Thursday, May 14, 2015
Baseball and hockey fans can seek to change the way professional games are aired, a judge said in allowing them to sue as a group over claims that Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League violate antitrust law in their control of television and Internet broadcast rights.
Fans sued the leagues, individual clubs and regional TV sports networks, along with Comcast Corp. and DirecTV LLC, claiming the practice of dividing live game broadcasts into exclusive territories, protected by local blackouts, is anti-competitive.
“Every class member has suffered an injury, because every class member, as a consumer in the market for baseball or hockey broadcasting, has been deprived of an option—a la carte channels—that would have been available absent the territorial restraints,” U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in New York said in an opinion Thursday.
Thursday’s ruling focused on whether the fans can sue as a unified class. Scheindlin said they could but, in a victory for the leagues, barred them from seeking money damages as a group.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Former Devil Rays infielder Julio Lugo (2003-2006) has been charged in court with kidnapping, according to multiple reports out of the Dominican Republic.
Lugo last professionally played baseball for los Leones del Escogido, and last played stateside for the Braves in 2011.
Lugo’s arrest warrant was issued in the cities of La Romana and Santo Domingo for kidnapping and the posession of fire arms. According to the paper, Lugo and four men held their hostage and his girlfriend at gunpoint, demanding money that had allegedly been invested in a business venture.
A rough translation of the article includes how Lugo had, “always been willing to talk about it, assuring him that the money invested in the company, as well as that of other investors, was sure.”
Does A-Rod even exist?
According to two sources familiar with the situation, when Rodriguez goes deep with number 660, the Yankees will have a precise period of time — two weeks, as per one of the sources — to declare this as a marketable milestone. If they were to do this, then Rodriguez would sign over the rights to his image and associated branding for the price of $6 million.
The same drill would go into effect should A-Rod tie Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Bonds (762), as well as pass Bonds with his 763rd homer.
But the Yankees have no intention of making such a declaration, as they feel A-Rod’s rich history of illegal performance-enhancing drug usage renders his accomplishments unmarketable. Once the Yankees formalize this decision, then A-Rod has a set period of time — 30 days, according to one source — to file a grievance. Though Rodriguez has shied away from publicly discussing this, every indication is that he will challenge the Yankees’ interpretation of the side deal.
Major League Baseball will support the Yankees’ efforts in such a grievance, and the Players Association will lead the charge for A-Rod. Independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, the same man who reduced Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension to the entirety of the 2014 season, would hear the case.
The Yankees must prove they utilized good faith in declining to notate A-Rod’s homer as a milestone, and the Yankees already are taking precautions to avoid giving the Rodriguez camp more ammunition.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
$55 million of your tax dollars, all for this.
or obstructing justice, a development that could help the former San Francisco Giants slugger win a place in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
The decision by an 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals leaves prosecutors without a single conviction against Bonds, who was the subject of a years-long investigation into illegal steroid use and was tried in 2011 in a federal court in San Francisco. The jury hung on perjury charges and convicted Bonds only of obstruction for giving a long-winded answer.
In an unsigned 10-1 ruling, the court said there was insufficient evidence that Bonds’ rambling reply was material and that he may not be retried….
“In this particular case, we must determine whether a single truthful but evasive or misleading answer could constitute evidence of obstruction of justice,” Judge N.R. Smith wrote in another concurrence, signed by three judges. “It could not.”
Congress could not have intended that the obstruction law apply so broadly, Smith said.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Leading off…..Roberts…..John Roberts….
For the first time in four decades, the U.S. Supreme Court will have an opportunity to reconsider baseball’s notorious exemption from antitrust law. On Wednesday, the city of San Jose, California filed an appeal with the nation’s highest court, asking it to overturn professional baseball’s nearly century-old immunity from the Sherman Antitrust Act.
The appeal is the latest step in the litigation surrounding the Oakland A’s proposed move to San Jose. Back in 2013, the city sued Major League Baseball claiming that the league’s failure to approve the A’s relocation violated federal antitrust law. The district court dismissed the lawsuit later that same year, concluding that baseball’s exemption shielded MLB’s relocation decisions from antitrust scrutiny. That decision was upheld earlier this year by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
While these lower courts were constrained by a series of Supreme Court precedents exempting baseball from the Sherman Act, the Supreme Court itself is not bound to follow the prior rulings. So San Jose is asking the Court to seize this opportunity to overturn baseball’s highly controversial antitrust immunity. Like any appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, however, the odds that the Court will agree to take San Jose’s appeal are rather slim.
