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.

Claire Smith becomes the first woman to win the BBWAA’s Spink Award

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ESPN
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The Baseball Writers Association of America has elected Claire Smith the winner of the 2017 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. She becomes the first woman to be given baseball writing’s highest honor. She will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 30.

Smith, 62, covered the New York Yankees for five years beginning in 1983 for the Hartford Courant before becoming a columnist with the New York Times. She later served as an editor and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1998-2007. She is now ESPN’s news editor of remote productions, responsible for the integration of news and analysis in live game broadcasts and the Baseball Tonight and Sports Center studio programs. She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and winner of three New York Times Publishers’ Awards.

Smith was named Sports Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists in 1997, received the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association of Women in Sports Media in 2000 and the Sam Lacy Award at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame in 2010. She has served on the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee and was the chair of the New York chapter of the BBWAA in 1995 and 1996.

There will be Under Armour logos on the front of baseball uniforms

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Under Armour
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Yesterday’s announcement that Under Armour will be taking over the MLB uniform business brought with it an added bit of news: for the first time, beginning in 2020, baseball uniforms will feature the maker’s logo on the front of the jersey. From Paul Lukas of UniWatch:

While the Majestic logo has appeared on MLB sleeves, the Under Armour logo will be appearing on the upper-right chest area.

Lukas has a bunch of Photoshopped images of MLB players wearing uniforms with UA logos on it to give us a sense of how it will likely look.

It’s certainly weird and in some cases even a bit jarring. It would be my preference not to see baseball uniforms go this route as I think they’re aesthetically pleasing parts of the game in and of themselves. But it’s inevitable. If there is a chance for leagues and sponsors to make money and if it doesn’t cause them to lose fans (i.e. lose money) they will take it. You can say you’ll give up baseball if they put corporate logos — including paid advertisements, not just the logos of the companies which make the gear — but you’re lying to yourself about that. You and I will complain and grumble and then we’ll get used to it. At some point, after a couple of years, we’ll start talking about which ads look better and which ones look worse and applaud particularly savvy and pleasing looking logos.

As I wrote back in April when the NBA approved ads on uniforms, there may even be a bright side to all of this.

Sports teams have had it both ways for a long time. They’ve worked to make a buck off of anything that isn’t nailed down all the while pretending to be something greater than any other business. They play on our nostalgia and our loyalty in order to portray themselves as something akin to a public trust or institution, entitling themselves to perks no other businesses get and the avoidance of regulation. By turning players into walking billboards, perhaps the four major North American sports will inadvertently make some folks realize that they are just businesses and that they aren’t deserving of such special treatment.

I’m not holding my breath about that, but anything that takes away even a bit of the faux public trust luster that sports leagues and teams use to manipulate their fans is a good thing. Maybe it’ll make, say, the Yankees or the Dodgers look less venerable and sharp. But maybe it’ll remind people that they’re just business units of a $10 billion industry, not some fourth branch of government or whatever.