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Thursday, February 20, 2020

A Union Divided: Astros Cheating Scandal Rocks MLB Players Association

As each day passes, the electronic sign-stealing scandal in Major League Baseball proves more irritating to those impacted by it. This is especially true for players, who are all members of the same union, the Major League Baseball Players Association. They have become increasingly willing to publicly condemn fellow union members who played for the Astros in 2017 and who engaged in a form of cheating that has elicited widespread disgust.

Astros players engineered a plot that mixed modern technology with crude sounds. Players and team officials covertly used a camera in the center field area of Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The camera recorded opposing teams’ catcher signals to the pitcher. It then transmitted images over to the Astros’ replay room. The images revealed predictive patterns as to the intended pitch type. The patterns were then shared with those in the Astros dugout and conveyed to batters through coded bangs on a trash can. The plot was so effective that the Astros won the 2017 World Series.

Revisiting the curious logic of Rob Manfred’s decision to not punish guilty players

Despite Astros players’ guilt in what MLB has termed a mostly “player-driven” scheme, commissioner Rob Manfred declined to punish any of the guilty players. Manfred instead gave them immunity in exchange for their cooperation and willingness to share information.

This was surprising on at least four levels.

Some comments on a scandal from a labor-law perspective- which, at the least, is a different one than the usual ones we’ve seen.

 

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, mlbpa

Monday, February 17, 2020

Disciplining Astros not as easy for MLB as Altuve revealing a tattoo

If only there was a strong Commissioner and no MLBPA, the players complaining about no player discipline would get the justice they are craving.

Some of their union leadership need to educate its body a little better on union/contract protections.

Even more crucial would be the aforementioned lack of notice. Four labor lawyers with first-hand knowledge of the grievance process agreed: the lack of notice from the Astros to their players would have made any case pursued by the league practically DOA. Yes, grievance hearings do now and again end with surprising results, but the probability tilted significantly toward any potential suspension being overturned, the lawyers said.

Facing that reality, the league made a value judgment: It would offer the players immunity in hopes of gathering the full story of the Astros’ sign-stealing exploits and rely upon the details of Manfred’s report to bend the public toward the idea that the league had sought and delivered justice.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:11 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mlbpa, sign stealing

Saturday, February 15, 2020

MLBPA, league discussing methods to fight electronic sign-stealing

Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich report that MLB and the MLB Players Association are in discussions on new rules to combat electronic sign-stealing. The talks come in the wake of a winter dominated by the revelations that the Astros cheated by using tech to steal signs on their way to winning the 2017 World Series, and widespread speculation that the cheating continued in one way or another into the 2019 season.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer, a prominent figure within the MLBPA and Washington’s union rep, is one of the players taking a leading role in the talks. He spoke with Rosenthal in an interview on MLB Network about the players’ goals for the new rules. Scherzer made it clear that while he takes no issue with players using the video room during games to things like analyze their swings, he has a problem with the implementation of algorithms like the Astros’ Codebreaker system. The three-time Cy Young Award winner also stated that he feels that there are too many cameras on the field.

The discussion of new rules about the proper use of video is a much-needed step for a sport that has seen its credibility damaged by cheating. While the complicated nature of the issue may prevent new rules from going into place before the start of the season, the mere fact that they’re being talked about at all is a plus. Having a universally respected player like Scherzer as the public face of the initiative is also a boon.

As always, my apologies for not using the referenced and paywalled article.

 

QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:50 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, mlbpa, sign-stealing

Friday, February 14, 2020

MLB, MLBPA make 2nd $1M donation to Negro Leagues Museum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Major League Baseball celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League by joining with the Major League Baseball Players Association to announce their second joint $1 million donation to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum,

“It commemorates baseball history, and it’s a tribute to African-American entrepreneurship in the culture that existed at the time,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday.

The privately financed museum was founded in 1990 and moved into its current facility in 1994. The Negro National League, the first Negro major league, was founded by eight entrepreneurs at the Paseo YMCA in the eastern part of Kansas City.

Part of the donation will be used to help renovate the YMCA building that will house the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center. The museum had spent more than $100,000 on the renovation when the building was damaged in 2018.

 

 

QLE Posted: February 14, 2020 at 01:05 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: charity, mlb, mlbpa, negro league baseball museum

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Tony Clark says held-up Mookie Betts trade putting ‘players’ lives in state of limbo’

Tonight, on As The Mookie Turns:

The Major League Baseball Players Association had a strong message Friday for the teams involved in the held-up Mookie Betts blockbuster deal: Resolve it quickly.

Those were the words of executive director Tony Clark, who in a statement told the teams to conclude talks or move on.

“The proposed trades between the Dodgers, Red Sox, Twins, and Angels need to be resolved without further delay,” Clark said. “The events of this last week have unfairly put several Players’ lives in a state of limbo. The unethical leaking of medical information as well as the perversion of the salary arbitration process serve as continued reminders that too often Players are treated as commodities by those running the game.”

The blockbuster three-way trade, sources previously told ESPN, would send Red Sox right fielder Betts and starter David Price to the Dodgers; Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo and Twins pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox; and Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda to the Twins.

 

QLE Posted: February 08, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mlbpa, mookie betts, tony clark, trades

Saturday, January 18, 2020

MLB releases statement clearing Angels’ Mike Trout after HGH accusation

Major League Baseball and the union issued a joint statement on Friday afternoon saying that no player has ever received an exemption to use Human Growth Hormone, reacting to a rumor about Angels All-Star Mike Trout that seeped into social media a day earlier.

While not using Trout’s name, the statement was clearly a reaction to a Thursday Instagram post – that was deleted and then retracted – alleging that Trout had received MLB approval to use HGH because of a thyroid condition.

