You may remember when former major league infielder Jose Offerman attacked two players with a bat while he was a member of the independent Long Island Ducks back in 2007. One of the victims was catcher Johnathan Nathans of the Bridgeport Bluefish, who was hit on the side of his head by Offerman. Nathans sued and the result is in today:
The jury in the two-week-long bat-attack trial of Jose Offerman awarded the victim, former Bluefish catcher Johnathan Nathans $940,000 in damages.
The verdict in the federal case was returned at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday; the seven-member jury deliberated for about 5 hours.
Nathans, whose career was ended by his injuries, had sought nearly $5 million in damages. He claims the attack has left him permanently disabled with vertigo, splitting headaches, nausea and other problems. The jury agreed that Offerman was culpable, but obviously did not see eye-to-eye with Nathans on damages.
It’s rare to see any on-the-field violence actually punished via the legal system. But of course, extreme cases call for extreme consequences. But not extreme criminal consequences: Offerman was charged with felony assault after the attack, but the charges were dismissed after he took anger management classes. Anger management classes which didn’t take, apparently.
The Long Island Ducks, Offerman’s employer at the time, were found not to be liable. Which makes sense. I mean, it’s not like their management was on record saying that they wanted players to act violently on the field or something. Such a scenario would likely change the calculus, but that would be totally crazy.
(thanks to Ben Butler for the heads up)
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.