Bud Selig, A-rod, Mlbpa, Michael Weiner Newsbeat
Friday, April 11, 2014
Baseball players are underpaid.
In a vacuum, the issue gets a big, fat #richpeopleproblems hashtag. If the MLBPA’s biggest problems revolve around a guy not getting enough millions, whooptie damn do. At the same time, that ignores an important principle, and one the union is stressing as long-term deals swing more and more in favor of teams: Baseball is a $9 billion industry, and every dollar that doesn’t go to the players who make the game what it is funnels straight into the suit pockets of owners who are getting even more stinking rich with every successful long-term deal.
Posted: April 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM | 42 comment(s)
Friday, February 14, 2014
Stepping on a butterfly needle.
The primordial circumstance that set Rodriguez’s career on an unwanted trajectory was the 1994-95 players’ strike, which began just one month after his major league debut… when the strike ended and the players and owners finally hammered out a new collective bargaining agreement, players were awarded service time for the games that were canceled, including guys in the minors like Rodriguez. The result was that Rodriguez had just enough service time to qualify for free agency a year early.
...Rodriguez played for the Rangers for three seasons, leading the AL in home runs each year, winning two Gold Gloves at shortstop and one MVP, and missing just one total game. Yet seemingly all anyone remembers is that the Rangers never won more than 73 games in those three seasons despite giving Rodriguez all that money. Apparently, it was A-Rod’s fault the team’s ERAs those three years were 5.71, 5.15, and 5.67.
...Meanwhile, in their very first season without Rodriguez, the 2001 Mariners won an AL-record 116 games with Carlos Guillen as their everyday shortstop. Guillen went on to some great years in Detroit, but that season he hit .259/.333/.355 and was clearly the weak link in the Seattle lineup. Had the new CBA not altered his service clock, Rodriguez would have hit free agency after a season in which he was the best player on a team that likely would have smashed the major league record for wins in a season. The Mariners probably would have won a mind-boggling 120 games. The Rodriguez-free Mariners lost to the Yankees in the ALCS; Guillen had been benched for Mark McLemore in the playoffs, and McLemore went 2-for-14 in the series. Three of the Mariners’ four losses came by one or two runs in a tight series, and Rodriguez’s presence in the lineup would have been huge.
If Rodriguez had led the Mariners to the MLB record for regular-season wins and then propelled them to the AL pennant and possibly a world championship, he would have cemented a very different legacy very early in his career.
...The Mariners haven’t made the playoffs since that remarkable 2001 season, so if Rodriguez’s free agency had come up a year later, the narrative would center on a franchise that never recovered from losing its greatest player, the way the Red Sox flailed after selling Babe Ruth or the way the Pirates endured 20 consecutive losing seasons after Barry Bonds left. Instead, the narrative is that the Mariners set the AL wins record the year after Rodriguez took the money and ran.
Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:34 PM | 16 comment(s)
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
“[N]ow that A-Rod has dropped his appeal and is accepting his suspension, Major League Baseball is going to drop the lawsuit it filed last March against Biogenesis, Anthony Bosch, Juan Carlos Nunez and multiple other defendants.
Which, of course, just continues to underscore how legally baseless a lawsuit that was and how its putative purpose — legal redress against drug dealers who caused damage to the league by enabling the breach of the Joint Drug Agreement an the Collective Bargaining Agreement — was total baloney. Major League Baseball filed that lawsuit for the sole purpose of gaining leverage in an effort to suspend Alex Rodriguez and the other Biogenesis players. Now that that has been done, there is no purpose for the suit.
Which may mean Major League Baseball was successful. That it did what it set out to do. But it doesn’t change the fact that its filing of that suit was a ridiculous misuse of the legal system. A legal system, the purpose of which, is to redress legal injury, not to be used as a cudgel in an employment dispute. Major League Baseball asserted that its contracts were breached. They were not. It asserted that it suffered financial damage as a result. It did not.”
Got numbers beyond what you can dial, maybe it’s because I’m so versatile… mmmmm, DROP!