MLB grants about 100 Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) every year, allowing players to use otherwise banned substances for legitimate medical purposes. The vast majority of them are stimulants that are prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

So, anyone have any wild and unsubstantiated rumors they wish to make up now?

 

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: mike trout, mlb, mlbpa, rumors

Friday, January 17, 2020

MLB, union: $3M to domestic violence, mental health programs

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball and the players’ union announced a $3 million grant program Thursday to support organizations that advocate for positive mental health, relationship skills and survivors of domestic violence.

U.S.-based nonprofit and global non-governmental organizations can apply over the next two years for grants up to $50,000. MLB team charities and big league players can apply for up to $25,000 in a gift-matching component of the program.

Something is decidedly off when this is what’s passing for positive news.

 

QLE Posted: January 17, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: domestic violence, mental health, mlb, mlbpa

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Report: MLBPA Files Grievance Against Yankees over Jacoby Ellsbury’s Contract

The Major League Baseball Players Association has reportedly filed a grievance on behalf of former New York Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, the MLBPA filed the grievance in an effort to regain $26 million it believes is still due to Ellsbury. In November, the Yankees converted his seven-year, $153 million contract to a non-guaranteed one and then released him because they said he received unauthorized medical treatment from Dr. Viktor Bouquette of Progressive Medical Center in Atlanta, per Blum.

Ellsbury believes he didn’t need permission from the team to receive treatment for a non-baseball-related injury or condition.

Blum noted arbitrator Mark Irvings is expected to hear the grievance unless there is a settlement. He is the same arbitrator who will decide on the service time grievance filed on behalf of Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant.

Well, Festivus is almost upon us…..

 

QLE Posted: December 21, 2019 at 12:36 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: grievances, jacoby ellsbury, mlbpa

Thursday, November 07, 2019

MLBPA investigation of Anthopoulos shows tension between owners, players

TORONTO – A window into the level of mistrust between players and owners in baseball opened at 5:59 p.m. ET Wednesday, when the Major League Baseball Players Association sent out a statement that threw a Molotov cocktail into the business of the off-season.

The union, executive director Tony Clark said in the release, is launching “an immediate investigation” into comments Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos made to reporters on a conference call earlier this week that “call into question the integrity of the entire free-agent system.”

“The clear description of club co-ordination is egregious,” Clark added.

Serious stuff, which makes you think that Anthopoulos, usually the careful and calculated sort, must have really stepped in it and said something damning.

A consideration of the tensions surrounding free agency at the current time, and how they could lead to all sorts of chaos in two years’ time.

 

QLE Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex anthopoulos, braves, collusion, free agency, mlbpa

Saturday, October 05, 2019

MLBPA chief Tony Clark calls out owners for announcing intentions to slash payroll

As has become a tradition the last few years: Several MLB owners have publicly announced that they either cannot add payroll in the future or will have to cut back from where they currently stand.

The Houston Astros may not re-sign one of the best pitchers on the planet, while Boston Red Sox owner Tom Werner wants to slash payroll by about $40 million. With teams acting like the competitive balance tax is a hard salary cap — with no matching salary floor — that’s rubbing MLB Players Association union chief Tony Clark the wrong way yet again.

“After another year of declining attendance, it seems odd that several clubs rushed to announce that they plan to sit out the free-agent market before the first pitch of the postseason had even been thrown,” Clark said, via The Athletic.

“The Hot Stove season has traditionally been about ticket sales and fan engagement. Yet several clubs are laying the groundwork for more of the same, even as franchise values skyrocket and central revenues continue to increase. These blanket proclamations send precisely the wrong message to fans, and undermine the competitive landscape that fuels interest in the game from Day 1 of spring training through the final game of the World Series.”

The Tony Clarke who sang “The Entertainer” knew this faster than this Tony Clark- and he hasn’t been with us for almost a half-century!

QLE Posted: October 05, 2019 at 12:01 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, mlbpa, payrolls, tony clark

Saturday, September 07, 2019

The juiced ball is not a “looming problem” for the players union

Players have long known it. Scientists have confirmed it. The numbers, quite clearly, bear it out. Eventually even Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball admitted it. The ball is juiced and it’s led to a massive uptick in offense.

How and why it got juiced is a tad more complicated. Major League Baseball is fully and 100% in control of the manufacturing of baseballs. They literally own the company that makes them. They say the juicing was inadvertent. A quality control issue or, looking at it another way, a function of the technology of ball-making being too good. Too exact.

At least one player, Justin Verlander, has publicly accused Major League Baseball of intentionally juicing the ball to increase offense. I have heard through the grapevine that many other players are privately discussing that, even if they’re unwilling to say it out loud. We can’t know for sure without more information, but given the history of juiced baseballs, we can’t rule it out, even with MLB’s denials. I mean, they denied the ball was different for a couple of years before finally acknowledging it, right?

At this point, the column took a sudden turn, to put it mildly…..

QLE Posted: September 07, 2019 at 12:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: juiced baseballs, mlbpa

MLB, union to discuss opioids testing after Skaggs death

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball and the players’ association will discuss the possibility of more widespread testing for opioids following the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1 before the start of a series against the Texas Rangers. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office said the 27-year-old died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his body.

A toxicology report said his blood alcohol concentration was 0.122%, well above Texas’s alcohol limit of 0.08% for driving, and 3.8 nanograms per milliliter of fentanyl.

Players on 40-man rosters are tested for drugs of abuse such as opioids only if the player-management joint treatment board finds reasonable cause, if a player has been found to have used or possessed a drug of abuse, or if a player is subjected to testing under a treatment program. All players on 40-man rosters are subject to testing for banned performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids and for banned stimulants.

 

QLE Posted: September 07, 2019 at 12:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mlbpa, opioids, testing

 

 

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