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Friday, February 28, 2020

By 3 to 1 Margin Americans Say Astros Investigation was a Coverup and Players Need to Be Punished

South Orange, NJ – February 27, 2020 — By a sizeable margin, a majority of Americans feel that individual players should have been punished by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for their role in the sign stealing scandal surrounding the Houston Astros.

Fifty-four percent, responding to a national Seton Hall Sports Poll this week, said yes to punishing players in what was acknowledged as a player-driven scheme.  Only 17 percent felt they should not be punished.  Twenty-nine percent said they don’t know or had no opinion.

This was consistent with public opinion in the first week of this month when 52 percent said the Astros world championship should have been taken away, and 35 percent said it should not.

The Poll was administered this week to 693 adults across the country on landlines and cellphones.  It has a +/- 3.8 percent margin of error.

Something for those among us with a deep interest in polling.

 

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, opinion, polls

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Astroenteritis Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:21 AM (#5927028)
Yes, but how many think all the other players on teams that were illegally stealing signs should be punished? Yes, the Astros didn't stop when told, the responsible GM was fired, and they deserved their punishment, but it's amusing to see all the other cheating players (from at least 2017 and 2018) getting a free pass. Of course, Americans elected the piece of human refuse in the white house, so I never underestimate pooled ignorance.
   2. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:26 AM (#5927032)
By 3 to 1 Margin, Americans Say Stupid #### All the Time on All Sorts of Topics.
   3. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:47 AM (#5927056)
The Astros may have been driving 120 MPH, but other people were going 80!!!!
   4. Ron J Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:13 AM (#5927068)
Polling returned similar results in the 80s (with recreational drugs). People by and large either don't understand that MLB's ability to discipline players is constrained by the CBA or don't care.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5927083)
RonJ -

I think it was you a week or so ago that responded to my post about the union taking the absurd position that MLB would have had to have anticipated the exact type of cheating that would go on and negotiate an expressly written punishment for it by saying that if MLB wanted broad disciplinary powers, it could negotiate that into the CBA.

That thread got buried before I got around to responding, but maybe we can pick the discussion back up? Anyway, MLB did negotiate broad disciplinary authority into the CBA in the form of Article XII(B) - the "best interests of baseball" clause. The only limitation, procedurally, is that MLB must provide notice of the discipline after it is imposed, not before - see Article XII(C) - and confer with the player before imposing the discipline (Article XII(D)).

So, as I read it, there's nothing in the CBA that would prevent Manfred from disciplining players (leaving aside the issue of immunity). Of course the players could file a grievance, but on what basis? That a specific punishment for that specific conduct isn't contemplated in the CBA? So we're back to the absurd position.

I believe you cited an arbitrator's decision invalidating Fergie Jenkins' suspension for drug smuggling as evidence that MLB would lose a grievance in this case. It's true that violating federal or state law is expressly mentioned as just cause for discipline in Article XII(B) - but was it at the time, or was that wording added in response to the Jenkins case? If it was in there at the time, I would argue that the Jenkins case was wrongly decided.

In any event, there's no reasonable argument that players actually cheating at baseball doesn't come within the scope of the "best interests of baseball" clause. The CBA does not require MLB to give specific notice w/r/t discipline before the fact. So, why do you think MLB would lose a grievance (again, assuming for the sake of discussion that immunity wasn't granted)?
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:03 PM (#5927087)
Yes, but how many think all the other players on teams that were illegally stealing signs should be punished?


I think everybody would agree that all the other teams that won a World Series title by cheating in 2017 should also have their victory stripped from the record books.
   7. Ron J Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:58 PM (#5927111)
No I didn't take that position. There is nothing to prevent the union from negotiating a broad framework on cheating. And it seems that most players want this so the union should be willing to negotiate on their behalf. And that it would be malpractice on their part to not try and nail this down as tightly as possible (in accordance with players wishes) from a procedural point of view.

The key is that MLB has never been interested in negotiating discipline. Impose it, yes.

I didn't cite Jenkins -- that was somebody else.

I did ask you what makes what the Astros were doing different than ball tampering. And why the precedents would or would not apply. (Bearing in mind that the Sutton case made it clear to MLB that they had to have clear evidence.) As it happens I believe that what the Astros did is different from (for instance) having a catcher cut up the ball for pitcher (as Elston Howard was supposed to have done for Whitey Ford) but I'm damned if I can tell you why.

