As Bill Shaikin reported yesterday — and as Steve Dilbeck reveled in today — part of the some $2.34 million in legal bills thus far submitted to the bankruptcy court considering the Dodgers case is a half hour entry by an attorney for “reviewing press reports” relating to Dodgers’ $150 million loan from MLB. It cost McCourt $330 for that half hour.*
Some may want to guffaw at that, but in almost any case that gets press coverage, some poor sod — although usually a sod who bills less than $660 an hour — is tasked with reviewing press reports and putting together a synopsis for the legal team. Oftentimes a paralegal gets that job, but I had to do it before too.
Why do they bill for it? It’s simple, really: everyone tries their case in the press in these matters. You gotta know what the opponent is saying, what they’re hinting at doing. You have to assess whether there is some surface appeal to the opponents’ arguments as filtered through the press. You have to figure that someone who matters — be it the judge or a clerk who works for him — is reading it too. It’s just part of being prepared for the next hearing or the next brief.
But I’ll say this much: we were always told that our billing entries should not read “reviewing press reports” or anything like it. After all, the client is gonna read those entries and they don’t want to be reminded that they’re paying someone hundreds of dollars an hour to read the paper. Better to make it sound more legal-related: “research re: MLB loan” would be OK perhaps. If you really want to look like you’re adding value (while still saying very little that could be later scrutinized in a malpractice action) you could try “analysis of bridge loan with special attention paid to ancillary matters re: 8/12 hearing.”
Or, you could go vague. They tell you not to do this, but I worked with a guy who would write “analysis re: issues” on his billing entries. What kind of analysis? What kind of issues? Who cares! The client paid the bill anyway because it was the dotcom bubble years and no one ever looked at a damn bill back then. Now though? Hoo-boy.
*And I’m guessing that it was more than a half hour, even though that’s all that appears on the bill. I’m nowhere near a top news source for Dodgers bankruptcy stuff — I merely blog this junk — but I have noticed Google searches from IP addresses associated with the Dodgers’ law firms landing on my personal website. My guess is that the lawyers there are reading some post I did and then Googling me to see just who in the hell I am. If it took only six minutes to do it — the smallest increment normally billed — it cost McCourt $66. And that makes me feel good for some reason.
The Nationals have placed reliever Koda Glover on the 10-day disabled list due to a left hip impingement, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Glover said he is “extremely confident” that he’ll need only the minimum 10 days to recover.
Glover, 24, felt hip discomfort when throwing his first pitch in Tuesday’s relief appearance. He attributed it to the cold, per Janes.
Glover was one of a handful of candidates to handle the ninth inning for the Nationals. It’s been a mixed bag for him, as he has a loss and a blown save along with a 4.15 ERA and a 6/1 K/BB ratio in 8 2/3 innings.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.
According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.
It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.
Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.
Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.