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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

MLB in talks to implement opioid testing as early as 2020

In the wake of the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs from a mixture of oxycodone, fentanyl, and alcohol in June, Major League Baseball is in talks with the Major League Baseball Players Association to start testing MLB ballplayers for opioids as early as the 2020 season.

“We have been in active discussions with the Players Association about changes to our joint drug program to address opioid use, and I am cautiously optimistic that we will find common ground on this very important issue,” deputy commissioner Dan Halem told The Athletic on Monday.

According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, both parties have come to the table and are receptive to the change, a major departure from the past when MLB and the MLBPA butted heads on expanded testing for performance-enhancing drugs. There is currently no testing for opioids under the Joint Drug Agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, though opioids are a banned substance.

Skaggs’ death, which devastated the Angels and all of MLB, is the impetus for this possible change. The cause of death was unknown until the end of August, when the Tarrant County (Texas) Medical Examiner announced that Skaggs had choked on his own vomit after ingesting a combination of two opioids (oxycodone and fentanyl) and alcohol. In mid-October, ESPN reported that an Angels employee, himself addicted to opioids, had sold Skaggs and several other Angels players opioids. It was also reported that several Angels employees knew about Skaggs’ addiction to opioids for months or even years, and did nothing to help him receive treatment.

As always, my apologies- the source article is behind a paywall for me.

 

QLE Posted: October 16, 2019 at 12:40 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, opioids, testing

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Rags to riches: MLB to open NYC retail store at new offices

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s new office will have a rags-to-riches component.

The commissioner’s office said Monday it will open its first permanent retail location in the U.S., the MLB Flagship Store, next summer.

MLB is moving its offices in January to the west side of midtown Manhattan, near Rockefeller Center, in the tower above the retail store. The sport has been in its current offices, near Grand Central Terminal, since 1999. The new location will also house Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which has been farther downtown in Chelsea.

Is it just me, or does this feel like a peculiar combination of operations to want to have in the same building to any of you?

 

QLE Posted: October 15, 2019 at 12:46 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, mlb, retail

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Major League Baseball has an opioid problem. Now what?

Jumping ahead to materials not being discussed in other threads:

But there’s a broader problem here: is it not starting to look like Major League Baseball has a major, major problem with opioid addiction?

One player is dead. A team employee — also an addict — was involved in the player’s drug acquisition and use. And not just some rogue outside trainer or a guy who wears a mascot costume. It was a long-standing and high-ranking front office employee. And that’s before you get to the part where, if he is to be believed, a full 20% of the Angels’ big league roster abuses opioids as well.

Which is to say that Major League Baseball, in all likelihood, does have a major, major problem with opioid addiction. It seems logical that it would extend beyond the Angels, at least. From gambling and throwing games in the early days of the game to alcohol addiction during its alleged “Golden Age” to cocaine in the 1970s and 80s and on to PEDs in the 90s and early 2000s, vice and/or addiction in Major League Baseball always — always — extends to more than one club. Players on other teams are rivals but they’re also friends, interact and socialize both during and after the season. They all face the same pressures and temptations and are thus all subject to the same addictions. And that’s before you acknowledge — which we must — that the opioid epidemic our nation has seen over the past decade respects few if any social, cultural, or economic boundaries. If five guys on a team are using, you can bet there are many more on other teams as well.

So what does Major League Baseball do about it?

Some thoughts on a broader issue in the sport, by a longtime site associate.

 

QLE Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:18 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, opioids

Thursday, August 15, 2019

MLB Should Threaten Tanking Teams With Relegation

Jumping ahead to the key part of the argument:

How do you fix that, though? Simple: You make losing as painful as possible, and in that vein, there’s no better way to stop tanking in baseball than to borrow a page from the Premier League’s book and institute relegation. At the end of the season, the six worst teams in the majors—three from each league—are sent down to Triple A. If the Orioles aren’t capable of contending at the major league level, then they shouldn’t be here. Nor should the Tigers or the Marlins or the half-dozen other teams seemingly content to waste everyone’s time.

I think this would be entertaining- but, then again, my hometown probably would end up with an MLB team if this rule were applied this season, and we aren’t likely to ever get one any other way.

