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.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.