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Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! on the damn nigh unfathomable loyalty of one Greg Anderson:
No matter what you think of Bonds, Anderson or anyone purposefully thwarting the nation’s rule of law, the level of loyalty here is something to behold. Judge Illston said last week that she can’t find a precedent “where someone was imprisoned for a year during grand jury proceedings and then called to trial and jailed again.”
Contrary to an impression you may get from time to time, I do not think that Barry Bonds is a martyr and I do not think that Greg Anderson is a hero. Or vice versa. One can't help but be impressed, however, -- in the most judgment-free fashion -- with Bonds' discipline and Anderson's resolve. We haven't seen them on 60 Minutes and, with the exception of some third hand accounts, we haven't heard much in terms of stress and strife from Bonds' camp. Roger Clemens decided not to go gentle into that goodnight. Bonds and his people have certainly chosen a different tack. As a lawyer who occasionally represents strong-willed clients, I offer my compliments to Bonds and his legal team.
Of course the elephant in the room is this:
Bonds, who made nearly $200 million in salary playing baseball, could agree to take care of Anderson and his family for his loyalty. It’s what the Corleones did for Frank Pentangeli when he played dumb at that congressional hearing.
Well, sorta. If Anderson and Bonds have never spoken about any of this and later, after the trial is over and Bonds is out of legal jeopardy, Bonds gratuitously decided to set Anderson up for life, sure, there's nothing wrong with that. The key inquiry, however, -- and one which I'm sure someone has been assigned to at least passively monitor in the U.S. Attorneys' Office -- is whether anything of value was promised or provided Anderson before now, because that would certainly not be legal. That would be obstruction of justice and bribery of a potential witnesses and all manner of other nasty stuff.
Did it happen? Lots of people have an opinion on this, but that's all it is. The truth is we'd probably never know even if it had. Because no matter what else you can say about Bonds and Anderson, you certainly have to say that they are about as cool a couple of customers as you're ever likely to see.
With the way things have been going for the Nats lately, they'd kill for even mediocre play this season. Well, for at least one day this summer, mediocre playing is exactly what will be on display in Nationals' Park.
(thanks to Charles K. for the heads up)
Not every market is FUBAR:
The stock market is tanking, while real estate values show no signs of coming back any time soon. Ten-year Treasuries are yielding less than 3% interest, as are three-year certificates of deposit.
Can't wait for the baseball-backed securities markets to get humming, then we'll all be rich! Forever!
(Thanks to Pete Toms for the link)
Darren Rovell has a piece about Ken Griffey's new contract containing a clause that gives him a substantial bonus for an unspecfied attendance bump in Seattle this year. More interesting was the rundown of past clauses:
In 1997, the St. Louis Cardinals drew 2.63 million fans. So when they signed Mark McGwire, they agreed to give him $1 per for each fan that entered Busch Stadium beyond 2.75 million. McGwire earned $445,691 extra when the home run race of 1998 brought in a then team record 3.19 million fans that season.
It's always helpful to remember that the scariest of the steroid bogeymen put so many butts in the seats that their teams saw fit to pay them millions on top of their already generous salaries for the effort. It wasn't just ballplayers who benefitted from the steroid era, folks. Teams got rich, interest was stoked, and, I suspect anyway, newspapers were sold. Any lamentation of the era that doesn't recognize that it is not worthy of serious consideration.
What's the deal with Kenny Lofton's clause? Has anyone ever thought of him as a gate attraction? Isn't such a clause in his contract akin to John Van Benschoten getting a Cy Young bonus or Otis Nixon getting one for being named People's Sexiest Man Alive? Have you ever dropped what you're doing to go to a game because Kenny Lofton was involved? Heck, he's played for just about every team by now, so I suspect everyone who has ever wanted to see Lofton play already has.
And this isn't even the first strange Kenny Lofton sighting for me this week. In the lobby of the state office tower in which I work is a display of high schoolers' artwork honoring Black History Month. Among the paintings and sketches are portraits of Martin Luther King, Jr., depictions of the March on Selma, and many other important figures and inspiring moments in Black history. Included among them -- for reasons that are totally unclear -- is a pencil sketch of Kenny Lofton. For a minute I thought it was just a poor effort at Jackie Robinson, but nope, it's even labeled "Kenny Lofton." Far be it from me to pass judgment on who is and who isn't an important figure in Black history, but I suspect that not many who are experts in the field include him in the pantheon.
