Oct 4, 2013, 1:32 PM EDT
I finally finished reading A-Rod’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball. If you haven’t read it, go here. It may be one of those most over-the-top, Earth-scorching lawsuits I’ve ever seen. Certainly in a sports context.
It’s Alex Rodriguez attempting to put Bud Selig and Major League Baseball on trial for Collusion against free agents in the 80s, the Steroids Era — which A-Rod claims was largely authored by Bud Selig — and generally for trying to destroy Rodriguez’s career, reputation and earning potential. It did so, he claims, by paying off witnesses, leaking the details of the Biogenesis investigation to the media and singling him out as the target of a vendetta. The complaint reads like acid in places, is hilarious in others and basically attempts to put baseball on trial for everything bad it has done since Selig has been around.
But so much of that is just noise and red meat for the press. A lawsuit is only as strong as its legal claims, and it’s worth noting that the legal end to all of these allegations is pretty small: two simple legal counts for tortious interference. One in which he alleged that Major League Baseball’s actions have caused him to lose out on business and endorsement deals and another in which he alleges that Major League Baseball is trying to interfere with his contract with the Yankees.
As we noted back in March when MLB filed its tortious interference suit against Biogenesis and again when San Jose sued MLB on tortious interference grounds back in June, such claims are often hard to establish. In order to prevail, you have to show the following:
- that you had a contract with a third party (or that prospective contracts were in the offing);
- that the defendant knowingly induced the third party to break the contract;
- that the defendant had an improper motive or means for doing so; and
- that you were harmed by such actions
In the Biogenesis suit, MLB’s harm, as stated in the complaint, was laughable. In the San Jose suit, San Jose’s contracts are imaginary, not real. In this case A-Rod can make valid claim to real contracts — his Yankees contract chief among them — and harm that will result from his suspension. But what I’m struggling with is how he will establish Major League Baseball’s improper motive and means.
Even if we think MLB has overreached — which I do — MLB has been acting and continues to act in furtherance of a valid drug enforcement regime. In collecting evidence, issuing discipline and suspending players, MLB has been fulfilling its legal obligations under the CBA, so the very act of the proceedings against A-Rod are, at least on the surface, valid. Maybe they secretly harbor a vendetta, but they have total deniability of that in saying that their motive here is to police PED use by baseball players.
So then we go to means. As A-Rod’s lawyers so helpfully remind everyone at paragraph 37 of the complaint, I personally think that the way in which MLB has gone about gathering evidence is bogus. The main tool they used — the Biogenesis lawsuit — is clearly a sham, designed to get documents and not actually redress injury. But that’s just my view. The court handling that case has validated the suit by refusing to dismiss it and by continuing to let major league baseball collect evidence and depose people. I think the court was wrong to do so, but it’ll be hard for A-Rod to get this court to rule that an active lawsuit is a tortious act in and of itself.
So then we get to the leaks. Again, I think there have been all kinds of loose lips in this case, but how will A-Rod establish that Major League Baseball has violated the confidentiality provisions of the CBA and JDA? Calling reporters to the stand and having them explain who at MLB told them what? We’ve seen that kind of drama before. Reporters will not burn their sources. And even if they did, are we really so naive as to think that only MLB has leaked things? I think we can confidently say that lots of different parties with lots of different agendas have leaked things. As such, it’d be hard for A-Rod to get a lot of traction here.
A final hurdle — although it may very well be a threshold issue in this case — is whether a court should actually hear this case in the first place. The JDA and CBA say that disputes between Major League Baseball and players should take place in arbitration. Obviously this suit is A-Rod’s way of saying that he no longer has to do that because MLB, in his view, has misbehaved. But a court may not buy that and may refuse to hear the case, saying it’s a matter of arbitration. If that happens, the lawsuit ends before it begins and A-Rod is back in the arbitration room every day.
What’s more — and this could loom pretty significantly — the players union itself, who is A-Rod’s nominal defense in the arbitration, has a vested interest in protecting the integrity of the arbitration process. The MLBPA, therefore, may feel obligated to break with A-Rod now and tell this court it shouldn’t hear the case because the arbitration must be respected. This would be a very big deal.