Posted: February 12, 2014 at 09:43 AM | 4 comment(s)
Friday, February 07, 2014
In an odd twist, Alex Rodriguez and his legal team have voluntarily dismissed their lawsuits against Major League Baseball and the player’s union. [...] A-Rod’s camp filed the lawsuit against MLB and MLBPA seeking an injuction that could potentially overturn his record 162-game suspension. The “witch hunt” lawsuit was filed last year and is a separate matter and would not affect the suspension.
Rodriguez can still refile his suit and continue seeking an injunction, or he could simply stop the legal battle and accept the suspension.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
“When he comes up to bat, you can hit him and hit him hard,” one player on the conference call told Yahoo Sports. “That’s what I’d do.”
Anyone want an OBP machine?
Friday, January 17, 2014
Just what the anti-aging facility ordered, another A-Rod story:
Presented in the “60 Minutes” story was an unsolicited wire transfer from “Arod Corporation” to Bosch’s criminal attorney, Susy Ribero-Ayala, in the amount of $49,901.51. Manfred told “60 Minutes” that he and MLB considered this a bribe.
But Steve Fishman of New York Magazine found this odd. Fishman, you’ll remember, wrote a big piece on A-Rod recently and then published those strange e-mails between A-Rod and New York Yankees president Randy Levine.
Fishman wondered, who pays $49.901.51 as hush money. It’s too specific an amount. Why not $50,000, nice and round? Fishman did some digging and discovered:
In fact, documents obtained by New York suggests that the wire transfer was a legal payment made in error. Rodriguez’s attorney Roy Black sent Rodriguez a bill for that same amount on April 2, 2013 – six days before the payment to Ribero-Ayala. According to e-mails examined by New York, Rodriguez’s business staff confused the wiring information and accidentally sent the payment to Ribero-Ayala on April 8.
Rodriguez’s employees had Ribero-Ayala’s name in their payment system because Rodriguez had previously paid her $25,000 to help cover Bosch’s mounting legal fees, when the two were still telling the same story — and Bosch had thanked him for that.
On April 9, 2013, Rodriguez realized that the second payment was in error, according to the e-mail chain, and Ribero-Ayala returned the money, which was then transferred to Black’s law firm’s account.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Major league ballplayers should never have agreed to drug testing. They should have told any handwringing writer who had anything to say about it to #### right off, and they should have said the same to any handwringing politician who wanted to do something about it. They should have made clear that they would go on strike forever rather than agree to it, and if necessary they should have done so, because this was inevitable once the players ceded control over their own bodies to an outside authority in response to a moral panic.
Cuban continued, “David is very self-aware. And I don’t think I can emphasize this enough: That’s a huge compliment when you tell someone in a position of authority that they’re self-aware. Look at Major League Baseball. Bud Selig has no self-awareness whatsoever. He goes on rants, he goes on missions, he takes people on. And he’s not self-reflective. I think David is the exact opposite. He will raise the hammer and be forceful, but if something isn’t working, he’ll back down.”
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
“Part of his legacy is the establishment of the toughest anti-doping rules in all of American pro sports.”
Though many people in his sport are still skeptical, baseball commissioner Bud Selig told ESPN.com he is “100 percent” committed to retiring in a year and that he hopes to visit all 30 parks in his final season…
“I want to talk to season-ticket holders and fans,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of people to thank.”
That idea came about, he said, in part because several clubs reached out to him after his announcement and asked to honor him, but also because [Mariano] Rivera’s farewell tour got Selig to thinking about ways to connect with people who love baseball.
“I like that,” Selig said. “I like talking to people. And ... that’s what I want to do: [speak to] season-ticket holders, people who work at ballparks. I just like to walk around and talk to people. I love that. I did that when I ran the Brewers. And I enjoyed it. I miss that.
“Many people ask me, ‘Is there anything you miss [about owning a team]?’ And that’s it. I really miss all that. I knew every vendor. And you knew what they were thinking, too, because they’ll tell you, especially if your team is losing.”
