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.