When sports owners attack

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This isn’t about baseball but it’s fun anyway.  One day I hope to anger a baseball owner this much. Sadly, however, I don’t think there are any baseball owners as crazy, awful and mean as Dan Snyder is:

There’s no question Redskins owner Dan Snyder had a few problems with a cover story about him in Washington’s City Paper in November.

At the moment, in fact, Snyder is fighting mad.

Snyder has objected to the article that detailed some of his controversial actions as team owner and other reports about him in the weekly publication, and has threatened legal action against the newspaper. He also is seeking the dismissal of the article’s author, staff writer Dave McKenna.

Gotta love it when a billionaire goes after the head of an alt-weekly writer. Priorities, you know.

I think the more interesting part of this is that Snyder’s lawyers contacted the Washington Post and asked the Post to save emails between McKenna and the Post’s blogger Dan Steinberg.  Those two are friends, it seems.  The Post describes the move thusly:

The attorneys said they intend to explore whether there was any agreement between McKenna and Steinberg to cross-promote McKenna’s pieces on Snyder. Steinberg routinely links to sports content across the Web.

Um, whatever. I have a lot of friends in the media and greater blogosphere. Here’s how that works: “Hey Craig! If you’re interested I wrote a post about [subject] that you might like.  Hope all is well, Sincerely, Writer.”  It’s nice to get the heads up about such things.  Who knew that emails like that are “agreements to cross-promote” that are subject to pre-litigation discovery hold orders?

Whatever the case, even if McKenna’s piece was defamatory — and a quick reading of it doesn’t reveal anything that sticks out as such —  it strikes me that there are better ways to handle it than to sic your lawyers on newspapers in such a hamfisted way.  How about this: a nice email explaining the problems you have with the article. If nothing is done after that, file suit.  If you don’t have the stones — or the facts — to file suit, let it lie, lest you make yourself out to be a bigger ass than the original article made you out to be in the first place.

Of course, that would be sensible, and this is Dan Snyder we’re talking about here.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.