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Articles Tagged Johnny Damon 

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December 21, 2005 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Non-Tenders, and Actual News

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Joe Sheehan

An uneventful December 20 deadline was rescued by a flurry of significant transactions.

The best players non-tendered yesterday include Orioles' outfielder Eric Byrnes. He played too much last season, but has strong platoon/fourth-outfielder skills and might be a good fit for the Diamondbacks, with their lefty-heavy, defense-light outfield. Relievers Chad Bradford and Grant Balfour (a personal favorite who can't stay healthy) top a short list of interesting pitching names, although teams looking for innings also have Ramon Ortiz, Josh Fogg and Ryan Franklin for the taking. Miguel Olivo, a strong defensive catcher who seemed to find his bat after a midseason deal to the Padres, could be a sleeper for teams like the Angels, Marlins or Rockies, all of which could use catching help.

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Arizona has a new GM, the Red Sox have a few questions they need answered, and the Cubs might be replacing Corey Patterson with a Corey Patterson clone.

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Jonah Keri has ably analyzed the Colon trade and its ridiculousness for the Expos. I want to focus on the deal as an indicator of the shadiness and shame implied by the league's ownership of the Expos.

Jonah Keri has ably analyzed the Colon trade and its ridiculousness for the Expos. I want to focus on the deal as an indicator of the shadiness and shame implied by the league's ownership of the Expos.

First, some background. For better and for worse, Major League Baseball is a legal cartel. As such, it may be thought of as a sort of open, friendly conspiracy (it conspires to keep any competing league from offering top-level baseball in North America). Nothing wrong with that in itself -- we happily put up with cartels in most of our major sports, and in other areas of life as well. And as long as I the consumer understand the arrangement, benefit from it, and have some kind of recourse to get out from under it, what's the problem? No one makes me spend money on MLB or the NFL. If I have a beef with one of these cartels, I can always boycott their sponsors, or push for new laws to rein them in, or just go to Longhorn games instead. So far, so good.

But for their own long-term health, sports leagues must convince their consumers that they field a fair product, or else the entire attraction of honest competition is ruined. By this token, baseball's fans must be able to believe that MLB holds itself in check by various means, whether in the structure of the amateur draft, or in a player's arbitration calendar, or in the rules of the waiver wire. These rules (and many others) allow for open explanations of events: The Red Sox signed Johnny Damon fair and square under the free agency rules; the Yankees got stuck with Jose Canseco's contract because the Rays really were looking to unload him via waivers; there's only so long the Expos can hold onto Vlad Guerrero thanks to his free-agency calendar. And so on.

Whether we like an individual piece of news or not, we have reason to believe that matters were handled out in the open. The league's internal rules are made even more potent in this regard since they're monitored by a powerful player's union and, at least in theory, by an independent press.

Onto the problem at hand. The very nature of the league's ownership of the Expos raises the specter of misconduct - of a violation of consumers' trust - because it subverts this system of checks. Because the league now controls the Expos' players, this specter extends not just to Expos fans, but to fans of other teams (like the Red Sox), and to followers of the league as a whole.

Protestations of innocence from Selig & Co. are irrelevant. Maybe the Commissioner does have firewalls in place such that he holds no sway on the Expos' day-to-day operations. It doesn't matter. Again, it is the very nature of the arrangement that opens the way for back-channel, conspiratorial explanations for events. Indeed, given the current arrangement, it actually becomes logical to entertain such notions.

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July 1, 2002 7:41 pm

The Week in Quotes: June 24-30, 2002

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Derek Zumsteg

STRIKE! STRIKE! "If you have kids who might [grow up to] be major league baseball players, we're fighting for your kids, possibly. If I work for your newspaper and you're in the union fighting for your equality and rights, sure I would strike, and so would you..." --Barry Bonds, Giants outfielder

STRIKE! STRIKE!

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January 9, 2001 12:00 am

An Early End to Spring

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Rany Jazayerli

It happens every year. Every year I find some way to believe. Every winter I shed my analyst's glasses and look at my Kansas City Royals through the eyes of a fan. A fan looking for a ray of hope. A fan willing to overlook holes at half a dozen positions. A fan willing to forgive the lamentable decisions of seasons past. A fan willing to stand squarely in the face of reason and think that maybe, just maybe, this is our year.

And every year, the Royals do something so outlandish, so absurd, so oh-my-God-you-have-to-be-kidding stupid, that like a sucker punch to the groin it drops me to my knees, leaving me breathless, in a lot of pain, and embarrassed that I didn't see it coming.

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January 9, 2000 12:00 am

An Early End to Spring

0

Rany Jazayerli

It happens every year. Every year I find some way to believe. Every winter I shed my analyst's glasses and look at my Kansas City Royals through the eyes of a fan. A fan looking for a ray of hope. A fan willing to overlook holes at half a dozen positions. A fan willing to forgive the lamentable decisions of seasons past. A fan willing to stand squarely in the face of reason and think that maybe, just maybe, this is our year.

And every year, the Royals do something so outlandish, so absurd, so oh-my-God-you-have-to-be-kidding stupid, that like a sucker punch to the groin it drops me to my knees, leaving me breathless, in a lot of pain, and embarrassed that I didn't see it coming.

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