Gabe Kapler says he spoke to his mom about Dodgers sexual assault incident

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Gabe Kapler was named the Giants new manager last night. Today he met the press.

Most of it was pretty run-of-the-mill. He wants to win. He knows he’s following a legend in Bruce Bochy and knows he can’t fill those shoes immediately, if ever. Kapler is usually pretty polished so it’s not surprising he said the right things about the job ahead of him.

But he did say something profoundly odd about one of the jobs behind him. The player development gig in Los Angeles during which he, infamously, tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police. It was an irresponsible decision at the time and it only came to light way after it happened and way after he got his job managing the Phillies. Today, then, was the first time he had to address it as a new hire, and this is what he went with:

The first and third comment are, superficially, what you expect to hear someone say in such a situation. That second one is, well, I have no idea what it is.

Kapler and I are about the same age. I’m struggling to think of any mistake I could’ve made in the past 25 years of my life in which, “hey, I talked to my mom and now I get that I was wrong” would be considered an acceptable answer. I’m also sort of struggling with Kapler’s hypothetical. Like, back in 2015, when the sexual assault allegations arose, would the then-40-year-old Kapler’s process have been better if he had . . . called his mom?

Obviously not. What’s missing here is why he didn’t call, say, police. Or take the matter further up the chain in the Dodgers organization to someone who would make that call. Those are questions no one has really answered to anyone’s satisfaction yet. We’ve heard a lot of “we regret we did not do the right thing” and very little to establish that anyone, in fact, knew what the right thing was then or knows what the right thing would be now if such an incident once again occurred.

Which makes all of this sound like a bunch of fake-woke eyewash, not unlike the kind of thing you hear when politicians claim to be sharply anti-sexual harassment or sexual assault because of their “wives and daughters,” but fail to demonstrate it any way at all with their actions. With Kapler it’s his mom, but it’s the same kind of dodge. Heard ya loud and clear. I have a mom, and I’ve talked to her and now we’re all good. Next question? Anything about how the roster is going to look next year?

This mirrors Farhan Zaidi’s comments about all of this. Zaidi, of course, was with the Dodgers then too and, like Kapler, was not forced to talk about this until years after the fact. As Grant Brisbee of The Athletic noted in an excellent Twitter thread today, before Kapler’s press conference, Zaidi offered the same sort of “hey, we talked to women” comments that Kapler did later. It wasn’t his mom, but rather sexual assault advocates. Shoulda done it before but didn’t. Did it now . . . because we’re hiring Gable Kapler and someone is going to ask us about it, I presume.

Of course, this is all Kapler and Zaidi had to do, right? They know no one in that interview room is going to press them on this for a host of reasons. They know — either consciously or instinctively — that they just gotta answer a question about such things once. They know that the question will be less-than-pointed and that there will be no followup of substance. As such, there is nothing pressing them to actually, thoughtfully examine what they did and what they didn’t do nearly five years ago beyond that which is necessary to get through one press availability.

The odd, less-than-thoughtful reference to Kapler’s mom the get-me-over fastball of answers, heaved in there because all he needed in this instance was a get-me-over fastball after which he can safely assume that he will never be asked about this stuff again.

Congressional task force passes resolution opposing MLB’s minor league contraction plan

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We’ve talked at length about Major League Baseball’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league clubs. We also recently talked about Congress getting involved. Today that process started. It started with a non-binding, symbolic move.

That move: several members of Congress, calling themselves the “Save Minor League Baseball Task Force,” introduced a resolution saying that Major League Baseball should drop its plan to eliminate the minor league clubs and, rather, maintain the current minor league structure. The resolution reads as follows:

RESOLUTION

Supporting Minor League Baseball, and for other purposes.

Whereas 40 million plus fans have attended Minor League Baseball games each season for 15 consecutive years;

Whereas Minor League Baseball provides wholesome affordable entertainment in 160 communities throughout the country;

Whereas, in 2018, Minor League Baseball clubs donated over $45 million in cash and in-kind gifts to their local communities and completed over 15,000 volunteer hours;

Whereas the economic stimulus and development provided by Minor League Baseball clubs extends beyond the cities and towns where it is played, to wide and diverse geographic
areas comprising 80 percent of the population in the Nation;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion through its Copa de la Diversio´n, MiLB Pride, FIELD Program, and Women in Baseball Leadership initiatives;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is the first touchpoint of the national pastime for millions of youth and the only touchpoint for those located in communities far from Major League cities;

Whereas Congress has enacted numerous statutory exemptions and immunities to preserve and sustain a system for Minor League Baseball and its relationship with Major League Baseball;

Whereas abandonment of 42 Minor League Baseball clubs by Major League Baseball would devastate communities, bond purchasers, and other stakeholders that rely on the economic stimulus these clubs provide;

Whereas Minor League Baseball clubs enrich the lives of millions of Americans each year through special economic, social, cultural, and charitable contributions; and

Whereas preservation of Minor League Baseball in 160 communities is in the public interest, as it will continue to provide affordable, family friendly entertainment to those communities:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved,

That the House of Representatives—
(1) supports the preservation of Minor League Baseball in 160 American communities;
(2) recognizes the unique social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture; and
(3) encourages continuation of the 117-year foundation of the Minor Leagues in 160 communities through continued affiliations with Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball issued a statement in response:

MLB is confident we can modernize or minor league system, improve playing conditions for our players, and protect baseball in communities across America. However, doing so is best achieved with Minor League Baseball’s constructive participation, and a recognition that they need to be a part of the solution. So far their approach has neither been constructive nor solutions-oriented. The most constructive role Congress can play to achieve these goals is to encourage Minor League Baseball to return to the bargaining table so we can work together to address the real issues impacting minor league players and communities all across the country.

So that’s fun.

It’s worth noting, again, that this move by Congress does nothing substantively and, rather, exists primarily to allow Members of Congress to talk about baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and America in that way that politicians like to do. Almost any act they take is opposed by half the populace, so they will always jump at an opportunity to say things that most people agree with like “taking away our sports teams is bad. If Congress wants to do something substantive here it can hold hearings and take tangible steps toward eliminating baseball’s antitrust exemption, which is basically the only real hammer it has in influencing the league. I suspect it won’t go that far and will, instead, continue to just issue statements like this.

For its part, Major League Baseball’s statement should be read as “we want to kill these guys over here, the guys we want to kill are being REAL JERKS about it and won’t help us in killing them. Congress, please shut up about not wanting them to die and, instead, tell them that they should let us kill them, OK?”

The upshot: wake me up when something actually happens beyond this posturing.