San Jose is hoping to convince the Supreme Court to take the case by arguing that baseball’s antitrust exemption is an outdated doctrine that is harming the public interest in a variety of ways. In its Petition for A Writ of Certiorari – the formal name of an appeal to the Supreme Court – the city argues that none of the original legal justifications for the exemption remain.
Friday, April 03, 2015
In oral arguments over the preliminary injunction last week, one attorney for the rooftop owners, Thomas Lombardo, accused the Cubs of violating antitrust law, saying the team sought to manipulate ticket prices and to “bully” rooftop properties into selling out to the Cubs. He said the Cubs bought at least some stake in four of 16 rooftops and then altered plans to position signs in front of rooftops they don’t own.
But Cubs attorney Daniel Laytin said that misrepresents the relationship of the team to the rooftops. It is not one of competitor to competitor, he said, but of producer to distributor—the Cubs being the producers of baseball games and the rooftops selling views of games. Antitrust laws don’t apply in that kind of relationship, he said.
Kendall on Thursday also rejected the rooftops’ claim of an antitrust violation, including by pointing to a U.S. Supreme Court decision exempting major league baseball from antitrust laws.
Thursday, March 05, 2015
The New England Patriots, San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays have all signed onto an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage across the country, according to the Huffington Post. They are among almost 400 companies - many of which are some of the biggest corporations in the country - to support the brief. The Supreme Court will hear a case on gay marriage on April 28 and is expected to make a determination by June.
All of these teams have strong histories on LGBT issues. The Patriots’ owner, Bob Kraft, supported LGBT rights years ago and the Patriots appeared at an LGBT fundraiser years before it was en vogue. The Giants were the first team to produce an It Gets Better video in 2011, sparking a string of other MLB teams to follow suit. That list included the Rays.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Chewing tobacco is plentiful all over the league, with many players carrying a canister in their back pocket or dipping into a bag in the dugout. Having to stop that for California games? That would take some getting used to. Here’s the explanation of the bill, via Reuters:
The bill targets baseball’s ubiquitous habit less than a year after retired San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn died of cancer of the salivary glands, believed related to chewing tobacco or “dipping” it by lodging it between the lip and the gum.
Tony Gwynn was somebody I thought was a spokesman for baseball, a great role model as a person,” said Assembly member Tony Thurmond, a Democrat who represents Richmond and other suburbs east of San Francisco and the bill’s author.
“I’m hopeful that this bill will lend to his legacy, that it will help to prevent illness for young people and young athletes.”
Smoking is already banned in Major League Baseball, and the minor leagues have prohibited dipping and chewing, although some say the minor league rules are not strictly enforced. Major League Baseball strongly discourages the use of smokeless tobacco, but has not banned it.
Friday, February 20, 2015
“Where I was wasn’t the same kind of thing you may have seen on TV or the movies,” Werth said. “That goes for the guys that were in there. The inmates were very supportive. The guards were very supportive. Nats Nation holds no bounds. It’s grown a lot since I got here, I’ll say that. It wasn’t so bad I’m like a different person. It was just an experience you went through. You get over it. You get through it.”
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Not as bad as Ted Williams’ fate. Yet.
Ernie Banks, the beloved Cubs great who once said he wanted to have his ashes scattered at Wrigley Field, is at the center of a battle over his remains, as his estranged wife has gone to court to prevent a longtime friend of “Mr. Cub” from having his remains cremated. . . . According to court records, Elizabeth Banks filed a petition to prevent a woman who describes herself in the documents as a longtime friend of Ernie Banks, his caretaker and the executor of his estate from having him cremated. The woman, Regina Rice, asserted her rights to dispose of Ernie Banks’ remains after his death last month at the age of 83, according to documents filed Feb. 2 by Elizabeth Banks’ attorneys. “Petitioner (Elizabeth Banks) is without recourse and shall suffer irreparable damage should Regina’s desires to cremate the remains of the decedent be granted,” she wrote.
. . .
The documents are included in what is a larger dispute over control of the Banks estate. Included in the file are documents in which Rice claims Ernie Banks was attempting to end his marriage to Elizabeth Banks, his fourth wife. The documents include a petition for divorce, signed by Ernie Banks, in which the Hall of Famer seeks to end his marriage because “irreconcilable differences have caused irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” and that Elizabeth Banks had “committed extreme and repeated acts of mental cruelty upon petitioner (Ernie Banks).”
