Roberto Alomar accused — again — of concealing HIV


In February 2009, Roberto Alomar was sued by an ex-girlfriend, who accused him of (a) being HIV positive; and (b) infecting her having sex with her without telling her of his status. The most notable thing about it at the time, I think, was the girlfriend’s salacious narrative in the complaint itself, in which she described Alomar as being extremely sick and possibly near death from late-stage AIDS.  The suit settled quickly, and because Alomar made public appearances soon afterward looking like regular old Roberto, most people assumed the other parts of the suit were inaccurate too, and that it was settled simply to dispose of the nuisance.

Now another suit has been filed against Alomar alleging that he had sex with someone despite knowing that he was HIV positive and without telling her. This time it’s his soon-to-be ex-wife. Who, at the time of the last suit, was his girlfriend and vigorously defended Alomar against the old girlfriend’s accusations. Her name is Maria Del Pilar Rivera. She’s a former model and television personality in Puerto Rico. She also recently accused Alomar of domestic violence in Miami.

No one knows what goes down in a marriage except the people in it, so we have no idea if what Rivera is saying is true. It’s worth noting that this is the second sworn complaint filed against Alomar to this effect. It’s also worth noting that at the time of the last one, Rivera accused the plaintiff of being a liar.  Given these facts, her suit could just as easily be righteous as it could be an exercise in opportunism in advance of a big divorce settlement. If we’ve learned anything recently, we’ve learned that crazy stuff can come out of divorce cases. Sometimes it’s true. Sometimes it’s not.

Hopefully this works out well for everyone involved and we can spend the winter talking about how the BBWAA had better not screw Alomar out of his rightful place in the Hall of Fame again as opposed to this depressing nonsense.

Spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws

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Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post reports that, according to three congressional officials familiar with current talks, an upcoming spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws. This is an issue we have spent some time covering here. A bill proposed in 2016, H.R. 5580, would have amended language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which would have made it so minor leaguers wouldn’t be protected under a law that protects hourly workers. There is also an ongoing class action lawsuit over unfair labor prospects.

As DeBonis notes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is among the representatives backing the measure. The provision specifically concerning minor leaguers didn’t appear in any of the draft spending bills, but DeBonis spoke to officials familiar with the negotiations under the condition of anonymity who said it was under serious consideration by top party leaders.

DeBonis got a comment from Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner. He said, “We’re not saying that [minor league pay] shouldn’t go up. We’re just saying that the formula of minimum wage and overtime is so incalculable. I would hate to think that a prospect is told, ‘You got to go home because you’re out of hours, you can’t have any extra batting practice.’ It’s those kinds of things. It’s not like factory work. It’s not like work where you can punch a time clock and management can project how many hours they’re going to have to pay for.”

O’Conner said as much in an interview back in December. It’s an extremely disingenuous deflection. O’Conner also said, “I don’t think that minor league baseball is a career choice for a player.” This is all about creating legislation that allows Minor League Baseball to keep money at the top, which is great if you’re a team owner or shareholder. If they could get away with it, every owner of every business would pay its employees as little as possible, which is why it’s important to have unions and people keeping an eye on legislation like this that attempts to strip laborers of their rights in the dead of night.

Minor league players need to unionize. Or, better yet, the MLBPA should open their doors to include minor leaguers and fight for them just as they would a player who has reached the majors. Minor leaguers should be paid a salary with which they do not have to worry about things like rent, electricity, food, and transportation. They should be provided healthcare and a retirement fund. And if anyone tries to tell you it’s not affordable, MLB eclipsed $10 billion in revenues last year. There’s plenty to go around.

The owners are banking on this legislation passing and labor still coming in excess due to young men holding onto the dream of making the major leagues. According to CNN, “far less than 10 percent of minor league players ever get the chance to make it to the major leagues.” Some of these players have forgone college to work in baseball. They arrive at the park in the morning and leave late at night, putting in far more than your standard eight-hour work day. Since their bodies are their vehicle for success, they have to exercise regularly and vigorously off the field while maintaining a healthy diet. (And teams are still reluctant to invest even the smallest amount of money to ensure their young players eat well.) Minor leaguers make tremendous sacrifices to pursue their dream and now Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress to legalize taking further advantage of them.