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Michael Weiner: “the coolest guy in that room”

Jan 21, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT

Michael Weiner

Late players’ union head Michael Weiner was remembered during a memorial service last night. The event took place at a Manhattan night club and there were loads of players and former players in the crowd, as well as MLB’s COO Rob Manfred and Yankees president Randy Levine. The quote of the night has to come from Craig Counsell:

“You know you have style when you’re a hotshot attorney in midtown Manhattan and you wear sneakers and jeans to work every day. And you know you have style when you walk into a room of baseball players who most days think the world revolves around them, and you walk out of that room and they know that Michael Weiner was the coolest guy in that room.”

Cool isn’t the word you’d first think of when you saw the skinny, shaggy-haired, casually-dressed Weiner, but after 25 years in the trenches for the MLBPA and, by all reports, continuing to be laid back and centered, “cool” had to be the best explanation.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 21, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Sounds like a helluva guy. I seriously doubt if when Bud Light blessedly shuffles off into retirement, anything said about him will ring much less than prefabricated.

    • Old Gator - Jan 21, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      PS – also, Craig Counsel is a pretty cool dude himself, so his words have a special aura of verity about them.

      • Old Gator - Jan 21, 2014 at 9:51 AM

        Okay, so now I read the whole article and find it crowned, from the bottom up, with this gem:

        “He actually liked the experience of communal prayer even if he wasn’t sure who or what he was praying to,” (Rabbi Lewis) said. “Some of you know that the only time Mike and I had a major disagreement was the day I found out he was teaching fourth and fifth graders that God was a hypothetical proposition. I said to him, ‘Mike, you can do that in college, but you cannot do that in Hebrew School.'”

        Good for Michael Weiner. His centeredness, to use a term that seems to have been vogue when describing him, was clearly a function of a lifelong and honest spiritual search of his own. He wanted the kids to “see the entire field” too.

      • paperlions - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        I suppose it isn’t “fair” to expect a Rabbi to have an more open attitude about such teachings to children, after all, he’s in business and those are recruits….but introducing the accurate assertion of hypothetical constructs that all of the many 1000s of gods have represented after over a decade of indoctrination is backwards if the goal is to ensure a personal spiritual journey….rather than recruitment, which is focused on serving the sociopolitical institution first and the individual second.

      • stex52 - Jan 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        Okay, off-topic. And no disrespect to the man or his place in the world. Reference my note down below.

        But what is the experience of communal prayer when you are not sure what you are praying to?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 21, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        The sense of community. The comfort of ritual and tie to the past/larger humanity. A positive act of doubting. An expression of hoping together in some Eternal Greatness.

      • anxovies - Jan 21, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        It’s the same thing as coming home from a night with your buddies at a strip club, smelling of alcohol and perfume and fervently hoping that your wife has fallen into a deep sleep. Only in a communal way.

      • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:17 AM

        stex: There’s also a substantial element of questing within yourself for some sense of connection to what Ginsberg called “the starry dynamo.” Weiner sounds like he was aware, at least instinctively, that even if our “gods” are projections out of ourselves, of ourselves, there subsists nonetheless an interface between us and the shaping forces of the cosmos – of which, of course, our selves are reciprocal projections too. Searching out that interface with the emotional and social support of communal prayer is just another dimension of the greater spiritual project.

  2. nymets4ever - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Not trying to disrespect the deceased at all here, but something makes me doubt the average person would consider Weiner the “coolest guy in the room” with say, Matt Harvey, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Manny Machado, Matt Kemp, Buster Posey, Derek Jeter, etc. also in it.

    I understand the impulse to praise those who have left us, I know the great work Weiner has done for the game, and I’m sure he had an awesome personality, but the guys I mentioned are the superstars of the sport. There’s a reason why people wear jerseys with their names on the back.

    • Old Gator - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      You are as shallow as a rainwater pond.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        That’s the difference between a groupie and an artist.

      • nymets4ever - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        Yea, how shallow of me to merely point out that it might be a tad bit hyperbolic to call Weiner the “coolest guy in the room,” even when that room is full of superstar athletes who kids grow up wearing the jerseys of, imitating the batting stances of, and aspiring to be like in nearly every way.

        I mean, I guess I’ve just overlooked all Weiner shirts and jerseys people rock to ballparks all across the country. On the other hand, the team you root for is so unrecognizable, the six people who show up to your stadium for an average game might actually do that. lol

      • Old Gator - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Shallow at the very least. And if you had half a wit, to go along with your superficiality and irremediably splenetic disposition, you’d also realize that ragging me about the woeful condition of the Feesh is an exercise in redundancy. Gratuitous redundancy at that, which is no mean feat.

      • anxovies - Jan 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

        As the light film of moisture that collects from the mist. Machado, Harper and most of the rest named are 20 year-old kids that can do one thing, play baseball. Jeter is the only one of the bunch that might approach him in demeanor, but he too is pretty much limited to being a baseball star. Weiner was a Harvard-educated lawyer who clerked for a federal judge and then went to the baseball union where he acquired a vast amount of experience in law, negotiation and human nature.

    • stex52 - Jan 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      You are right, 4ever, in saying that the average person wouldn’t consider him particularly cool. But that is mistaking celebrity for “cool”. Counsell was one of those guys who had people wearing his name on their jerseys. And he thought that Wiener was cooler than anyone in the room.

      It’s a difference between having the talent to hit a little white ball a long way and the ability to command respect from a room full of superstars.

      You can decide in the end which is more cool.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 21, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        I was about to post a similar reply until I saw yours, and that yours was written better than I’d have done.

      • yahmule - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        Well said, Stex.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 21, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      I agree, I really can’t believe this dude was the coolest guy in the room and if he
      was, who exactly was in that room. I have three bridges for sale so let me know
      if you interested. I gave you thumbs up because I agree with you.

  3. thejrod2006 - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    A-Rod probably doesn’t think Michael Weiner was the coolest guy in the room.

    Then again, A-Rod’s take on most things doesn’t matter.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      Just because you wish you were Steve McQueen doesn’t mean you don’t know you’re not Steve McQueen.

      • natstowngreg - Jan 21, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        Wow, a triple negative! I’ll bet even the Russian judge was impressed. :)

      • historiophiliac - Jan 21, 2014 at 4:17 PM


      • historiophiliac - Jan 21, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Oh, shoot! It’s too late to do a double flip off now, isn’t it. I’m slow. 😦

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 21, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      Or maybe he does:

      • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:24 AM

        Well, he showed up. Here are our choices: (a) A-roid respected and admired Weiner and the lawsuit he has filed is a figment of Joe Tacopina’s imagination; A-roid goes along with it as a disinterested observer for tactical reasons, or (b) A-roid showed up as a tactical public relations move and really doesn’t give a flying fark at a rolling donut about Michael Weiner. From what we know of A-roid, I’m leaning towards (b).

        Also, Michael Weiner’s wife sounds like quite a remarkable woman in her own right, doesn’t she?

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