Bob Klapisch blames the Mets and posing nude for Matt Harvey’s injury


It’s Bob Klapisch who, after spending a bit of time yesterday afternoon on Twitter playing armchair orthopedic surgeon, decided that the Mets are to blame for not seeing the alleged warning signs leading to Matt Harvey’s diagnosis:

There are a million questions trailing in his wake, starting with the Mets’ passive response to the lingering forearm tightness Harvey had been experiencing since July. Warrior that he is, Harvey downplayed the discomfort, telling his bosses it was nothing unusual, nothing more than the cost of doing business with nuclear heat. But given the Mets’ abysmal record of managing injuries, why weren’t they proactive when it was clear Harvey wasn’t improving? … the Mets should’ve taken control of the situation and not waited until late Sunday when Harvey’s pain finally became acute.

All pitchers get some soreness. Harvey is a young kid who didn’t think it was a big deal and there was nothing objective the Mets could see that would suggest injury.  Blaming the Mets by going back, as Klapisch does, to some of their medical misdiagnosis a few years ago smacks of scapegoating and a failure to appreciate that there simply are injuries that happen despite everyone doing the right thing. And no, putting a baseball player in an MRI tube every time he’s sore is not the right thing.

Of course my favorite part of this column is when Klapisch mentions Harvey posing nude in ESPN the Magazine a couple of months ago:

Already he’s big and brash and gutsy enough to pose in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue. It wasn’t the smartest decision he’ll ever make, but it told you plenty about the kid’s self-confidence.

You’ll recall that Klapisch wrote a hand-wringing, unintentionally hilarious  “Harvey shouldn’t want to be known as the naked pitcher” column at the time. Here he seems to lump in the posing nude with Harvey’s toughness and self confidence. A toughness and self confidence he now blames for Harvey not speaking up about his sore arm.

Which just goes to show: when a columnist decides on a meme, be it “the Mets’ doctors suck” or “posing nude is a horrible thing to do,” they will take every opportunity to shoehorn developments into those memes as a means of saying “see, I told you so.” And about 97.5% of the time it is utter baloney.

Spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws

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Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post reports that, according to three congressional officials familiar with current talks, an upcoming spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws. This is an issue we have spent some time covering here. A bill proposed in 2016, H.R. 5580, would have amended language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which would have made it so minor leaguers wouldn’t be protected under a law that protects hourly workers. There is also an ongoing class action lawsuit over unfair labor prospects.

As DeBonis notes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is among the representatives backing the measure. The provision specifically concerning minor leaguers didn’t appear in any of the draft spending bills, but DeBonis spoke to officials familiar with the negotiations under the condition of anonymity who said it was under serious consideration by top party leaders.

DeBonis got a comment from Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner. He said, “We’re not saying that [minor league pay] shouldn’t go up. We’re just saying that the formula of minimum wage and overtime is so incalculable. I would hate to think that a prospect is told, ‘You got to go home because you’re out of hours, you can’t have any extra batting practice.’ It’s those kinds of things. It’s not like factory work. It’s not like work where you can punch a time clock and management can project how many hours they’re going to have to pay for.”

O’Conner said as much in an interview back in December. It’s an extremely disingenuous deflection. O’Conner also said, “I don’t think that minor league baseball is a career choice for a player.” This is all about creating legislation that allows Minor League Baseball to keep money at the top, which is great if you’re a team owner or shareholder. If they could get away with it, every owner of every business would pay its employees as little as possible, which is why it’s important to have unions and people keeping an eye on legislation like this that attempts to strip laborers of their rights in the dead of night.

Minor league players need to unionize. Or, better yet, the MLBPA should open their doors to include minor leaguers and fight for them just as they would a player who has reached the majors. Minor leaguers should be paid a salary with which they do not have to worry about things like rent, electricity, food, and transportation. They should be provided healthcare and a retirement fund. And if anyone tries to tell you it’s not affordable, MLB eclipsed $10 billion in revenues last year. There’s plenty to go around.

The owners are banking on this legislation passing and labor still coming in excess due to young men holding onto the dream of making the major leagues. According to CNN, “far less than 10 percent of minor league players ever get the chance to make it to the major leagues.” Some of these players have forgone college to work in baseball. They arrive at the park in the morning and leave late at night, putting in far more than your standard eight-hour work day. Since their bodies are their vehicle for success, they have to exercise regularly and vigorously off the field while maintaining a healthy diet. (And teams are still reluctant to invest even the smallest amount of money to ensure their young players eat well.) Minor leaguers make tremendous sacrifices to pursue their dream and now Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress to legalize taking further advantage of them.