The Mets have another heavy lawsuit on their hands

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It was nearly four years ago when I first heard the name Ellen Massey. She’s the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Mets that, while not as sexy as the Madoff stuff, has its own special appeal: On Opening Day, 2007, Massey was fallen on by a 300-pound man who came hurtling out of his seat in her direction, breaking her vertebrae. Massey says the fat guy was drunk and that the Mets are liable because they continued to serve him despite his obvious intoxication.

My take when I first heard about this case — a mere month after I began blogging back at Shysterball — was that Massey had a theoretically a valid claim: ballpark serves an obviously intoxicated man who later causes injury. The problem, though, was that it would be really hard to actually marshal any evidence.  The falling fat guy’s identity was unknown at the time and it wasn’t at all clear how he could be discovered. And it would likely be difficult to prove that he was intoxicated given that he left the park and there was no police report or anything.  I figured it was deadsville.

Yet, despite all of my skepticism, the case is going to trial, reports the New York Post.  Over the past four years Ms. Massey has learned the fat guy’s identity — Timothy Cassidy — and got the depositions of multiple witnesses speaking to his behavior prior to the incident. That’s enough to get her past the summary judgment stage and now she gets to take the Mets to trial.

If I represented the Mets, I’d rather be handling that case than the Madoff case. I always enjoyed the stuff with actual humanity much better than document-intensive financial cases. And there isn’t much more humanity than a 300 pound drunk guy falling on people in Shea Stadium on Opening Day.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has kissed Rob Manfred’s ring

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Let’s take a trip back to early last February. The hot stove season was as cold as ice. Despite spring training being less than two weeks away, scores of players remained unsigned and rumblings emerged that, perhaps, collusion was to blame.

The players were frustrated and there were reports that they were approaching the union to ask what, if anything, they could do about it. Some suggested some sort of wildcat strike or work slowdown or whatever. None of that seemed feasible or legal, but guys were getting desperate. And not just players. One agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA, took to Twitter to suggest something novel along these lines: a potential spring training boycott:

There is a rising tide among players for radical change. A fight is brewing. And it may begin with one, maybe two and, perhaps, 1,200 willing to follow. A boycott of Spring Training may be a starting point if behavior doesn’t change.

There was a lot more to that — Van Wagenen issued a whole statement attached to his tweet taking the owners to task and clearly implying that he believed the owners were acting less-than-scrupulously — but I can’t remember what it said and I can’t check because, at some point between then and now, Van Wagenen deleted it.

Probably because he is now the general manager of the New York Mets, putting him on the side of management, not players. Probably because he now, ultimately, answers to Rob Manfred. The same Rob Manfred, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports, met with Van Wagenen at the just-concluded owners meetings down in Atlanta.

Based on Davidoff’s report — which deals specifically with Van Wagenen’s February tweet — it sounds like they have come to an . . . understanding about it all. Manfred:

“Brodie called me right after he accepted the job,” Manfred said during a news conference. “We had a really good conversation. I think that he understands the concerns that a comment like that raises amongst our group. But I have every confidence that he’s going to conduct himself in a way that will make him a really productive member of the baseball family.”

“Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your daughter… ‘s wedding… on the day of your daughter’s wedding. And I hope their first child be a masculine child. I pledge my ever-ending loyalty,” Van Wagenen did not add but may as well have.