BOB: Braun arbitrator gets the sack

MLB fires arbitrator Shyam Das

Major League Baseball made an interesting move by firing Shyam Das, who had been a permanent arbitrator for the league since 1999. He’s effectively part of a three-man board that includes an MLB representative and a union representative. Major League Baseball Player’s Association (MLBPA) head Michael Weiner had nice things to say about him but an arbitrator can be fired at any time with written notice. Of course Das’ most controversial move was ruling in favor of Ryan Braun by reversing his 50-game performance enhancing drug suspension.

Das is also an arbitrator for the NFL. Now that Das is gone, the league and the union have to agree on a replacement. If they can’t, they’ll go to the American Arbitration Association for a list of recommendations and they’ll start striking names from the list until they agree on one. Das joins a short list of arbitrators who lost their job because they ruled against MajorLeague Baseball Peter Seitz played a pivotal role by ruling against the owners in the Andy Messersmith-Dave McNally reserve clause case and Thomas Roberts was fired after he determined that the owners were colluding against free agents.

Dodgers ownership fallout

I don’t know of a single Los Angeles Dodgers’ fan who doesn’t dislike former owner Frank McCourt. That’s why many fans were angry when it looked like McCourt was still involved in some fashion with the team. The speculation is that he’s part owner of the parking garages outside the stadium but for now, the new ownership group isn’t disclosing how involved McCourt is with the team. That’s why this rundown of an interview with Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers is kind of amusing. I can understand keeping quiet about certain things, but the new Dodgers owners seemed to be downright evasive. Not a great start for them, although it will be the on-field product where they’re ultimately judged.

Is third time a charm for Steve Cohen?

Hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen has been in the baseball news for over a year now. First, he was going to invest $200 million in a minority interest in the New York Mets, but that deal fell through. Then he was the runner-up in the Dodgers sweepstakes. Now, with the San Diego Padres up for sale, Cohen may finally get his chance because he’s one of five potential buyers that have been cleared by MLB to purchase the team.

Also interested in the Padres are Peter O’Malley and his family, who were also shut out of the Dodgers deal. It’s expected that sale of the Padres will happen by the end of the year.

MLB looks at banning third-to-first pickoff move

You see it happen enough but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it work and that’s the fake to third, throw to first pick off move that right-handed pitchers can do without taking their foot off of the pitching rubber. The Playing Rules Committee has approved a proposal to make it a balk and both MLB and the umpires agree. The union has vetoed discussing the plan this year so we’re probably looking at a 2013 rule change.

MLB video rules come under legal scrutiny

A group of baseball fans has sued MLB, the teams and some of the television broadcast entities, claiming they all collude in their broadcasting of baseball games over the internet and television. The claim is that they have monopoly power over the market for broadcasts of the games and they have the power to block out competition.

It looks like the primary complaint is the blackout rules that prohibit local games from being viewed over the internet without paying an additional fee. I don’t see this going far and I also don’t see the league changing the blackout rules over this, but we’ll have to wait and see if it has legs.

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  1. RDG said...

    Shyam Das should have gotten canned right after he ruled in favor of Braun.  The Union will probably raise hell over a “player friendly” arbitrator getting fired.

  2. Paul G. said...

    Jeff Nelson was famous for trying the third-to-first move as well.  Joe DeLessio did some research and found out he only managed to pickoff someone with the move once, victimizing the hapless Manny Alexander:

    I’ve seen the move work many times on the high school and college level.  I am pretty sure I have seen it work on the major league level a couple of times too but no examples come to mind at the moment.  Still, I have absolutely no idea why MLB is the least bit interested in making it a balk.  It sounds like somebody is trying to justify their phony-baloney job and/or has an unhealthy Monk-like obsession with trivialities.  He probably wanted to ban players adjusting their cups while on camera but failed so he found another windmill to tilt.

  3. MikeS said...

    You never saw the third-to-first move work?  I guess you never saw Jack McDowell pitch.  He used to get at least a couple outs a year with it.

    I don’t understand why they would ban it.  It’s less deceptive and at least as successful as the hidden ball trick.  It just requires the runner on first to pay attention and remember that he’s still in play even if the ball goes somewhere else.  I read the linked article, the only justification is that lefties can’t do it which doesn’t seem like much of a defense since they already have a natural advantage on the much more common standard pickoff move since they don’t have to step off the rubber to throw to first.

  4. Brad Johnson said...

    I saw the third to first move work once this year already. I forget who. Also saw it work once last year. Again, I forget the players or teams involved.

    I tend to watch a couple innings of several games so it all gets confused.

  5. Brian said...

    Got it.  Looks either I’m not watching enough baseball, or the Tigers have never been good at it because I can’t remember a time it worked.

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