New York Governor fined for accepting free Yankees tickets. Why aren’t the Yankees in trouble?

10 Comments

You’ll recall last March that the New York Commission on Public Integrity charged New York’s governor, David Paterson, with violating state ethics laws when he got free tickets to the opening game of the 2009 World Series from the Yankees.  The case has run its course now, and yep, the governor has been found guilty.  He was fined $62,125 for soliciting, accepting and receiving five complimentary tickets to Game One of the 2009 World Series for himself, two aides, his son and his son’s friend.  Shocking that there is corruption in Albany. Truly, truly shocking.

I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my areas of expertise back in my shyster days was public ethics law. I represented a whole bunch of public officials who got into hot water over free tickets, golf outings, hotel stays, meals and all manner of other perks, bribes and assorted nastiness. I represented even more private businesses and individuals who wanted to do business with public officials and offered said tickets, golf outings, hotel stays, meals and all manner of other perks. It was easily the most fun I had as a lawyer (and this was my favorite case). When one of these guys tells you “really, I planned to pay for it the whole time!” they truly believe they’re the first ones to have come up with it.  It’s adorable really.

Here’s my question with this case: were the Yankees charged?  Because in all my old cases both the public official who took the gifts and the business or lobbyist or whoever offered the gift were charged. We called it the “one steak, two charges” rule. As in, both the provider and the consumer of said porterhouse was on the hook for the free meal.  It was only when the public official was truly exerting pressure on someone for bribes or gifts that the provider was not in hot water too.

That could have been the case for the Yankees, but if Patterson was truly twisting the Yankees’ arm over some other bit of government business, you’d think he would be charged with something greater than merely accepting gifts.  It’s also possible that the Yankees were let off the hook in exchange for their help in investigating Patterson (and it’s stated in the article that someone from the Yankees testified, though that could have been compelled testimony).  I am surprised, however, that even at the time of the charges last spring we didn’t hear any more about the Yankees being in trouble.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
4 Comments

The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.