 

QLE Posted: August 15, 2019 at 05:04 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, relegation, tanking

MLB can appeal to a younger audience by embracing what’s behind the curtain

NEW YORK — They’re selling T-shirts that read “Savages in the Box,’’ a slightly-sanitized version of Aaron Boone’s now famous three-week-old tirade, in the Yankee Stadium souvenir shops.

The shirts are $40 a pop and the lady behind the counter told me she can hardly keep them on the shelves.

The players are wearing them in the clubhouse, too, and there is even a sportswriter version, reading “Savages in the Press Box,’’ which goes for a mere $25.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball would like to pretend, at least publicly, that baseball players and managers don’t really talk like that.

I know that this is a losing battle (and that, for various reasons, this site’s a bad place for it even more than many others), but is the debasing of civil society and the devolution into sociopathy really something we should be celebrating? When you’re using a wrestling promoter whose career can be summarized quite adequately as “low-life” as a positive, isn’t it a sign that your argument is terrible? In a world where “passion” sums up every jerk with a Twitter account, is it really something we need more of?

QLE Posted: August 15, 2019 at 04:11 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron boone, decorum, mlb

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Are Any Of MLB’s Breakout Teams For Real?

Statheads know that it usually takes roughly 70 games for baseball results to really start meaning something. On the first day of May a year ago, the New York Mets were 17-9 and the Los Angeles Dodgers were 12-16. Needless to say, both these teams’ fortunes would change: The Mets immediately collapsed into oblivion; the Dodgers went 80-55 the rest of the way and made the World Series. So the sensible move would be to sit tight and ignore the standings for a few more weeks.

But we obviously aren’t going to do that — it’s too much fun to speculate about which hot starts are for real. And MLB’s first full month had plenty of interesting results: As some favorites’ playoff chances have receded, other teams have put themselves in strong postseason position already. Here are the teams that have improved the most in our MLB Elo ratings since opening day:

....

We can break the most improved teams into a couple of groups. One features teams that were on the edge of contention before the season and whose hot starts solidified them as teams to be reckoned with in the playoff race. The other contains clubs who were not “supposed” to be this good (or even good at all) in the eyes of the preseason projections. These teams are in an interesting spot because their playoff odds are still low despite their promising showings. So how well they maintain their surprising performances will have a big effect on their decision-making around July’s trade deadline.

A consideration of team performance so far- something to bookmark for future months, to see how things change.

 

QLE Posted: May 02, 2019 at 06:07 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, statistics, teams

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

MLB seeing continued surge in home runs

With a home run on Monday or Tuesday night, Cody Bellinger will enter May with 15 home runs, which would be a record. Currently, Bellinger and Christian Yelich this season have joined Albert Pujols (2006) and Álex Rodríguez (2007) as the only players to hit 14 home runs by the end of April.

Bellinger, however, isn’t the only player surging in home runs. The entire league is. According to Baseball Reference, the league is averaging 1.33 home runs per game, which would be by far a record if the season were to end today. The previous record was set in 2017 at 1.26. Before that, the record was 1.17 in 2000, believed by many to be around the apex of the “steroid era.” The homer rate per game was actually well below 1.00 as recently as 2014 (0.86).

A reminder that, if you want to watch home run derbies, that most of the 1960 series is on YouTube.

 

QLE Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:22 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cody bellinger, home runs, mlb

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

One player, four drafts: The remarkable tale of Dave Winfield’s draft history

Imagine what would happen if a guy like Dave Winfield — a phenomenal athlete drafted by four (!) different pro leagues — showed up in 2019.

Zion Williamson and Kyler Murray would be afterthoughts. NBA Twitter would establish churches in his honor. NFL draft tape-eaters would look for the slightest sign he wasn’t Serious About Football. Baseball fans would praise him as the game-saving messiah. Knicks, Mets and Giants fans would tear New York apart. Sports talk radio and daytime talk shows would fire off takes hot enough to be seen from orbit. It’d be glorious anarchy.

Dave Winfield isn’t walking through that door, even though he’d probably still get drafted if he did. He remains one of the few athletes in American sports history to get drafted by more than one pro league, and as Thursday’s NFL draft tipoff nears, it’s worth considering just how far we’ve come … and just what a remarkable cat Winfield was.

A consideration of what kind of athlete Dave Winfield was, and (less directly) how much we lost when drafts became media events.

 

 

QLE Posted: April 23, 2019 at 04:19 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: aba, dave winfield, draft, mlb, nba, nfl

 

 

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