There’s a story in the New York Times today about some of the things the judge in the Texas Rangers’ bankruptcy said during meetings with counsel in his chambers regarding the contentiousness of the case. The comments, which were tape recorded, were all great fun. My favorite:
“I don’t like what’s been done to it, with the designated hitter and interleague play and an interminable playoff. But I used to love baseball, and I can talk baseball with — at least in terms of people like Whitey Ford and Bob Turley and their ilk — until hell freezes over.”
A man after my own heart!
Mostly, though, this all spoke to the frustration the judge had with a bunch of people — including Chuck Greenberg himself — who did not put their best foot forward during the litigation. And this comment, which will likely get a lot of play because of the example he used, is actually pretty telling:
As Lynn and the lawyers discussed the qualifications of potential auction bidders, he said that it would “make perfect sense” for baseball to reject someone from the Russian Mafia or institutionalized gambling. But, he suggested, “If the buyer is Barack Obama, however, I would not want you to say, ‘No, we don’t accept Democrats or black people.’ Do you understand me?”
I understand it. I understand it as a judge who is highly skeptical and disapproving of Major League Baseball’s claim that it can simply approve or disapprove of owners at its whim. And I remain convinced that one day a court will get an opportunity to pass on baseball’s rule in this regard, and blow it the hell out of the water as the idiotic and anti-competitive anachronism that it is.
On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.
The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.
Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:
While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.
Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.
It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.
With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.
Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.