A document titled “Last Will and Testament” and signed by Ernie Banks on Oct. 17 of last year says he was “in the process of finalizing divorce” from his wife and that he had appointed Rice as the executor of his will. Nowhere does Banks discuss what he wants done with his remains. The dispute appears to be far from over. The attorney for Elizabeth Banks at one point argues against the validity of the will, saying only that it was “allegedly signed” by Ernie Banks.
At least no one is contending Ernie wanted to be buried on a rooftop overlooking Wrigley Field.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
A look at San Jose’s appeal to the Supreme Court, touching on the history of MLB’s anti-trust exemption, as well as the baseball background of some of the current Justices:
Justice Sonia Sotomayor is famously a Yankees fan — “You can’t grow up in the South Bronx without knowing about baseball,” she once said — who has thrown out the first pitch at a game and had the team bring the World Series trophy to her Supreme Court chambers. For her Christmas present this past year, Sotomayor’s younger brother Juan commissioned a painting of three Latino former Yankees — Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.
But the other justices may be pikers compared with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., a diehard devotee of the Philadelphia Phillies. In a two-part (!) interview with a Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter in 2010, Alito displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of his team and remembered how Breyer had arranged for the team’s mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, to show up for Alito’s welcome dinner to the Supreme Court.
When Alito was 44, his wife sent him to Phillies Dream Week, the training camp for aging fans, where he turned a double-play and received the award as best fielder. “By the end of the week every single person there, I think without exception, had pulled his hamstring,” Alito said.
Justices posting at BBTF? Probably none.
The Yankee Clapper
Posted: February 10, 2015 at 08:41 AM | 8 comment(s)
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Monday, February 09, 2015
Calling all BBTF IP lawyers to litigate WalletHub vs MLB.
Evolution Finance has been locked in a trademark dispute with lawyers representing the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs for two years after Major League Baseball, on behalf of the teams, opposed their attempt to trademark the white-and-green logo.
The league asserts that the WalletHub logo bears a strong resemblance to Ws trademarked by the two teams, and that granting Evolution Finance rights to use the mark without restrictions could create confusion for customers and complications for both businesses.
Evolution Finance, for its part, sees a bully….
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
How long did Jarndyce v. Jarndyce take?
“I’m not going to say a lot about MASN because it is in litigation,” said Manfred, who took over from Bud Selig on Jan. 25. “I will say this much. I think in reasonably short order, there will be a resolution of MASN, either by the litigation being done or some other mechanism.”
When the teams couldn’t agree on what the Nats’ rights fees should be, they appeared before MLB’s Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee: Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly, New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.
The committee ruled last June 30 that MASN should pay the Nationals about $298 million from 2012-16, an average of just under $60 million—or approximately $20 million a year more than the current rights fee. When MASN didn’t comply with the arbitration award, the Nationals attempted to end the rights agreement.
The Yankee Clapper
Posted: February 04, 2015 at 08:27 PM | 6 comment(s)
Friday, January 16, 2015
In a unanimous ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected San Jose’s claims that baseball’s refusal to allow the A’s to move to a downtown ballpark violates federal antitrust laws. The appeals court concluded that baseball’s nearly century-old exemption from antitrust laws forecloses San Jose’s legal case.
“Like Casey,” 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski wrote, “San Jose has struck out here.”
San Jose says it will appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Yankee Clapper
Posted: January 16, 2015 at 02:29 AM | 27 comment(s)
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Monday, December 29, 2014
Okay, so there is one small holdup with the public owning sports teams in the U.S., which is that the major pro sports leagues here have dedicated themselves to blocking it at every turn. McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc once tried to give the Padres to the city of San Diego as a charitable donation, but was overruled by MLB; a similar league edict later prevented the city of Pittsburgh from getting a share of the Pirates in exchange for a $20 million “loan” that was never repaid. The NFL was so freaked by the mere prospect of anyone trying to replicate the Packers that it wrote a ban on non-profit ownership into its league constitution. Congress considered a bill to pull leagues’ antitrust exemption for TV rights if they barred community ownership, but like just about all Congressional attempts to reign in sports leagues, it’s gone nowhere.
Okay, so no league is voluntarily going to allow its franchises to fall into public hands when it can keep on using its monopoly power over team ownership to extract subsidies. Is there any other way to force them to?
The answer is: maybe. And the trick lies in one of the same governmental powers that team owners use on their side in stadium deals: the power of eminent domain.
for his generous support.
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