Joe Tacopina’s cross-examination of Randy Levine sounded less-than-effective

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It’s not a transcript, but Christian Red and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News have a summary of the cross-examination of Yankees President Randy Levine by Alex Rodriguez’s attorneys at the arbitration yesterday.  It sounds less than devastating.

Basically, Levine answers “no” to every possible question that looks calculated to elicit something negative. And, unless the Daily News is simply ignoring a searing impeachment of Levine later in the proceedings, there does not appear to be any followup by A-Rod’s lawyers on the denials of Levine.

Which is a pretty dumb way to approach a cross examination of a witness. The point is to score points and/or rebut the prosecution’s case against your client. To ask questions you already know the answers to so that you can demonstrate the witnesses’ lack of credibility or lack of knowledge or the weaknesses in the case against your guy. If you don’t have that kind of ammo, you don’t call the witness.

Here, it seems anyway, Tacopina just gave Randy Levine a platform to say “no, we don’t have anything against A-Rod and don’t stand to gain anything if he gets suspended.” In other words, he gave Levine a chance to undercut the very foundation of the case A-Rod’s representatives are allegedly making (i.e. that the fix is in to get A-Rod).

Maybe there’s another shoe to drop. Maybe this was a massive perjury trap for Levine and later some other witness will come on to undercut him. Maybe, however, there is nothing to those claims A-Rod’s legal team is making and they are stalling for time. Or playing to the cameras. Or … something.

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.