Further (and in particular because of the Sutton case) I don't think they could have gotten the evidence they needed without granting the players immunity.

George Nicolau (an arbitrator heard some of the more important cases) wrote an article that explained the underpinnings of many of his rulings. I can't find the article any longer and the quotes I have used in the past are not precisely on point to the current discussion, but...

For Jenkins (which he heard iirc) there's this:

"Normally, off-duty conduct is the business of the employer only under certain limited circumstances - when it can be shown by credible evidence that the conduct directly injures the product or reputation of the business, where fellow workers reasonably refuse to work with the alleged miscreant, where the behavior renders the employee unable to perform his duties or appear at work, like being in jail, or where the conduct clearly breaches an employee's duty of loyalty to the employer.

All of this, sometimes referred to as the "vital nexus" requirement, recognizes that employers are not the guardians of the public weal or the ultimate censor of their employees' off-premises behavior, nor are they society's chosen enforcers."

And of particular import later on:

"employers of athletes should be held to the same standard as other employers - prudent, responsible decision-making considerate of all the circumstances. Some may say that I have held the Commissioner to a higher standard than that of an ordinary employer. The fact is that a Commissioner is not an employer, at least of players or managers, even though some Commissioners think they are. As stated in Howe: (where he found Vincent's ruling "fundamentally unfair" --RNJ)

what bears repeating... is that the Commissioner does not stand in the isolated position of an individual employer. He can bar the employment of a player at any level of the game regardless of the opinion or wishes of any one of a great number of potential employers. That is an awesome power. With it comes a heavy responsibility, especially when that power is exercised unilaterally and not as the result of a collectively bargained agreement as to the level of sanctions to be imposed for particular actions."

(Article's no longer online. Anybody who's interested might have some luck via the wayback machine. It was in Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal -- Fall, 1999)




   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:18 PM (#5927116)
"Normally, off-duty conduct is the business of the employer only under certain limited circumstances - when it can be shown by credible evidence that the conduct directly injures the product or reputation of the business, where fellow workers reasonably refuse to work with the alleged miscreant, where the behavior renders the employee unable to perform his duties or appear at work, like being in jail, or where the conduct clearly breaches an employee's duty of loyalty to the employer.

All of this, sometimes referred to as the "vital nexus" requirement, recognizes that employers are not the guardians of the public weal or the ultimate censor of their employees' off-premises behavior, nor are they society's chosen enforcers."
This makes sense re: Jenkins if the agreement did not explicitly contemplate discipline for breaking the law, which is why I suspect that that language was added at MLB's request after that ruling.
   9. Lassus Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:22 PM (#5927118)
Margin Americans Convinced Astros Cover-up Involves NASA.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:37 PM (#5927121)
I did ask you what makes what the Astros were doing different than ball tampering. And why the precedents would or would not apply. (Bearing in mind that the Sutton case made it clear to MLB that they had to have clear evidence.) As it happens I believe that what the Astros did is different from (for instance) having a catcher cut up the ball for pitcher (as Elston Howard was supposed to have done for Whitey Ford) but I'm damned if I can tell you why.
Just off the top of my head, interfering with or corrupting the process of communication between players seems to have a lot more negative repercussions and externalities than messing with the baseball.
   11. dlf Posted: February 28, 2020 at 03:21 PM (#5927152)
I believe this is the Nicolau article Ron mentions.
   12. Astroenteritis Posted: February 28, 2020 at 08:40 PM (#5927209)
I think everybody would agree that all the other teams that won a World Series title by cheating in 2017 should also have their victory stripped from the record books.


So, it's OK to cheat as long as you don't win? We have no way of knowing how much other playoff teams benefited from sign stealing, including the Dodgers, who the Astros suspected of stealing signs in the World Series. It's understandable that MLB can't afford a full reckoning of the scope of the cheating, they need a fall guy, but it's just silly to say Astros players should be suspended or banned when so many other teams and players were also doing it. This is NOT a defense of cheating; I've said repeatedly the Astros deserved their punishment, but the overreaction to this situation is comical.

Maybe MLB will come down hard on the Red Sox, I don't know, but there are a lot of players in MLB whose stats are not "pure" in the last 5-6 years.

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