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Kyle Crick and Felipe Vázquez’s fight was over music


The other night Pirates relievers Kyle Crick and Felipe Vázquez got into a fight and Crick suffered an injury to the index finger on his pitching hand. He underwent extensor tendon repair surgery and his season is over.

Now we know what the fight was about. From Nubyjas Wilborn of the Post-Gazette: it was music. As in Crick was playing music at his locker, Vázquez asked him to turn it off, Crick said no, they argued, and then fisticuffs ensued. And, depending on how precise this characterization of it is, it sounds like Vázquez may have sucker punched Crick:

Vazquez threw a punch that Crick wasn’t expecting and then followed with another blow, and Crick retaliated with punches back at Vazquez. The fight ended with Vazquez requiring six stitches to his nose. Vazquez was seen after the game with bandages on his nose.

Crick was fined $2,500 by the team, while Vazquez was fined $10,000, according to a team source.

Crick told Wilborn he’s filing a grievance over the fine because he feels like he was attacked and was merely defending himself.

Obviously there was some simmering animosity here before the dispute over music. You’ll recall that last month there was another incident in which bullpen coach Euclides Rojas was suspended for a couple of games. That was the result of an on-field pregame shouting match between him and Crick which required Pirates players to separate the two. The source of the shouting: Crick asking why Vázquez wasn’t on the field for warmups and why Vázquez was allowed to wear t-shirts rather than warmup jerseys during the pregame routine. I’m gonna assume Vázquez was well aware that Crick had a problem with him when the music fight began.

Anyway. Vázquez is an elite reliever who is under contract through 2022 and there’s a club option for 2023. Crick is under team control for several more years. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re both reporting to Bradenton next February.



Major League Baseball threatens to walk away from Minor League Baseball entirely

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The war between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball escalated significantly last night, with Minor League Baseball releasing a memo accusing Major League Baseball of “repeatedly and inaccurately” describing the former’s stance in negotiations and Major League Baseball responding by threatening to cut ties with Minor League Baseball entirely.

As you’re no doubt aware, negotiations of the next, 10-year Professional Baseball Agreement, which governs the relationship between the big leagues and the minors — and which is set to expire following the 2020 season — have turned acrimonious. Whereas past negotiations have been quick and uncontroversial, this time Major League Baseball presented Minor League Baseball with a plan to essentially contract 42 minor league baseball teams by eliminating their major league affiliation while demanding that Minor League Baseball undertake far more of the financial burden of player development which is normally the responsibility of the majors.

That plan became public in October when Baseball America reported on it, after which elected officials such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren began weighing in on the side of Minor League Baseball. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball were not happy with all of that and, on Wednesday, Manfred bashed Minor League Baseball for taking the negotiations public and accused Minor League Baseball of intransigence, saying the minors had assumed a “take it or leave it” negotiating stance.

Last night Minor League Baseball bashed back in the form of a four-page public memo countering Manfred’s claims, with point-point-by-point rebuttals of Major League Baseball’s talking points on various matters ranging from stadium facilities, team travel, and player health and welfare. You can read the memo in this Twitter thread from Josh Norris of Baseball America.

Major League Baseball responded with its own public statement last night. But rather than publicly rebut Minor League Baseball’s claims, it threatened to simply drop any agreement with Minor League Baseball and, presumably start its own minor league system bypassing MiLB entirely:

“If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”

So, in the space of about 48 hours, Manfred has gone from being angry at the existence of public negotiations to negotiating in public, angrily.

As for Minor League Baseball going public itself, one Minor League Baseball owner’s comments to the Los Angeles Times seems to sum up the thinking pretty well:

“Rob is attempting to decimate the industry, destroy baseball in communities and eliminate thousands of jobs, and he’s upset that the owners of the teams have gone public with that information in an effort to save their teams. That’s rich.”

Things, it seems, are going to get far worse before they get better. If, in fact, they do get better.