MLB certainly has public opinion behind it on the 100-game suspension thing

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Not scientific, obviously, but I’m pretty sure you’d get the same results if Nate Silver, C-3PO and Marvin the paranoid android teamed up to calculate this bad boy:

source:

Probably worth noting that just about everything Major League Baseball has ever done with respect to PEDs has had its genesis in public relations disasters:

  • The league did not acknowledge PEDs as a problem until Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti started talking about it in 2002;
  • It did not conduct an investigation into PEDs nor did it have anything approaching serious penalties for their use until the league and its players embarrassed themselves in front of Congress and other players began being called before the BALCO grand jury;
  • It’s been investigating PEDs in south Florida for several years but did not take any real action until Biogenesis was splashed all over the news in January.

The league has always been reacting. Even if it has come to genuinely care about PEDs in the game and even if does possess a strong and legitimate interest in punishing drug cheats — two things which I sincerely believe — the fact is that P.R. considerations have always been the most powerful catalyst for Major League Baseball’s actions regarding performance enhancing drugs.

I don’t know if MLB is actually seeking 100-game suspensions. I don’t know who’s leaking the notion that players could face such suspensions. It may be the league. It may be agents and lawyers for the players. But I do feel like, whoever is doing the leaking, Major League Baseball will walk away pretty pleased from all of this, no matter the length of the actual penalties assessed.

People think the league is getting tough. Even if they can’t make 100 games stick, the public is behind the effort and the players and their fancy lawyers will be blamed if they don’t. For once, Major League Baseball is ahead of the curve, public relations wise. Which even if it isn’t the primary goal here, you can bet is something with which the folks on Park Avenue are quite pleased.

source: Reuters

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.