Major League Baseball kills the only fun thing about the Dodgers bankruptcy

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Despite the fact that I have written and will continue to write a lot about the Dodgers’ bankruptcy — and that I will do it with no small amount of enthusiasm — has everything to do with it being interesting to me and being more in my wheelhouse than, say, the amateur draft or pitching mechanics.  Don’t mistake such enthusiasm for enjoyment, however. Yes, I’ll experience a few happy feelings when Frank McCourt is eventually banished from baseball, but that will be fleeting. As a story, this is all bad news, and I wish it weren’t happening.

One other possible silver lining has been eliminated, however.  Yesterday someone — I don’t know who, so if you were the first, mazel tov — realized that one could make a customized jersey on the Dodgers’ website with the last name on the back being “Chapter” and the number being “11,” celebrating the bankruptcy.  High comedy? Nah, but as I’ve always found, gallows humor has a low hurdle to leap in order to get some yuks.  I liked it.

But as Busted Coverage notes this morning, sadly, Major League Baseball has banned that particular jersey configuration, labeling it “inappropriate, derogatory, or profane,” and prohibiting orders.

If only MLB was so discerning of that which was inappropriate when it approved Frank McCourt’s wildly irresponsible bid to purchase the Dodgers …

Report: MLB could fine the Angels $2 million for failure to report Tyler Skaggs’ drug use

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T.J. Quinn of ESPN is reporting that Major League Baseball could fine the Los Angeles Angels up to $2 million “if Major League Baseball determines that team employees were told of Tyler Skaggs’ opioid use prior to his July 1 death and didn’t inform the commissioner’s office.”

The fine would be pursuant to the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement which affirmatively requires any team employee who isn’t a player to inform the Commissioner’s Office of “any evidence or reason to believe that a Player … has used, possessed or distributed any substance prohibited” by MLB.

As was reported last weekend, Eric Kay, the Angels Director of Communications, told DEA agents that he and at least one other high-ranking Angels official knew of Skaggs’ opioid use. The Angels have denied any knowledge of Skaggs’ use, and the other then-Angels employee Kay named, current Hall of Fame President Tim Mead deny that he know as well, but Kay’s admission that he knew — he in fact claims he purchased drugs for and did drugs with Skaggs — would, if true, constitute team knowledge. Major League Baseball would, of course, want to make its own determination of whether or not Kay was being truthful when he told DEA agents what his lawyer says he told them.

Which raises the question of why, apart from a strong desire to get in criminal jeopardy for lying to DEA agents, Kay would admit through his lawyer that he lied to DEA agents. Still, the process is the process, so giving MLB a little time here is probably not harming anyone.

As for a $2 million fine? Well, it cuts a number of ways. On the one hand, that’s a lot of money. On the other hand, (a) a man is dead; and (b) $2 million is what the Angels’ DH or center fielder makes in about 11 minutes so how much would such a fine really sting?

On the third hand, my God, what else can be done here? No matter what happened in the case of Skaggs’ death, this is not a situation anyone in either the Commissioner’s Office nor the MLBPA truly contemplated when the JDA was drafted. We live in a world of horrors at times, and by their very nature, horrors involve that which it is not expected and for which there can be no adequate, pre-negotiated remedy. It’s a bad story all around, no matter what happens.

Still, it would be notable for Major League Baseball to fine any team under the “teams must report players they suspect used banned substances” rule. Because, based on what I have heard, knowledge of players who use banned substances — which includes marijuana, cocaine, opioids and other non-PED illegal drugs — and which have not been reported to MLB is both commonplace and considerable.

But that’s a topic for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.