A week ago today Major League Baseball slammed the hammer down on the Atlanta Braves as the result of their violations of rules on the international free agent market. They lost over a dozen prospects and were subjected to severe restrictions with respect to future international signees over the next four years.
Former Braves General Manager John Coppolella was hit the hardest personally, as he was placed on MLB’s permanently ineligible list, which essentially bans him from working in baseball for life.
Today Rob Manfred made a comment that suggested why Coppolella was hit so hard. He was on ESPN’s radio show Golic and Wingo this morning and, when asked about the penalties, he said “[w]hile the Braves were completely cooperative in the investigative process, I can’t say the same for John.”
Coppolella was forced to resign on October 2 and the investigation lingered on through October and November. At one point there was a report that Coppolella was considering litigation. He may be still. It would not shock me if his lack of cooperation with Major League Baseball was at least in part a function of protecting whatever positions he might take in litigation in the future.
Which may not have helped him too much in the short term, but really what does he have to lose? If he cooperated he still would be without a job and would maybe have a two or three year ban at best. What are his big league job prospects after that? As a scout maybe? Even that might be too much to expect. In the meantime, he has to find a new job either way. If, as some have suggested, he has some sort of credible claim against the Braves or MLB, however, he’s best served to keep his powder dry, right?
I have no idea what any of those theoretical claims could be, but if he is thinking about suing, not cooperating was probably the smart play, really.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.