Happy Frank and Jamie McCourt trial day!

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Roger Clemens’ arraignment isn’t the only baseball related court thingee going on today. The McCourt trial starts too. At stake: the very future of the Dodgers.

Frank says the team is his. Jamie says it’s theirs. If he wins, the status quo will reign, and the Dodgers can keep on skimping on the free agent market like they have been, Frank can keep taking all kinds of money out of the team for whatever reason and the Dodgers can generally fail to put their revenue to its highest and best use from a baseball perspective. If she wins, someone’s going to have to buy someone out, so things will get worse. It’s truly inspiring!

Less-flippantly, the key question at issue will be the
validity of a post-nuptial agreement signed by the couple in
March 2004.  On its face it appears to bear out Frank’s position: Jamie got all the real estate and insulation from creditors who might go after the Dodgers one day, Frank got the team. The wrinkle: Jamie’s lawyers said recently that “newly discovered documents” change all of this, and she does too own the team.

The nuances behind all of that are complicated, but People Who Know Things tell me that Jamie’s lawyers are out to lunch on this and that Frank is in a strong position. In my experience, late-discovered documents like that are almost always either (a) irrelevant; or (b) outright bogus.  Ask yourself: if there really was a document that truly changed the equation in this regard, why would we have only heard about it a couple of weeks ago?  Sounds like posturing to me.

In any event, this case has a far bigger potential to impact baseball than the Clemens thing does, as the future of one of the game’s marquee franchises is at stake. If you can stand it, keep your eyes on it.  If not, by all means, click back here because I’ll be updating as events warrant.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.