Budweiser baseball

Anheuser-Busch sues Major League Baseball

20 Comments

Anheuser-Busch has sued Major League Baseball, claiming that they had an agreement to continue their longstanding sponsorship deal that has AB brands as the official beer in every park but four of ’em. The article doesn’t list the four, but I’m guessing Coors Field and Miller Park are two of them. Maybe Toronto is a third.  My guess for the fourth: Rogue Park in Portland, Oregon, home to the new Portland expansion team, with Craig Calcaterra as their highly-paid P.A. announcer.  Or maybe I dreamed that. (UPDATE: The Blue Jays and the White Sox appear to be the other two, based on the list at the bottom of this press release).

The claim in the lawsuit is that Anheuser-Busch and Major League Baseball reached an agreement to continue the sponsorship, but then MLB reneged, demanding way more money.  Anheuser-Bush claims that baseball is “demanding unreasonable fees to sell Bud in all ballparks.”  My take: they’ve been demanding unreasonable fees to for people to buy it for decades, and AB never complained about that. $8 for a Bud Light? I’m surprised there hasn’t been a class action yet.

Anyway, all of this gives me an opportunity to pass along a factoid that I share whenever Anheuser-Busch comes up.  They were a client of mine years ago, when I was but a baby lawyer.  At my first meeting at the local brewery, the AB guys told me that it was too bad I hadn’t been around just a few years before. Why? Because all of the conference rooms used to have taps built-in to the tables, and executives and others in meetings would drink beer. 9 A.M. meeting? Sure, why not?  Just part of the culture. And this wasn’t just some old 1940s thing. They were doing it into the 90s, they said.

I realize it’s possible that they were pulling my leg on that, but a couple of other people have told me they heard the same thing. Anyone know for sure?  It’s one of those stories that I want so badly to be true.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
Leave a comment

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Duane Burleson/Getty Images
2 Comments

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.