Not so long ago, Selig conceded, there was a time when he was so unpopular, he couldn’t have done anything like this.
“It would have been an ugly experience,” he said. “If I’d done it in the ‘90s, I would have needed nine security people to make sure that I made it out of there.” ...
“I’ve done this now for a long time, 22 years,” Selig said. “It will be 23 by that time. Other than [Kenesaw Mountain] Landis, nobody has ever done this job longer. I’m going to be 80 years old next July 30. And I really do want to teach ... and I want to write a book, and I want to do it while, God willing, my health is good and my mind is still reasonably active, although many would disagree with that.”
The article goes into some depth about how biological passport testing works and how it’s a vast improvement over the old method. I’m sure that it is, and I fully support MLB enhances its anti-doping efforts. It’s a credit to Tom Verducci to research this and write a layman friendly article like this.
...but golly gee damn, sometimes I just wish we were talking about the merits of RBI and W-L. Hopefully, as testing continues to improve as it seems to, doping will become ever scarcer and further removed from the hot stove.
Baseball began to see a trend mushrooming in 2012: players were turning to fast-acting synthetic testosterone to cheat. The 4:1 T:E ratio was providing room to maneuver for that cheating. So baseball owners and the players’ association that year began discussing how to bring their Joint Drug Agreement up to date with state of the art testing protocols. They agreed they needed to run more of the more sensitive IRMS tests, but needed a better “trigger” mechanism than the 4:1 ratio. And that’s why they turned to the biological passport testing system.
Alex Rodriguez took an energy cocktail on Mondays and a therapy cocktail on Fridays.
He used a special cream in the morning, and a testosterone cream in the evening.
He took testosterone lozenges before games “as needed.”...
describes in detail the shadowy life — and complicated diet — of a big-league doper who juggled four injections with two muscle treatments, two skin creams, two lozenges, and six oral doses. And that was just “PHASE 1,” according to the report….
Sunday, January 12, 2014
You gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the fillies.
While serious [Collective Bargaining Agreement] talks are likely more than two years away, sources say that the union already is preparing for management to pursue an aggressive, ambitious strategy… The players, to be sure, are more vulnerable than in the past — and both sides know it.
The union is under new, less experienced leadership. It seems willing to relent further on drug testing. It also is facing a management team that has set caps on domestic amateurs, international amateurs and the posting fees for Japanese players, gaining control over labor costs in virtually every area but the final frontier — major-league salaries… Now more than ever, they need to fight for due process and protect their rights…
The “injustice” of his suspension, [Alex] Rodriguez said, was “MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.’‘
Rodriguez’s concerns are extreme. The clubs might seek to convert guaranteed language to non-guaranteed in the contracts of players who are caught using PEDs, but they will never get away with abolishing guaranteed contracts. They also might seek harsher penalties than the current 50-100-lifetime formula for positive tests, but will never get away with lifetime bans for first-time offenders… The point is, there are battles ahead…
The union lost one of its greatest minds when its executive director, Michael Weiner, died of brain cancer on Nov. 21. Weiner’s replacement, Tony Clark, is the first former player to hold the position — a position once occupied by Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr.
Clark could prove a worthy successor — he is extremely intelligent, a natural leader. Kevin McGuiness, newly appointed as the union’s chief operating officer, is a 30-year veteran of the Washington D.C. lobbying scene, a “serious piece of manpower,” according to one player advocate. But few would dispute that the union, without Weiner, will be weaker initially.
Of course, the owners also will be under different leadership by the next round of labor negotiations — Commissioner Bud Selig has said he will retire when his contract expires in January 2015. The promotion of chief operating officer Rob Manfred, the owners’ longtime labor negotiator, might be the best hope for continuing the peace. A commissioner without Manfred’s background might be more inclined to flex his muscles, and what better way to do it than by taking on the union?
A storm is brewing, all right. And while it will have nothing to do with Rodriguez, it will center around two issues with which he is quite familiar.
