independent music and creator services of WMG, and Craig Kallman, Chairman & CEO of Atlantic Records. As he starts his new role at Asylum, Martin will continue as part of the Atlantic Records executive team as EVP of A&R.
  • Launching his career in 2008 as an intern at Def Jam Records, Martin joined Warner Records in 2011. He managed Rick Ross’s projects and helped expand the Maybach Music Group roster, including Omarion Meek Mill and Wale. There, he managed all of Meek Mill’s releases, including Dreams Worth More Than Money, Dreams and Nightmares, and the Grammy-nominated Championships, which he spoke more about with Complex following its release.
  • By 2013, Martin had gone on to Atlantic Records and persuaded them to sign the late Nipsey Hussle. He A&R’d the rapper’s Victory Lap album, which featured Roddy Ricch, another artist he brought to the label. He also helped to grow the careers of artists like Cordae and Symba.
  •  “In this first year, I want to make one act a household name. There is nothing more rewarding than breaking an artist, especially when you really believe in them. “I’m already in the studio, with safety measures in place, and I’m ready to put the work in. Let’s go!” He added.

Martin, who remains EVP of A&R at Atlantic, will supervise Asylum’s 2017 incarnation alongside co-president Gabrielle Peluso. Big Congratulations to Dallas Martin!

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