Sosa likely to skate on any perjury charge

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Congress is going to investigate Sammy Sosa for perjury:

A congressional committee will look into former baseball slugger
Sammy Sosa’s denial that he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs in
light of a report that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing
drug in 2003. The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee, Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York, says that the
committee takes seriously suggestions that a witness had been
misleading.

Towns said in a statement Wednesday that he will determine the appropriate steps following a review of the matter.

Given Tuesday’s news, there is no question that Sammy was, at the
very least, being cute with Congress during his 2005 testimony. That
said, I don’t think anything will come of this and don’t expect that
Sosa will ultimately be charged.

Why? Because Sammy never appeared to have actually said that he didn’t do steroids. He said “To be clear, I have never taken illegal
performance-enhancing drugs.” He said “I have not broken the laws of
the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic. I have been
tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.” Those statements — and
many others he made during his testimony — allow for the possibility
that he used substances that were legal in the Dominican Republic that
would have been illegal to use in the United States.

I know that such a distinction is going to make a lot of you mad, but
federal perjury law is really, really, clear in holding that responses
to questions made under oath that relay truthful information in and of
themselves, but that are intended to mislead or evade the examiner
cannot be prosecuted. Instead, the criminal-justice system requires
that the questioner — in this case Congress — diligently followup on
such answers and suss out the misleading nature of the response
themselves. A relatively non-technical summary of that law can be found here. And yes, it’s an unpopular law in some circles, but it is the law, and there are several good reasons for it being as it is.

I don’t know what Sammy Sosa took, when, and where. But neither does
Congress, and they didn’t try to obtain that information in 2005 even
though they were presented with an opportunity to do so. And believe
me, there were lawyers all over that hearing room, and you can bet that
many of them were aware of the implications of Sosa’s carefully-phrased
statements that day. If they wanted to nail him for perjury, they
should have nailed him down then.

But they didn’t, and because of that, I think he skates.

Jake Peavy is having a bad go of things right now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Jake Peavy #22 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.

As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.

Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.

The AT&T Park mortgage is paid off

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This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.

The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.

Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.

Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.