Drugs. And money.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
I gave Weiner this title, along with Forde, last year because of the way he conducted himself upon learning of his diagnosis in August 2012, and he just kept going in his final calendar year of life. The A-Rod/Biogenesis mess kept Weiner plenty busy and in the spotlight, and he worked for the players until he had nothing left to give.
It became evident Weiner didn’t believe that A-Rod was fully innocent, just as he worked with the other 13 Biogenesis players to find punishments that worked. But when MLB slapped A-Rod with that record-long suspension, Weiner turned his vigor toward his more natural adversary: the league. Weiner understood protecting both the player and the precedent is critical, and he wouldn’t let the smaller picture get in the way of that.
Posted: December 18, 2013 at 03:23 PM | 1 comment(s)
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I would imagine they have already ruled out the title Life and Time of a Baseball Playing Centaur.
Alex Rodriguez is about to seal a multimillion dollar deal for a tell-all book about his legal battle with MLB, with which he plans to lift the lid on the “full dirt of Major League Baseball’s tactics” he claims have been used against him.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Boca Raton police announced the arrest of Reginald St. Fleur, a tanning salon worker with a criminal record. He’s an occasional associate of both Fischer, the former Biogenesis employee, and Gary Jones, the man who sold the clinic records to MLB. The exact path of those documents, which MLB used to pressure a dozen players into copping pleas and amounts to the bulk of the evidence against Alex Rodriguez, isn’t precisely known, but there are only two possibilities: a criminal conspiracy, or a different type of criminal conspiracy.
Here’s what we know. MLB, through an investigator, had been unsuccessfully negotiating with Fischer to purchase the documents he took from Tony Bosch after a dispute over money. On March 25th, they were scheduled to be handed over to the Florida Department of Health for its investigation into Bosch and Biogenesis. On March 24th, Fischer met Jones at a Boca Raton tanning salon. While the two met, Fischer’s car was broken into and the documents stolen. On April 16th, MLB purchased the documents from Jones for $25,000. (On top of an additional $100,000 for an earlier set of documents. Also, without the evidence, the health department’s case against Bosch collapsed.)
Any of our motley collection of lawyers know about the admissibility of stolen evidence in arb hearings? And if I were an ambitious DA in south Florida I’d be revving up a grand jury to look into MLB’s role in the theft.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
First union exec in the Hall Of Fame.
Winfield spent 15 of his 22 big league seasons as a player representative. He also served as a founding member of the advisory board of the Major League Baseball Players Trust, which was founded in 1996.
“As a former union leader, I’m thrilled to be joining the ranks of the most accomplished and respected sports union in the country to help provide a generational link and historical perspective to today’s players,” said Winfield in a statement Thursday.
Friday, November 29, 2013
The children “adored” Michael Weiner, the retired rabbi related. That would be Mr. Weiner the Sunday school teacher. He was also the fellow who headed the baseball players’ union until his death from brain cancer Nov. 21, but it’s highly unlikely that many of his union members knew him as the teacher of fourth and fifth graders at the Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey in Washington, N.J.michael-weiner-225
Rabbi Ellen Lewis, who recently retired after 19 years at the temple, told me about one of Weiner’s students.
“There is a young boy coming up for bar mitzvah this year,” she wrote in an e-mail from Japan, “who considered moving his date earlier so Mr. Weiner could be there. Since each child chooses a mitzvah project during the 7th grade year, this boy chose Voices against Brain Cancer because he wanted to help Mr. Weiner.”
Voices actually became a school-wide project a year ago for its annual 5K run-walk when the organization honored Weiner. The temple had one of the largest teams, if not the largest, in this year’s event, which was held just four days before Weiner died.
Posted: November 29, 2013 at 11:25 AM | 10 comment(s)
Monday, November 25, 2013
Hundreds of mourners, including commissioner Bud Selig and embattled Yankee Alex Rodriguez, journeyed to Paramus, N.J., on a bitterly cold Sunday and packed Robert Schoem’s Menorah Chapel for the memorial service of Michael Weiner, the late executive director of baseball’s Players’ Association.
