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Saint Petersburg (United States) (AFP) – Don Zimmer, who spent 12 seasons in Major League Baseball as a player and more than four decades as a manager, coach and advisor, died Wednesday at the age of 83.

The Tampa Bay Rays said Zimmer, who had heart surgery in April, died in hospital in Dunedin, Florida.

Zimmer was in his 11th season with the Rays as a senior advisor and wore 66 on his uniform — the number of years he spent in baseball.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig called Zimmer “one of our game’s most universally beloved figures.”

Zimmer joined the Rays in 2004 after 10 memorable years with the New York Yankees, including eight as bench coach under manager Joe Torre.

Torre said Zimmer was like family.

“The game was his life,” Torre said in a statement. “And his passing is going to create a void in my life and my wife Ali’s. We loved him. The game of baseball lost a special person tonight.”

Zimmer wore a uniform for 14 different major league teams in his career, including the Brooklyn Dodgers and Washington Senators.

“Don was the kind of person you could only find in the National Pastime,” Selig said. “As a player, Don experienced the joys of the 1955 world champion Brooklyn Dodgers and the struggles of the ’62 Mets.

“In his managerial and coaching career, this unique baseball man led the Cubs to a division crown and then, at his good friend Joe Torre’s loyal side, helped usher in a new era in the fabled history of the Yankees.”

From 1954 through 1965 with the Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, Reds and Senators, Zimmer mostly played the infield and hit .235 with 91 home runs and 352 runs-batted-in in 1,095 career games.

He had been a manager, coach or advisor every year since 1971. He was named manager of the year in 1989 after leading the Cubs to a 16-game turnaround and the National League East title.

He won six World Series titles — four as a coach with the Yankees and two as a player, with Brooklyn in 1955 and Los Angeles in 1959.

The Rays said they will honor Zimmer with a moment of silence at Thursday’s game against the Marlins and will hold a pregame ceremony prior to Saturday’s game.

Photo: Doug Pensinger via AFP

President Trump and former Vice President Biden at first 2020 presidential debate

Screenshot from C-Span YouTube

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Donald Trump is claiming that he will still debate despite the rule change that will cut off the candidates' microphones while their opponent delivers his initial two-minute response to each of the debate's topics. But everything else Trump and his campaign are saying sounds like they're laying the groundwork to back out.

"I will participate," Trump told reporters Monday night. "But it's very unfair that they changed the topics and it's very unfair that again we have an anchor who's totally biased." At his Arizona rally Monday, Trump attacked moderator Kristen Welker as a "radical Democrat" and claimed she had "deleted her entire account," which is false. Trump's campaign manager, Bill Stepien, went further in his whining about the debate.

Stepien touted a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates as "Our letter to the BDC (Biden Debate Commission)." That letter came before the CPD announced that it would mute microphones for portions of the debate in response to Trump's constant interruptions at the first debate, though Stepien knew such a decision was likely coming, writing, "It is our understanding from media reports that you will soon be holding an internal meeting to discuss other possible rule changes, such as granting an unnamed person the ability to shut off a candidate's microphone. It is completely unacceptable for anyone to wield such power, and a decision to proceed with that change amounts to turning further editorial control of the debate over to the Commission which has already demonstrated its partiality to Biden."

Shooooot, here I thought it was generous to Trump that the microphones will only be cut to give each candidate two uninterrupted minutes, leaving Trump the remainder of each 15-minute debate segment to interrupt.

But what did Stepien mean by "other possible rule changes," you ask? What was the first rule change? Well, it wasn't one. Stepien wrote to strongly complain that "We write with great concern over the announced topics for what was always billed as the 'Foreign Policy Debate' in the series of events agreed to by both the Trump campaign and the Biden campaign many months ago." Welker's announced topics include "Fighting COVID-19, American families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership," Stepien complained, using this as a launching pad to attack Biden on foreign policy.

Except this debate was never billed as a foreign policy debate. It's true that in past years, the third debate has sometimes focused on foreign policy, but here in 2020, the CPD's original announcement of debate formats and moderators said of the third debate, "The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate," and the first debate "will be divided into six segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator."

So even before the CPD finalized the decision to prevent Trump from interrupting for two minutes in each of six segments, so 12 minutes out of a 90-minute debate, Team Trump was falsely complaining that the debate was rigged. No wonder—as a Biden campaign spokesman noted, the Trump campaign is upset "because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous Covid response."

Trump has lost one debate and backed out of one debate. If he goes into this one with the attitude he's showing now—attacking the moderator, attacking the topics, enraged that he can't interrupt for two entire minutes at a time—he's going to lose this one, badly, once again hurting his already weak reelection prospects. So which will it be? Back out and have that be the story, or alienate one of the largest audiences of the entire presidential campaign by showing what kind of person he is?