A few thoughts about the discrimination lawsuit against the Mets

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I’ve read the complaint in the lawsuit filed against the Mets. And while I will always assume innocence before guilt and assume allegations are merely that — allegations — before passing judgment, I will say that this suit looks like it could be a big, big problem for Jeff Wilpon and the Mets.

Again, if you haven’t had a chance to read it, do so here. Once you get down to the section entitled “Factual Allegations” on Page 3, it’s not a legalistic document. Anyone can grok it. What I groked — and if you’re new here and don’t know me, know that I am an attorney who defended such lawsuits for 11 years — are some very specific allegations, the sorts you don’t often see in shady and/or ambulance-chasing lawsuits.

In shady cases things are stated broadly. There are, initially anyway, very few allegations of specific statements attributed to individuals. Our legal system is one which allows for initial complaints to be somewhat vague and to have the specifics filled in later. Not-so-ethical lawyers and plaintiffs take advantage of that feature of the system from time to time, trying to shake people down. This one is not that sort of thing.

What it does have are allegations which will be very easy to test in the course of discovery. For example:

source:

It’s no mystery how the plaintiff is going to attempt to establish that part of the claim. She’s going to take the depositions of the people at that meeting, all of whom will have to testify under oath about it.

Now, we like to act like people will willfully lie under oath because television and movies make us seem like it happens all the time. But it doesn’t happen all the time, especially when sophisticated businesspeople and attorneys in high profile positions are involved. They may lie beforehand. They may lie later. They may lie in the course of their business dealings. But get them in a deposition or on the stand, and you’d be amazed at how often the truth comes out. Or, when it doesn’t come out at first, it comes out eventually, because people are nowhere near as skilled at lying as they like to think they are. People like to knock the legal system, but it’s a pretty efficient process in its own weird way. At least in this regard.

Does that mean that the allegations are true? No, and I don’t know if they are or not. But I do know that reputable attorneys like the ones who represent the plaintiff here do not make such easily testable assertions in complaints in specific terms like these (and as appear in several other places in the complaint) if they’re trying to shake someone down or use a lawsuit as leverage to get something else. They may be false, sure, but based on my experience, allegations stated the way in which the allegations are stated here ring true. Or, certainly ring in a non-frivolous manner.

Also worth noting: many of the allegations don’t require anyone’s testimony to establish, at least beyond authenticating documents. There is talk of emails in the complaint, the timing of which matter to the plaintiff’s claims that she was discriminated against. That sort of thing will be easily testable. You don’t claim “Person sent me email X, and then I sent email Y and then I got email Z” at a certain time if you can’t prove it. It just doesn’t happen in lawsuits like this.

None of that is to say that this lawsuit is 100% righteous or that it tells the whole story or that the plaintiff will prevail. There may be things we don’t know about which may turn up later. There may be problems with the plaintiff’s story. It may settle and we’ll never know what happens. But we can say that, on the very surface of it, it does not have the characteristics of a frivolous lawsuit, or one fired off ill-advisedly. It seems very serious, and the I presume that the Mets are taking is as such.

Marcus Stroman: José Bautista could ‘easily’ pitch in MLB bullpen

José Bautista and Marcus Stroman
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José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.

Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”

In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”

Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”

Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:

Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”

I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.