You may or may not remember this, but the first time baseball heard of Jeffrey Loria in earnest, it had to do with the Orioles, in the early to mid 1990s, when then-owner Eli Jacobs decided he had no choice but to sell the team in order to raise cash. John Helyar in The Lords of The Realm told the unlikely story, worth revisiting in light of the news that Loria wants to sell the Marlins and stands to make billions from the sale, as if to prove failure is profit.
Don’t look now, but former commissioner Bud Selig is a Hall of Famer. This is like the cobra inviting the mongoose for a dinner date. Selig was the first owner to become commissioner after he engineered the putsch that threw Fay Vincent overboard. And violated the intent of the office when he stepped in.
Boys will be boys, in baseball and elsewhere, and grown men will be boys, too. But some of what the Show Me State’s boys and girls seem to be showing don’t seem to be the kind of thing you’d like showing.
If the St. Louis Cardinals’ front office isn’t facing an investigation into whether people therein hacked into the Houston Astros’ internal data networks, Kansas City fans are gleefully stuffing online All-Star ballot boxes in favour of the Royals regardless of whether the players in question deserve to be in the starting lineup.
Bud Selig really is retired, at last. And baseball’s new commissioner, Rob Manfred, isn’t an incumbent or former owner. Selig, you may remember, owned the Milwaukee Brewers when he helped engineer the putsch that sent Fay Vincent out of the commissioner’s office. He then became baseball’s longest serving commissioner since Kenesaw Mountain Landis. And his legacy is at least as mixed as Landis’s was.
Accepting the inevitable comes hard enough for most mortals, never mind professional athletes. When the inevitable is retirement, it isn’t everyone who faces it with quiet grace and gratitude for having been there at all, and it often forces a player to buck up to it. When the inevitable is banishment for cause, it isn’t everyone who can resist facing it kicking and screaming, but few kicked and screamed as loudly or as wildly as Alex Rodriguez did until Friday.
We could see a 2014 baseball season and maybe more without Alex Rodriguez, after all. The original 211-game suspension didn’t hold up, but on Saturday independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz imposed a ban of 162 games plus any postseason competition into which the Yankees enter. As no few observers have noted already, that’ll be an easier jump to justify than a 211-game jump, the thinking being that losing a season is more defensible on appeal than losing an unprecedented season and a third.
In hindsight, it seems almost inevitable. Not just that Alex Rodriguez is going down; that’s been just about a given since he became the number one topic around actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances after Ryan Braun’s suspension.
Now, we’re talking about A-Rod himself pushing the plunger on himself. If you’ll pardon the expression. And the Yankees, who’ve been stretched to the absolute end of their proverbial rope, even by their standards, aren’t exactly ready pick up his funeral tab.
It it possible to make anything resembling sense of the Miami Marlins’ latest l’affaire d’absurd? It is, though not even Edmund Burke (who conjugated the strategic mischief of the French Revolution), Martin Buber (who conjugated the spiritual foundation of dialogue), or Red Smith (whose conjugation of official baseball mischief in his time was second to none) themselves would find it easy to do without reaching first for their preferred distilled spirits.
Ethically, of course, the deal reeks like the dead Fish conventional wisdom claims it to be, particularly in view of:
Enough of the hoopla says Frank McCourt finally passed and passed to the best men possible. The hoopla isn’t exactly wrong. The good news for Los Angeles Dodger fans is that one of baseball’s signature franchises can no longer serve as McCourt’s personal ATM machine. The better news, for Dodger fans and for baseball itself, is that the team is now owned by men to whom winning is DNA.
Frank McCourt’s reign of error is coming to its overdue end. Wish though he might have otherwise, it was never truly a question of if but, rather, when, his grip on the Los Angeles Dodgers, his use, misuse, and abuse of the franchise, would be finished. On Tuesday night, it was. McCourt finally, at long enough last, agreed to a court-supervised process of selling the Dodgers, Dodger Stadium (which the franchise still owns), and surrounding real estate still owned by the team.