Grady Sizemore sics his lawyers on a blogger

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The Diamondhoggers blog put up a couple of those oh-so-sexy photos of Grady Sizemore yesterday.  Last night, Sizemore’s lawyers sent them a cease and desist letter, threatening suit if they don’t take them down.  I haven’t practiced law since last Friday, but I suppose I can brush off the rust and parse this bad boy:

“It has come to our attention that you are posting a number of photographs of Mr. Sizemore that are his property. The photographs, which were stolen from a personal computer . . .”

Oooh, clever lawyer.  Stolen from “a” personal computer. Not “Mr. Sizemore’s” personal computer. A small distinction, but one that had to be made because every single article on the topic has reported that the pics were stolen from the computer of one Brittany Binger — Grady Sizemore’s girlfriend — after Sizemore sent them to her.  Which means that the photos aren’t Mr. Sizemore’s property. Unless Grady gave them to Binger on a lease with an option to buy.  If a letter should be coming from anyone it should be coming from Binger’s lawyer. Maybe Sizemore has a copyright complaint as the photographer, but I don’t think that’s what is really animating this letter, do you?

“. . . the posting of pictures known to be stolen is an invasion of Mr. Sizemore’s property and may be actionable at law. Such posting, therefore, subjects the Website, you, your employees and principals, and all individuals/entities associated with this activity to serious potential liability.”

Oh noes!! Not Serious Potential Liability!! Is that like Double Secret Probation?

Look, the key word here is “may.” The law on this varies from state to state, but to sue someone for invasion of privacy, there has to be some sort of an intrusion on one’s private affairs or the revealing of one’s private information, with “private” being defined (roughly) as “stuff no one knows,” not “involving one’s privates.”

Setting aside the fact that these pics were all over the Internet before Diamondhoggers posted them, if I was defending the case I’d feel pretty comfortable arguing that Grady lost any claim to privacy the moment he hit “send” and transported the pics over any number of servers and to any number of potential recipients, intended or otherwise.

“We trust that you can appreciate the serious nature of this situation . . .”

Serious? sorry, I saw the pics and there’s nothing serious about them. They’re absolutely hilarious.

“We ask that you preserve any records associated with the submission of the photographs to you in anticipation of a criminal complaint to be filed with local law enforcement.”

Great moments in boilerplate threat-letter language. I’m not sure where the writers of Diamondhoggers live, but I’m guessing that it’s in a jurisdiction where law enforcement officials don’t give a diddly durn about Grady Sizemore’s girlfriends’ pictures being reposted on the Internet. What, you think McNulty, Bunk, Freamon and Pryzbylewski are sitting in the dingy offices of the Nudie Internet Pic Takedown detail just waiting to spring into action?  If anyone goes after anyone for this it will be feds going after the person who hacked the computer in the first place, and even then, this sort of thing isn’t high on anyone’s list.

“Should you fail to comply immediately with the terms of this letter, we will be forced to explore all available remedies against the Website and you.”

Sorry, your threat letter pretty much constitutes all the remedies there are.

Look, it’s obviously a crime to hack someone’s computer, and if Sizemore’s girlfriend’s computer was hacked, whoever did it should have their butt in a sling (and if they’re liable to anyone it’s his girlfriend, not Sizemore).  But these poor bloggers didn’t hack anything. They merely posted something that about umpteen hundred other websites posted yesterday, long after the initial crime — assuming there even was one — took place.

A cease and desist letter like this — coming from the legal arm of Sizemore’s agents, by the way — is an exercise in P.R. damage control, and a hamfisted one at that.  Sizemore showed some bad judgment in taking these pics of himself and sending them into cyberspace. Anyone who has been alive for the past decade or so knows that what happened with them — their ultimate release to the public — was inevitable.

Most people in Sizemore’s situation would probably take this as a learning experience, hope it all dies down quickly and move on. Sizemore decided to release the legal hounds to harass bloggers.  Which is a pretty weak move on Grady’s part in my mind.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: