Suspensions likely in Biogenesis probe

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Jon Heyman talks to some MLB insiders and reports that, yes Virginia, suspensions are looming in the Biogenesis scandal:

Major League Baseball has started interviewing big leaguers linked to the Miami PED investigation, and people who have spoken to MLB investigators are convinced there will be at least some suspensions handed down in the explosive case.

This is just speculation on my part, but given that Heyman tends to be more plugged-in on the player/agent side, those “people who have spoken to MLB investigators” could very well be the lawyers and/or agents for players interviewed. Worth noting that, in my experience, when your client is interviewed by authorities of any type, they tend have a good sense of how much trouble they’re in.

So if suspensions are coming, that leads one to ask (a) when?; and (b) will it be public?  For as Heyman also notes, one of the more interesting issues is whether or not MLB is obligated to keep the names of suspended players confidential pending their appeal.  MLB believes that they don’t have to if the names have already been made public, many of which have here. The union believes, however, that per the Joint Drug Agreement, suspensions can only be announced after appeals have run their course.

My reading of the JDA supports the union side. But practicality suggests that keeping it confidential will be close to impossible due to the fact that the appeals here will involve multi-day and possibly multi-week hearings with players and lawyers going back and forth and into and out of office buildings on offdays or, quite possibly, game days. It’s gonna be known.

Anyway: brace yourselves. A circus is coming.

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp were staked to a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they had only played five innings of baseball. UPDATE: they played a full game today, the BayStars won, so now it’s 2-1 Hiroshima.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?