This is kind of fun.
Some of us dead-enders who still think the Joint Drug Agreement means something were a bit perturbed that someone — we don’t know who! — leaked information about Josh Hamilton’s drug relapse to the press. And leaked about the process going down during his disciplinary hearings. And about what the Angels thought about it all. You can read our dead-ender outrage about it here, and about how Major League Baseball said it would not investigate the leaks here.
Flash forward to today when MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred appeared on NBC Sports Radio’s “Under Center” with McNabb and Malone. It’s a good show! I’m on it every week, but obviously the Commissioner is much more important. Our ex-quarterback friends asked the Commish about the stuff he’d expect on sports radio like attendance and pace-of-play and the recent fisticuffs in Royals games. Manfred answered those questions in a pretty polished matter. He’s had these things on his mind all week.
But then Mark Malone shifted gears and asked him why the league hasn’t disciplined anyone with the Angels for leaking Hamilton’s business. Malone: a man after my own heart! And while I don’t have the audio handy in embeddable form just yet, I listened to it. And know that Manfred, to my ears anyway, lost a bit of his polished tone, probably because he didn’t expect to be asked this. Mostly because no one else seems to be asking it. Here’s what he said, though:
“The assumption that the leak came from the Angels is one that may not be correct. We have tried mightily to determine exactly how that information became public. We’ve been unable to do so. That’s often the case with respect to press leaks. As you know, members of the media and sources — a little difficult sometimes, but you know, a number of people knew about the relevant facts here, not just the Angels, and we really haven’t been able to establish any misconduct on the part of the club.”
It’s quite a leap from saying, two weeks ago, that the league would not investigate the leaks to now saying that they’ve “tried mightily” to do so. How one concludes that they can’t establish misconduct without actually mounting an investigation is beyond me.
But what do I know? All I did for several years in my career was assist and in some cases run internal investigations of companies at the behest of management. It’s more art than science, but I know this much: when an investigator is tasked with figuring something out from people over whom they have actual authority — like, say, MLB has over the Angels’ front office — it’s not the hardest job ever. At the very least you can find out — before even getting to the substance — the universe of people who had the information that was leaked. And then it’s just a matter of talking to them in conference rooms. Contrary to what you see on TV and in movies, people aren’t very good liars and most of them don’t like to lie.
But again, that’s just if you’re super inclined to figure something out. Something like, say, a violation of a provision of the Joint Drug Agreement that, on its very face, is described as “essential to the Program’s success.” I mean, really, why would you even have a meeting about that?