Which — now that I think about it — could be A-Rod’s plan. Well, his plan in addition to simply excoriating Bud Selig and Major League Baseball in as loud a voice as possible. The plan is this: Force his union representation to take a stand against him. That, in turn, blows up the arbitration which cannot go on if the union and league are now on the same side of a critical issue. With the arbitration in limbo, A-Rod and MLB are back to square one, A-Rod is eligible to play and there is no basis for denying him his paychecks. If such a thing were to happen, MLB may not want to proceed with a new arbitration. It may try to reach out to make a deal.
All of that is wild speculation, of course. But this is a wild case. And with it the Biogenesis matter, which we thought was nearing its end, may still have many twists and turns before its final resolution.
Oct 19, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis had a poor showing in 2014 and the club is changing up his conditioning program in attempt to help him regain some speed.
Oct 19, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
Replay review hasn’t had as much of an effect on post-season outcomes as some had previously thought.
Oct 19, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
A.J. Pierzynski wants to play baseball again in 2015, it just won’t be with the Cardinals.
Oct 19, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT
Two radio stations in San Francisco are refusing to play Lorde’s song “Royals” until the World Series is over.
Oct 19, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
The Athletics lost hitting coach Chili Davis to the Red Sox on Sunday. They are now showing interest in Dave Hansen to fill the position.
Oct 19, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT
It appears the Red Sox have a new hitting coach in former major leaguer Chili Davis.
Oct 19, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT
Tim Lincecum woke up with a stiff neck and cut his workout short on Saturday, but is still expected to be ready when the World Series starts on Tuesday.
Oct 19, 2014, 3:03 PM EDT
From Baseball America’s transaction page comes word that the Braves have signed utilityman Pedro Ciriaco to a minor league contract.
Oct 19, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT
Boston has an outfield logjam that needs to be addressed this winter.
Oct 19, 2014, 11:17 AM EDT
Chris Young was one of the best bargains of the 2014 season, posting a 3.65 ERA and 1.23 WHIP across 165 innings for the Mariners on a mere one-year, $1.25 million deal. He can officially become a free agent five days after the World Series and will probably be looking to cash in one final time at age 35. But winding up back in Seattle may be his preference …
Oct 19, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT
Buster Posey, Joe Panik, Pablo Sandoval, Javier Lopez, Jake Peavy and a few other Giants talk about their upcoming World Series matchup against the Royals …
Oct 18, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT
Rangers starter Colby Lewis suffered an elbow injury which marred his 2012-13 seasons, and he struggled mightily in 2014, but that isn’t stopping GM Jon Daniels in his pursuit to keep the right-hander in Arlington.
Oct 18, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT
The Tigers have quickly filled the void left by top scout Mike Russell, who joined the Diamondbacks, adding Dave Littlefield into the mix.
Oct 18, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT
In Adam LaRoche’s ideal world, he would finish out the rest of his career with the Nationals. Unfortunately for him, the Nationals are expected to move Ryan Zimmerman to first base.
Oct 18, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT
Domonic Brown thinks he’ll be able to find a starting job if the Phillies aren’t interested in keeping him around in 2015.
Oct 18, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
The baseball world wasn’t the only one surprised that it was Travis Ishikawa who hit a walk-off home run to send the Giants into the World Series. Ishikawa still isn’t sure it was him, either.
Oct 18, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT
The man who generously gave Travis Ishikawa his NLCS-winning home run ball has been rewarded by the Giants with four tickets to Game 3 of the World Series at AT&T Park.
Oct 18, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
Madison Bumgarner and Jake Peavy will start Games 1 and 2 of the World Series against the Royals.
Oct 18, 2014, 5:22 PM EDT
The Royals will host the first two games of the World Series.
Oct 18, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT
A’s hitting coach Chili Davis has also been linked to the Yankees and Rangers.
- Two radio stations in San Francisco are refusing to play Lorde’s “Royals” during the World Series 10
- Royals tab James Shields, Yordano Ventura to start first two games of World Series 1
- Brian Roberts is retiring 13
- So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got? 115
- Video: Watch Travis Ishikawa’s pennant-winning homer 13
- Travis Ishikawa sends Giants to World Series on walk-off three-run homer 79
- NLCS, Game 5: Cardinals vs. Giants lineups 30
- This team. 30
- So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got? (115)
- “The Kansas City Royals Are the Future of Baseball” — someone actually said that. (93)
- Andrew Friedman leaving the Rays to take over as Dodgers President of Baseball Operations (83)
- Quit making a big deal out of anomalies. Most of what happens is meaningless. (82)
- Travis Ishikawa sends Giants to World Series on walk-off three-run homer (79)