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Former MLBAM head Bob Bowman was forced out over workplace misconduct


Rachel Bachman and Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal are reporting that Bob Bowman — the man who founded and built the digital platform that would become MLB Advanced Media and later, the successful spinoff BAMTech — was forced out over workplace misconduct.

Bowman stepped down as the head of MLBAM, the league-owned company which runs, and baseball’s other digital properties,  in early November. It was assumed at the time that his departure was merely the final, expected component of MLB’s spinoff of BAMTech, which was sold to Disney in a deal that made baseball billions of dollars. The WSJ story says, however, that he was pushed out:

Other forces were at work, people familiar with the situation say. Bowman verbally abused a coworker in October, prompting Manfred to push him out, these people say. That was preceded by a July incident in which Bowman allegedly shoved an executive with the group that owns the Boston Red Sox.

Bachman and Costa report that the bad behavior extended to Bowman propositioning and having sexual affairs with women in his employ and fostering a hard-drinking, hard-partying atmosphere at MLBAM. There is also an allegation that the MLBAM party at the 2016 All-Star Game was attended by hired escorts. Ten years ago, the story alleges, Bud Selig was made aware of Bowman’s bad behavior but, it appears, did nothing about it. His spokesman declined comment for the story.

Bowman, for his part, issued the following statement:

“The culture that started at BAM was hard working and driven. At times, it was also inappropriate and I take full responsibility. This inappropriate behavior reflects my personal flaws and not someone else’s. This behavior and my personal behavior were wrong. To those who felt the sting of my behavior, I am truly sorry. To my family, friends and business colleagues who have been steadfastly supportive of me, and whom I have embarrassed, I apologize.”

Rob Manfred apparently learned of Bowman’s misconduct over the summer and began to question Bowman and others about it before orchestrating his departure. Manfred has likewise moved to integrate MLBAM more fully into MLB’s hierarchy, including a future move to physically relocate the company into the league’s offices.

Bowman, who was once considered one of the two or three most powerful figures in all of professional sports, is just the latest high-profile figure to have committed misconduct of this nature. These acts have occurred in virtually every industry, from entertainment to politics to media to academia to business. The common denominator: power. Men in power using that power to take advantage of and abuse those without it and those in power believing that that power entitles them to act in unacceptable ways.

Bowman is now out of power. And likely never to find himself in power, of anything, again.



Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.