Mike Lupica seems to think the Braun arbitration was rigged

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Mike Lupica has a pretty Mike Lupica column up about the Ryan Braun arbitration today.  The upshot: who cares what some arbitrator says, we all know Braun is dirty and blah, blah, blah.  Lots of people are actually writing that column today, of course. I’m sure it makes them feel good.

But more notable to me is that Lupica has two passages in his piece — as well as the sub-headline to the story that someone else likely wrote — which suggest that he thinks this is more than a lucky ballplayer gaming the system. Rather, it suggests that he thinks the system was rigged to begin with.

The sub-headline reads: “Commissioner’s connection to Brewers raises questions.”  Which is interesting, because the only people I’ve seen raising that as a question are conspiracy theorists on message boards. MLB’s official statement, which comes from the Commissioner’s Office, is very clear in voicing the league’s and thus Bud Selig’s dissatisfaction with the ruling, and if you’re going to take that at less than face value you should probably offer some evidence up to substantiate what is a very serious charge.

But here’s Lupica:

And by the way? Nobody was looking to get Ryan Braun here from the start, get him good or pin a drug rap on him, or take down one of the sport’s golden boys. Braun does play for the Milwaukee Brewers, a team once owned by the current commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, a commissioner who still has his office in Milwaukee and a statue outside Miller Park.  You better believe Braun has been part of a wonderful baseball resurgence in Milwaukee, one that had the Brewers in the playoffs last October against the Cardinals, eventual World Series champs.

So Selig is apparently in on the fix.  As is, it seems, the arbitrator:

A three-man panel heard Braun’s appeal. Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president was on that panel, so was Michael Weiner, head of the Major League Baseball Players Association. The third man was arbitrator Shyam Das, the tiebreaker who saved Braun the way Braun saves the Brewers with big hits in the late innings … But you know what, however you weigh in on this? Floyd Landis probably wishes he could have found a legal loophole like this through which to ride his bike. Or found himself an arbitrator like Das.

That suggests to me that Lupica thinks that Das was in the bag for Braun somehow and that no other arbitrator — like the one Floyd Landis got — would have ruled the same way.  I’d love to see Lupica’s reasoning for this and whether it extends beyond “I didn’t like the outcome, so the arbitrator must have been out to save Braun’s bacon.”

Das, of course, is a well-respected arbitrator with decades of experience who was chosen by and serves at the pleasure of Major League Baseball and the MLBPA. Jointly.  If MLB thought Das was somehow less-than-qualified and able to handle baseball arbitration cases fairly, he wouldn’t be handling baseball arbitration cases. Someone else would.

Lupica can dislike the ruling here. He’s probably in the majority in that regard.  But his suggestion that Selig’s history with the Brewers or Das’ ruling meant that the deck was somehow stacked in Braun’s favor is preposterous and irresponsible.

Kyle Schwarber walks off to beat Rhys Hoskins 21-20 in second round of Home Run Derby

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In another thrilling round of the 2018 Home Run Derby, Kyle Schwarber walked off to defeat Rhys Hoskins and advance to the finals in the 2018 Home Run Derby. Hoskins hit 20 — surpassing his first-round total of 17 — but Schwarber was able to do him one better in regulation time.

For most of the round, Schwarber was “only” on pace to hit 17 or 18, but he got on a roll after using his time-out. He mashed about five home runs in the span of 30 seconds. With just a couple of seconds left on the clock, Schwarber hit his 21st home run to send Rhys to the showers. Of course, Schwarber had unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time since he hit two home runs that went at least 440 feet, so it was a formality. But to do it in regulation in buzzer-beater fashion was more fun than opening bonus time with the send-off.

Still an impressive showing by Hoskins. He became the first player to hit 20 home runs in the semifinals of the Derby, per ESPN Stats & Info. His 37 total homers are the second-most by a Phillies player in the Derby. Bobby Abreu hit 41 home runs en route to winning in 2005.

In the finals, Schwarber will face the winner of the Max MuncyBryce Harper showdown.