Weiner, who died Thursday at 51 from brain cancer — he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in August 2012 — was eulogized by his wife, Diane Margolin, and Rabbi Mary Zamore in a 40-minute service that included proinent names from all corners of baseball. They included Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, super agent Scott Boras, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, former Mets GM Omar Minaya, Mets PR chief Jay Horwitz, MLB COO Rob Manfred and former players David Cone, Al Leiter, Bobby Bonilla and Frank Thomas. Don Fehr, Weiner’s predecessor (and now the NHL’s union chief) as well as Tony Clark, Weiner’s successor, also attended.
“I’ve been thinking about how to address you on this occasion since August of ’12, when an aggressive, cancerous tumor invaded Mike’s brain. I imagined this day to be far, far off, but I knew it was coming. And I knew when it would come, I knew you’d come, because you loved Mike, and because you know how much Mike would want us to be here together,” [his widow] Margolin said. “Our Mike, he lived an intentional, mindful, truthful and honest life, and I need all those words to say it, and I need to say it again. Our Mike, he lived an intentional, mindful, truthful and honest life. And this led to much happiness for him and all of us around him.”
Posted: November 25, 2013 at 11:37 AM | 4 comment(s)
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Condolences to his family.
Baseball players’ union head Michael Weiner has died 15 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He was 51.
The union says Weiner died Thursday at his home in Mansfield Township, N.J.
Weiner was a plain-speaking labor lawyer known for his casual dress and easygoing manner. He took over as head of the powerful union four years ago and helped smooth its often-contentious relationship with MLB management.
A succession plan was put in place last summer that will lead to former big league All-Star Tony Clark taking over Weiner’s role as executive director.
Posted: November 21, 2013 at 09:07 PM | 34 comment(s)
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Changing the posting rules gets more and more complicated every day.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Ron Washington just got a new way to mess up games.
The biggest change from the expanded replay system that was originally unveiled at the last owners’ meetings in August at Cooperstown, N.Y., is that managers will get a maximum of two challenges that can be used at any point in the game. The original plans was to allow managers one challenge in the first six innings and two more from the seventh through the end of the game.
MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred said a final decisions of whether managers get one or two challenges has not been made and will be part of the negotiations with the players and umpires.
The rest of the plan remains basically unchanged, including a manager retaining the challenge if he wins his appeal.
That will likely end most manager/umpire arguments because if a manager disagrees with a reviewable call, his only recourse would be to use a challenge. Managers would not be able to argue a reviewable call in a bid to get it overturned without the use of replay.
About the only situation where a manager could still argue would in situations not open to review, such as defending a player or questioning an improper substitution.
Monday, November 11, 2013
That The Greatest Scandal That Absolutely Ever Was has come down to a faceoff between Rodriguez and Selig is proof enough of what a comic opera the whole escapade has been from the beginning. The hysteria over PEDs in baseball — and, thus, in every sport — has unfolded the way in which all drug hysterias in the history of this country have unfolded. It has been fueled by misplaced moral panic, anecdotal evidence, anonymous slander, and a fundamental disregard for legal and constitutional safeguards — all in the service of what has been sold as a greater good by executives and media members who became famous or wealthy in the pursuit. It has been an exercise in simplistic moralism, so why shouldn’t it come down to one villain and one hero? The whole thing has been a scary story for children right from the jump.
Goodnight vials of pee and blood
Goodnight verdicts that are duds
Goodnight spokesmen flinging mud
Posted: November 11, 2013 at 09:05 PM | 18 comment(s)
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Bud Selig’s invisible hand.
For the last two decades, Selig has been less a dictatorial overlord than a steward whose job has been to guide the functioning, faux-competitive monopoly of Major League Baseball with an even, unobtrusive hand. When you look at his tenure this way, you begin to notice not just that it has been enormously successful for the people he serves—the owners of baseball teams—but that his great achievements have an air of passive inevitability. Like a manager with a steady grip on his team, Selig’s style has been to let the game grow without f*****g anything up too badly.
Posted: October 24, 2013 at 03:52 PM | 6 comment(s)
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