Interesting tweet from Buster:
Agents have received a document retention order from the union, in regards to contact with reporters. Stems from Morales/Drew investigation.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 22, 2014
This, I would suspect, stems from the thing a couple of weeks ago when the union got all huffy about anonymous MLB executives talking to Olney about how much money free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales might expect to be paid. The union claimed this violated the CBA — it could constitute collusion among teams to peg Drew and Morales’ price — and demanded that Major League Baseball investigate who the sources were for Olney’s report.
Clark may be technically correct that executives giving comments about free agents’ value is collusive and potentially violative of the CBA, but he’s also nuts if he thinks MLB is going to investigate who gave those comments. The league doesn’t see this as a big deal and, even if it did, when you start treading into investigating reporters’ sources, everyone in the media is going to turn on you. It’s a battle Clark isn’t going to win and probably shouldn’t be asking for.
This move, of course, is not a direct attack. It’s more like saber-rattling. The union is asking agents — over whom it has some regulatory power — to keep documents. It has no power to demand that clubs, let alone anyone in the media, obviously, do the same. It strikes me as a way to publicly say “we care about this, Major League Baseball, and we’re doing what we can to look into it. You do so too.” As posturing, it’s totally understandable. He may be able to get a couple of bullet points for some theoretical future grievance against the league regarding Drew and Morales. As an effective means of getting anything major done regarding the leaks specifically or Drew and Morales’ plight in general, well, it’s not going to do all that much.
What it will do, however, is light a fire under the media. A media which will probably paint this as an attack on a free press and stuff, even if that’s not really what’s going on here. It’ll be understandable if and when the media gets angry about this, of course, in that even if it isn’t really an assault on it, it treads closely enough to make everyone uncomfortable. Every time a governing body, be it an actual political one, a sports league or what have you, tries to sniff out sources, it loses the P.R. war before it begins.
I’m not sure why Clark wants this fight. I’m not sure how he gets anything out of it of significance.