Craig Calcaterra

San Diego Padres Photo Day

Josh Johnson to undergo a third Tommy John surgery

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With Barry Zito, we get some good news about an old pitcher who has had some rough times. With Josh Johnson nothing but more rough times. Jon Heyman reports that the Padres’ pitcher is going to undergo his third Tommy John surgery.

Johnson has has had numerous setbacks during his rehab from his second Tommy John surgery and apparently his ligament snapped again. Heyman says that the right-hander plans to go through the rehab process again and attempt a return rather than hang it up. Which, being honest, I think most pitchers would do. The list of guys who have come back from three Tommy John surgeries is . . .  nonexistent.

Johnson, 31, has made just one rehab start and zero actual starts in the majors over the last two seasons due to his injuries. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be hurlers.

The minor leaguers’ antitrust lawsuit was dismissed

The judge's gavel is seen in court room 422 of the New York Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street February 3, 2012. REUTERS/Chip East
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In early 2014 several minor leaguers filed a putative class action antitrust lawsuit against Major League Baseball alleging that minor leaguers are underpaid and exploited and that the Uniform Player Contract unfairly takes advantage of them.

The upshot: excluding bonuses which only a few minor leaguers get in any real size, Major League Baseball often pays minor leaguers less than $7,500 for an entire season and requires mandatory overtime in violation of state and federal wage laws. The Uniform Player Contract they are required to sign binds them to a team and keeps them from shopping their services elsewhere. Though they are only paid during the season, they are required to perform duties such as training, meetings and the like all year long and their duties and obligations to the club extend on a year-round basis too.

There was a lot of superficial appeal to the suit — to fight it on the merits, baseball was prepared to argue that minor leaguers are more like seasonal workers who are not entitled to labor law protection — but the merits of the thing will not be heard, it seems. The case was dismissed. The reason? Baseball’s antitrust exemption. From the judge’s decision:

“Plaintiffs have a persuasive policy argument that the Defendants should not be afforded carte blanche to restrict the pay and mobility of minor league players without answering to the federal antitrust laws that apply to the employment of major league baseball players and, for that matter, all other professional sports leagues. But that policy argument must be made to Congress or the Supreme Court.”

Which was always going to be the highest burden here.

Baseball, of course, should not have an antitrust exemption. There’s no good reason for it and it’s original imposition was based on both a factual and legal fiction of baseball teams being little self-contained storefronts, operating independently from one another in far flung, isolated towns. In reality it’s a nearly $10 billion business using the federally-regulated airwaves to realize most of their income and using almost exclusively government-funded facilities to generate the rest.

But heaven forbid its workers get any protection of the federal laws. That, my friends, would be socialism!

Meanwhile, minor leaguers will spend the winter either asking people if they want fries with that in order to make ends meet or working for no pay at all to benefit the organizations which prohibit them from working for a competitor for several years.

UPDATE: Note, this case, the Miranda case, was not the case in which players sued for violations of the minimum wage laws. That case was the Senne v. MLB case, and it’s still active.

You can get a Pope Francis baseball card at Citizens Bank Park tonight

Pope Francis arrives for the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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“I’ll trade you a a Paul VI and a Pius XII for your Francis and a John XXIII.”

“Toss in John Paul I and I’ll do it.”

“Are you nuts?! Those are SUPER rare!”

“Then forget it.”

Here’s what it looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 9.29.14 AM

I hope the Francis card has those little cartoons on the back that tells us his hobbies. Maybe, like the stars of 1973, he’s into “stereo music.”