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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Scout Hiring and Pay Practices Challenged in New Lawsuit

Who would ever believe teams would collude to suppress pay?

In a new class action lawsuit filed last week in New York federal court, former Kansas City Royals scout Jordan Wyckoff contends that MLB teams have unlawfully agreed not to compete with one another for the services of their amateur and professional scouts. As a result, the suit – Wyckoff v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball – asserts that a number of MLB scouts currently make less than the minimum wage and are not paid overtime, even when working more than 40 hours in a given week.

Wyckoff alleges that these practices not only violate the FLSA, but that they fail to comply with both federal and state antitrust law as well.

Wyckoff’s complaint (available here) begins by accusing MLB and its teams of forming an illegal conspiracy to decrease the competition for scouts. In particular, the lawsuit contends that MLB prevents its teams from negotiating with or hiring away any scout currently under contract with another franchise, unless that team has expressly granted the scout permission to talk with other clubs. Wyckoff asserts that teams will typically only grant permission in cases where the new franchise would be giving the scout a promotion (such as by hiring another team’s area scout as one of its cross-checkers), and alleges that even then teams have been known to fire a scout simply for requesting permission to talk to another club.

Similarly, the lawsuit also notes that whenever a high-level executive is hired away from one franchise by another — such as when the Padres hired A.J. Preller from Texas last year — the two teams will often agree that the departing executive will not bring other employees (including scouts) with him from his former employer.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2015 at 03:01 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: labor, lawsuit, legal, scouting

Monday, July 06, 2015

GIFs, Twitter suspensions, and social media: an open letter to MLB Advanced Media

See, when someone, say, fellow SB Nation “blogger” Grant Brisbee, posts something as innocuous as a Vine of a silly happening during a baseball game—I have no idea what it was as you can see below—the post is targeted for removal because By Jove! One of these Internet Types is stealing our banwebs! Delete the pictures and return the stolen files, although it was probably something that never would have made it onto any of MLB’s social media accounts which are notoriously ill-equipped for sharing content on the new media platform which functions on instantaneous connectivity upon which they are found….

Now what we should not do is argue for the right to set up our own little broadcasting channels in order to subvert the arm of MLB Advanced Media, who are, admittedly, trying to figure out how best to navigate this ever-changing new media network. What we should do, though, is read about how the league is trying desperately to hold onto an outdated model of ubiquitous market control in an era where television networks—television networks!—have learned to let an audience with money in its pockets use and share their product amongst themselves for free advertising.

We should wonder why MLB refuses to make 90% of their highlight videos embeddable until a day after the game airs, when studies have regularly shown that emotion is one of the most powerful tools by which to make online content go viral. Emotion, which by the way easily wanes after Nelson Cruz’ hilarious awkward slide home gathers almost 24 hours between its original posting and its availability to be embedded through MLB’s official channels. They are literally leaving money on the table.

The real question the court needs to answer is how to pronounce “GIFs”!

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 06, 2015 at 11:30 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fair use, gifs, legal, mlb advanced media, social media, twitter

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Braves minor leaguer Elmer Reyes charged with rape, kidnapping in Ohio

Yikes.

man met Reyes after Friday night’s Gwinnett Braves-Columbus Clippers game and agreed to go to a bar with him.

The woman said Reyes then paid for a hotel room because he didn’t want the women to drive after they had been drinking. One of the women fell asleep upon entering the room, and Reyes allegedly pinned the other to the bed and forced her to have intercourse.

The woman later called 911 and reported the incident. Court records show rape and kidnapping charges were filed Saturday.

Reyes, 24, is out on bond and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 2.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2015 at 03:01 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, kidnapping, legal, minor leagues, police blotter, rape

Thursday, May 14, 2015

MLB, NHL Fans May Seek to Alter How Games Aired, Judge Rules

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.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 14, 2015 at 05:02 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: blackout restrictions, broadcasting, legal, media

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Julio Lugo charged with kidnapping, gun posession

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.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2015 at 12:04 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, braves, dodgers, guns, julio lugo, kidnapping, legal, rays, red sox

Inside details of how A-Rod’s 660 fight with Yankees will play out

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.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2015 at 09:52 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, home runs, legal, milestones, willie mays, yankees

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Barry Bonds’ obstruction of justice conviction overturned

$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.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2015 at 07:47 PM | 98 comment(s)
  Beats: barry bonds, legal, obstruction of justice, peds

Friday, April 17, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court asked to overturn baseball’s anti-trust exemption

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

Judge OKs Cubs video board to block rooftop views of Wrigley

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

Patriots, Giants, Rays sign amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage

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

California lawmaker wants to ban chewing tobacco for MLB players

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.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2015 at 09:24 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: california, legal, legislation, tobacco, tony gwynn

Friday, February 20, 2015

Washington Post - Jayson Werth on jail time: ‘It’s not a destination you would choose’

“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.”

Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 20, 2015 at 01:36 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: jayson werth, legal, nationals

Saturday, February 14, 2015

ESPN: Fate Of Ernie Banks’ Remains Disputed

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.

The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 14, 2015 at 12:37 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: chicago cubs, death, ernie banks, fights, final call, lawsuits, legal, rip, wrigley field

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Washington Post: Appeal To Reverse Antitrust Rule Is A Desperate Swing For The Fences

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.


Monday, February 09, 2015

WaPo: Meet the startup in a trademark war with the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs

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….

Greg Franklin Posted: February 09, 2015 at 01:34 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: business, cubs, legal, nationals, trademark, wallethub

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

ESPN: Manfred Predicts Resolution Of MASN Dispute

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.


 

 

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