Winner of the Week
Brian Ballard. Major League Baseball had a problem. The U.S. Treasury killed its deal with Cuba to get the island’s ballplayers into the United States. Enter Brian Ballard. MLB hired President Donald Trump’s favorite lobbyist last month to help the league navigate the administration’s anti-Cuba position. A month later, Trump is suddenly willing to play ball. In the same week, Ballard’s flashy new hire, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, was spotted in the White House with the president. The good times keep rolling for the Tallahassee-turned-D.C. power broker.
Loser of the Week
Florida’s mental health system. Two painful reminders in 24 hours last week show Florida’s dead-last ranking for mental health funding has real-world consequences. On Wednesday, we honored the memory of 49 victims in the Pulse nightclub shooting. And on Thursday, Elizabeth Koh of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau shined a bright light on a brutal crisis brewing in the Panhandle in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Troubling statistics in both cases prove this state has to do more.