San Jose is trying to sniff out Giants infiltration of an anti-A’s group

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Confused? You won’t be, after the next episode of Soap!

While San Jose’s hopes for bringing the A’s baseball team to a downtown ballpark remain in limbo, the city is toughening its stance toward opponents of the move from Oakland … Last week the city filed for a court order allowing it to examine the organizational structure — and any Giants ties — of Stand For San Jose, a community group whose lawsuit over the proposed ballpark has raised questions about the San Jose plan’s viability.

I’m generally pro-A’s-to-San Jose, but I’m struggling to think of why it’s at all relevant if the Giants are behind some community group which opposes the A’s move. They’re overtly hostile to the move already, to the point where they’ve threatened litigation. If they’re also covertly hostile, so what?

The answer is politics, of course, as I’m assuming there are politicians in San Jose who would find it in their best interests to paint opposition to their stadium plans as some corporate conspiracy. But why that justifies the use of pubic legal resources to sniff such associations out is beyond me.

Fine, there may be a legal standing argument to be made — the litigation against San Jose was allegedly initiated by San Jose residents —  but unless the Giants are absolutely stupid, even if they were secretly behind a push to stop the move, they’d do what every other litigant in history has done and get some bona fide local residents on the case to establish standing.

And my pro-A’s-to-San Jose leanings aside, I’m sure there are a LOT of people in San Jose who don’t want the A’s there, especially if it means the use of any kind of public money or land. So it’s not like any and all opposition to this stuff is a sham.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on it as precedent. Finally, it should be noted that in issuing this statement, the Astros have given at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech, which seems less-than-ideal at best.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?