UPDATE: Cashman started the presser by saying that the first the Yankees knew that Rodriguez was having problems was when Joe Girardi pinch hit Raul Ibanez for him in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Orioles. After the decision was made, Rodriguez told Girardi that his hip was keeping him from “firing” but that did not talk about it being in pain. That night A-Rod was given an MRI and no damage was found. How much pain he was in was not known until much later.
Cashman is implying that Rodriguez may have been hiding the injury. When pressed about the timing of Rodriguez telling Girardi about his hip, Cashman said “as you recall, he said before the playoffs that he felt better than he has in years.” It doesn’t sound like he’s singling A-Rod out, though, because he’s noting that players typically hide their injuries. His example: Michael Pineda last spring.
Also: Classic Cashman: asked about why this is just coming up now, he said “no one asked me a specific question about his hip.” Rather, he said, he was asked if A-Rod would be used as a DH, or if he was going to start or what. Because, yes, I’m sure Cashman would have loved to have volunteered that information if only someone had given him a chance.
Asked about replacements, Cashman was vague (of course) but he said that the Yankees are not committed to either a part-time player or a full-time player. He said they’d “run everything up the flag pole” to see what works. Which seems pretty sensible.
Cashman says that
2:10 PM: Brian Cashman is going to be here in the media room in Nashville in about 20 minutes for a press conference to, presumably anyway, talk about how A-Rod got all dead and stuff. I’ll provide the highlights here when it all goes down.
The biggest question I have — which I mentioned this morning — is how, if Rodriguez was as injured as they now say he is back in the playoffs, no one affiliated with the Yankees said anything. Instead, Rodriguez was allowed to dangle like a pinata all October, with everyone taking a whack.
The Cubs won the World Series. Now Cubs fans are going to pay through the nose for the privilege of going to games at Wrigley Field: The club has raised season ticket prices for 2017, on average, 19.5%. The rate increases range from 6% for upper deck seats to 31% for infield club seats.
As a result of the increase, the Chicago Tribune reports, a single infield box seat on the dugout for 81 games will cost $29,089.76, or $359 per game. The cheapest season ticket, for upper-deck outfield seats, is $2,139.20, or $26 per game. Those figures include tax, so it’s practically a bargain.
The Cubs cite “unprecedented demand” for tickets as the reason for the increase. That’s likely true. Cubs tickets are expensive even when they aren’t playing well due to the draw that is Wrigley Field. Indeed, for years, when the product on the field suffered, there was a sense that people would go to the ballpark just for the fun of it in ways that fans rarely if ever do for other teams. The Cubs attendance increased dramatically in 2016 and tickets often experienced an equally dramatic increase on the secondary ticket market. The Cubs would be wise to try to capture as much of that profit as they can rather than see it go to others.
Still, that’s gonna smart for people who can’t afford season tickets and who just want to go to a one-off game with the kids and exacerbates the longstanding trend of baseball tickets becoming luxury items for the well-off.
Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.
You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.
The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.
So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.
Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”
Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.