Bill Spooner

Mind your ump-bashing this year. Unless you wanna get sued.

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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.

Late Athletics broadcaster Bill King wins the Ford C. Frick Award

bill-king
CSN Bay Area
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OXON HILL, MD — Bill King has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

King, one of the iconic voices of Bay Area sports, was known for his handlebar mustache and his signature “Holy Toledo!” exclamation. King broadcast A’s games for 25 seasons, from 1981 through 2005. He likewise broadcast Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors games and got his start as an announcer for the Giants in the late 1950s after they moved to San Francisco.

King passed away in October 2005. With the Frick Award, however, he has now been immortalized among baseball broadcasters.

Rockies sign Ian Desmond for five years, $70 million

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 07:  Ian Desmond #20 of the Texas Rangers reacts after hitting a double against the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh inning of game two of the American League Divison Series at Globe Life Park in Arlington on October 7, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Rockies have signed free agent outfielder/infielder Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million.

Desmond, 31, played his first season as a full-time outfielder with the Rangers in 2016. Before that he was the Nationals shortstop. He’ll almost certainly be an outfielder in Colorado, or else will play first base, as the Rockies have Trevor Story at short. Desmond hit .285/.335/.446 with 22 home runs, 86 RBI, 107 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 677 plate appearances, though he was much, much better in the first half than the second half.

The Rangers had placed a qualifying offer on him which he rejected, so the Rockies will have to give up their first round pick in the 2017 draft, which is 11th overall. That’s the highest pick a team can surrender under the qualifying offer system, as the first ten picks in the draft are protected.