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BASEBALL NOTEBOOK

Notebook: Judges rule Yankees are ‘Evil Empire’

When it comes to baseball, the Yankees really are the Evil Empire, according to a US Patent and Trademark Office judges’ ruling this month.

The decision is a setback for a Long Island woman who tried to trademark “Baseballs Evil Empire” to sell clothing.

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“In short the record shows that there is only one Evil Empire in baseball and it is the New York Yankees,” according a trio of judges at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. “The weight of evidence submitted by [the Yankees] clearly demonstrates that the mark BASEBALLS EVIL EMPIRE would be understood by consumers to refer to the New York Yankees,” the judges wrote.

The battle, New York Yankees Partnership v. Evil Enterprises, Inc. began as a classic David and Goliath matchup in 2008. Tracy Carey, a former mortgage broker, started selling T-shirts, caps, and clothing apparel from her Long Island garage that had the famous interlocking NY logo with a devil’s face and the words “Baseballs Evil Empire.”

“It’s a spoof,” she said.

The Yankees threatened to take her to Federal Court and when she filed for the trademark, they objected.

“We’re shocked, actually,” said Carey, who got the news while on vacation. “The judges are obviously drinking Yankee Kool-Aid and they said as far as they are concerned there is only one Evil Empire and that’s the Yankees. Can you believe that? I thought that was really inappropriate.”

But Carey says the fight is not over.

“We will probably appeal it, but I don’t know what the outcome will be,’’ she said. “I have to sit down with my attorney when we get back.”

Efforts to reach Yankees general manager Brian Cashman were unsuccessful.

Drug penalties may stiffen

Union head Michael Weiner said Monday there have been talks about increasing the penalties for violating baseball’s drug testing program.

‘‘There are certainly some players who have expressed that,’’ Weiner said. ‘‘We've had discussions with the commissioner’s office. If it turns out that we have a different penalty structure because that’s what players are interested in, that’s what the owners are interested in, it will be for 2014.’’

Changes to the drug program must be approved by Major League Baseball and the players’ union.

Rivera making strides

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said he’s doing well after throwing 32 pitches during batting practice in Tampa. Rivera, who’s coming back from ACL surgery last May, said that he will next pitch a simulated game . . . Reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera hit his second home run of the spring, a booming three-run shot off the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon, as the Tigers routed Philadelphia, 10-1, in an exhibition in Clearwater, Fla. Papelbon faced nine batters in his first action of the spring and retired only two . . . The latest comeback try by Dontrelle Willis lasted just seven pitches. The lefthander said he hurt his left shoulder in the Cubs’ 7-6 exhibition loss to the Dodgers in Glendale, Ariz. ‘‘It’s a mild setback,’’ said Willis, who signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in January. ‘‘Hopefully, it’s not serious. It’s probably just fatigue.’’ . . . Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is dealing with stiffness in his lower back, but manager Ned Yost said he has ‘‘a 1 percent’’ concern over the injury being serious . . . Indians outfielder Michael Brantley needed stitches in his left forearm after being spiked during a 14-10 exhibition win over the Athletics in Phoenix. Brantley will be evaluated Tuesday . . . Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson announced righthander Ian Kennedy will be his Opening Day starter . . . Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is trying to put a positive spin on his widely mocked offseason decisions. Loria said the dismantling of the roster was the right move because the team was heading in the wrong direction. He said a return to payroll austerity was needed because the Marlins lost tens of millions in 2012 after an unprecedented spending spree prior to their first season in a new ballpark . . . Major League Baseball reshuffled its umpire roster after the retirements of crew chiefs Ed Rapuano, Tim Tschida, and Derryl Cousins. Jim Joyce, Ted Barrett, and Fieldin Culbreth were promoted to crew chiefs.

Material from the Associated Press was used. Stan Grossfeld can be reached at grossfeld@globe.com.

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