Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon

Madoff trustee throws some new stuff at Wilpon and Katz

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Both the New York Times and the Post today run with the latest filing in the Bernie Madoff/Wilpon/Mets case. The allegation: in 2001 Wilpon and Katz went shopping for “fraud insurance,” and that by doing so it shows that they had reason to believe that Madoff was, in fact, a fraud, it says.

For those who forget, the trustee, Irving Picard, is claiming that because Wilpon and Katz “knew or should have known” that Madoff was a fraud, they are responsible to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars to Madoff victims, so this would be evidence supporting that, he claims.

Eh.  Look, I’m still generally skeptical of claims by the Wilpons that they were babes in the woods here, but this “shopping for fraud insurance” allegation doesn’t do much to support that in my mind.

For one thing, they didn’t buy the insurance. If they thought there was a serious risk of Madoff’s pyramid crumbling down, wouldn’t they have?

And more to the point, isn’t shopping for insurance a sign of prudence?  Just because I buy auto insurance doesn’t mean I’m gonna go crash my car into things. Just because I buy home owner’s insurance doesn’t mean I’m gonna burn the place down. I trust my doctor, but I’m damn glad he has malpractice coverage.

Insurance is just something you look into as a matter of course. You’d be shocked to see how many specialized insurance products are out there on the market. It’s almost as if insurance companies have a keen sense of how to prey on the insecurities of people in order to make a buck. They don’t mean anything in and of themselves.

So, sorry. If there were emails from back then saying “Hey, Fred! We all know that Madoff is a scam artist, so let’s buy some awesome insurance so we can skate!” fine, then it’s something. But the mere fact that someone was looking at this kind of insurance doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot for me. At best it’s spice in the gumbo. It’s not the shrimp, and without any shrimp, it’s pretty useless.

BBWAA votes to make all Hall of Fame ballots public beginning next year

Cooperstown
Associated Press
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In addition to naming the Spink Award winner this morning, the Baseball Writers Association of America voted today to make all Hall of Fame ballots public beginning with next year’s vote for the 2018 induction class.

As of now, writers are encouraged to make their votes public and, if they do, they are placed on the BBWAA website. They are not required to, however, and a great many Hall of Fame voters do not. While ballot secrecy is laudable in politics, the Hall of Fame vote brings with it a fundamentally different set of concerns and sentiment has increasingly favored transparency, as opposed to secrecy when it comes to the Hall of Fame.

While some in opposition to this move may claim that public ballots will only lead to criticism, our view is that if you can’t handle some reasonable criticism over your Hall of Fame ballot, you probably need to get out of the business of making history, which is what voting for the Hall of Fame really is.

The Yankee2 to retire Derek Jeter’2 number next 2ea2on

Derek Jeter
Getty Images
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RE2PECT: The Yankees just announced that they will retire Derek Jeter’s number 2 next season. The ceremony will take place on May 14, 2017 at Yankee Stadium.

With Jeter’s number 2 retired the Yankees will have retired 21 numbers. Twenty-two if you count number 8 twice, given that it was retired for both Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey. They also have retired 42 twice, once for Jackie Robinson, which every team has retired, and once for Mariano Rivera who donned 42 before the league-wide retirement of the number. The Yankees will also have put every single-digit number on the shelf. Except for zero, anyway, which no Yankees player has ever worn.

The retired pinstripes break down as follows:

1 Billy Martin
3 Babe Ruth
4 Lou Gehrig
5 Joe DiMaggio
6 Joe Torre
7 Mickey Mantle
8 Yogi Berra
8 Bill Dickey
9 Roger Maris
10 Phil Rizzuto
15 Thurman Munson
16 Whitey Ford
20 Jorge Posada
23 Don Mattingly
32 Elston Howard
37 Casey Stengel
42 Mariano Rivera
44 Reggie Jackson
46 Andy Pettitte
49 Ron Guidry
51 Bernie Williams