This doesn’t come from the world of baseball, but it’s a cautionary tale for any of us who, after a couple of refreshments, take to Twitter while simultaneously watching baseball games and would dare criticize the men in blue:
A Tweet by The Associated Press’ beat writer for the National Basketball Association’s Minnesota Timberwolvesthat was critical of an official could prove costly, as ESPN.com reports that NBA referee Bill Spooner filed suit against Jon Krawczynski for alleging that Spooner promised the Timberwolves a makeup call during a Jan. 24 game against the Houston Rockets.
Given that (a) NBA officials obviously give makeup calls all the time; and (b) the reputation of NBA referees in this post Tim Donaghy world is so poor, I question whether the ref has a leg to stand on. But that’s a matter for the courts now, I guess. And for the witnesses who Krawczynski will likely be able to find from that press table who will corroborate his story. And probably for the NBA and the NBA referee’s union, who couldn’t have possibly signed off on one of its officials actually suing a member of the media over something silly like this, could they have?
All I know is that if this creates any kind of precedent, I should go back and erase the tweets I made following Buster Posey being called safe on that steal attempt during Game 1 of the NLDS, because I’m sure I said things way more defamatory than the stuff Krawczynski said. I think I got into Paul Emmel’s parentage, intelligence, hobbies and/or amorous tendencies, and that was before Posey even got done brushing the dirt off his pants. His totally-out-by-a-mile-yet-was-still-allowed-to-come-around-and-score-the-only-run-in-the-game pants.
I’m guessing we’ve all had such moments. The only solution: tweet only about the dead, who can’t sue for defamation. That’s what I’m going to do anyway. Next time I see a bad call, I’m going to curse a blue streak about Eric Gregg’s strike zone in the Livan Hernandez game in the 1997 playoffs. Yes, it’s transference, but it should keep me out of court.
UPDATE: Nope, the NBA didn’t sign off on the lawsuit. And if you read between the lines, you get the sense that they aren’t at all pleased that it was filed.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.