This from Beanster, in the Alyssa Milano thead:
I don’t believe the Alyssa Effect has received sufficient attention by the statistical community. I took a closer look at the data based on dating information provided by this site.
Statistics don't lie, my friends. And my readers -- thankfully -- don't have lives.
This has only the vaguest of baseball connections -- the oh-so-common Moneyball analogy -- but I know a lot of lawyers read this blog, so I offer it up anyway:
When asked whether his firm might reduce prices in light of the meltdown, Linklaters senior partner David Cheyne replied, "[Clients] might have doubts as to whether a firm is really able to deliver quality at a suicide rate."
Baseball sometimes gets criticized for being hopelessly behind the times when it comes to business efficiency -- there's a reason why a business writer like Lewis was able to see what was going on in baseball before most people in baseball did -- but it has nothin' on the private practice of law. Thankfully for consumers of legal services, there are some Billy Beanes out there trying to exploit the inefficiencies.
Here's something to add to your reading list:
Alyssa Milano is in love; she has been for some time. But the object of her affection isn't the subject of tabloid gossip or an actor; in fact, it isn't even a guy. It's a game, a game of nine innings that uses a ball made of leather and cork. A game called baseball.
If I'm counsel for the Yankees or the Giants, I read this book closely, because it may very well contain an explanation as to how Pavano and Zito got totally wrecked. Maybe they can sue Milano for damages or something. I'm available for that deposition, by the way.
(thanks to Mark Armour, whose books aren't nearly as sexy as this one will be, for the heads up)
The Nats' owners could, you know, fire Jim Bowden, but instead they are standing pat and waiting for him to get arrested or something:
Washington Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden said on Monday that he has done nothing wrong. The federal investigators looking into Bowden still aren't so sure, a source familiar with the investigation said. The Nationals, meantime, are waiting to find out, and want to learn more about Bowden's possible involvement in a growing baseball-wide scandal before they determine whether he retains his job.
This is ridiculous. Bowden has already shown his incompetence through his hiring of and reliance on Rijo and his signing of Gonzalez, among many other things. The only reason the Lerners are sitting back now and hoping that this investigation bears some criminal fruit is so that they can fire him for cause or via a moral turpitude provision in his contract or something. Meanwhile, this investigation, Bowden and his Segway cast a pall over Nats' camp while Dominican free agents make a mental note not to go anywhere near the Nats for fear of having the FBI listen in on their calls. If the Lerners cared a lick about their team, they'd can Bowden now. To wait so that they can save a few bucks tells you everything you need to know about them.
If I were a Nats fan I'd probably walk up to team headquarters and pull a Thích Quảng Đức in protest of the Lerner's ownership of this team.
The L.A. Times has the latest story about a possibly imminent Manny signing. It could be true, and the reported details -- two guaranteed years and a vesting third based on plate appearances -- make sense. Best part, though, is this Scott Boras quote:
The Dodgers open Cactus League play Wednesday; Boras previously told The Times he expected Ramirez to be signed in time for spring training. "When I talk about spring training, I talk about when the games begin," Boras said.
And if the signing doesn't happen by Wednesday, he'll say "when I talk about spring training, I talk about March, because really, that's what feels like spring training to me." If it gets past Sunday, he'll say "when I talk about spring training, I talk about March 7th, because that sure is a lucky sounding day, isn't it . . ."
Hate all you want, but I sleep pretty well knowing that Scott Boras is out there somewhere, making the rest of the world seem sane and reasonable by comparison.
Because Red Sox games don't already go late enough:
The Boston Red Sox today announced that start times for 2009 regular season games played at Fenway Park previously scheduled for 7:05 p.m. will be moved to 7:10 p.m. This time change will not affect games scheduled for other start times, including Sunday match-ups as well as weekday and Saturday matinees.
Oh, and to buy beer and foam fingers and stuff. Can't forget that.