Ryan Braun

Defamation lawsuit against Ryan Braun thrown out

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Last August, after Ryan Braun got his Biogenesis suspension, his former friend, Ralph Sasson, sued Braun for defamation. The upshot: Sasson claimed that Braun doped while playing for the University of Miami, committed academic fraud, and accepted money while a student. He said that he helped Braun successfully appeal his original suspension back in 2011, and that Braun then turned around and talked smack about him to various people.

Whether there is any truth to that is unknown and will forever be unknown as a matter of law, because Sasson’s lawsuit was thrown out yesterday. Why? Because he was basically acting like a loose cannon/nutcase as he served as his own lawyer:

Now Ralph Sasson has finally struck out;  a judge on Wednesday dismissed his case with prejudice as a sanction for the  plaintiff’s “egregious” and persistent misconduct in the litigation . . . In a detailed, 15 page order issued Wednesday, Van Grunsven granted defense motions to dismiss the case as a sanction. The order recounts the history of Sasson’s sometimes over-the-top demeanor and questionable legal strategy throughout the case.

The biggest is violating the judge’s order that deposition testimony be sealed by telling people about what other people said in depositions. But it also sounds like he committed the full panoply of pro se plaintiff asshattery: frivolous discovery, refusing to produce his own discovery, name-calling and everything else.

Everyone hates lawyers, but they’re around for a reason, folks. It’s possible this guy had a legit claim against Braun. It’s possible that he didn’t. But being a self-lawyering jerk cost him any chance to make his case.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: