Tarnished Twenty: Baseball Archives

Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Recently in Baseball Category

Baseball's postseason is upon us (sorry, Mets fans), and players, coaches, and fans will be working around the clock to try and make sure their teams win. And at least two of those three will be adequately compensated for the time they put in. (Heartbreak is its own reward for fans.)

But what about the players on their way to the Big Show? Or the concession workers that make sure the show goes on without a hitch? A new court ruling and new proposed legislation could mean that they don't get overtime pay like other professions. Here's a look into the legal dugout.

We didn't know his name at the time, but we knew his work. Last summer, the FBI began investigating the St. Louis Cardinals after an employee clumsily hacked into the Houston Astros scouting database. And we use the word "hacked" loosely here: the criminal mastermind simply logged in using the database creator's password after he switched teams from the Astros to the Cardinals, and did it all from a Cardinals employee's house.

Now we know who that employee is -- ex scouting director Chris Correa -- and what his punishment will be -- almost four years in federal prison.

Major League Baseball was all set to have the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins play in Puerto Rico on May 30 and 31, but enough players were concerned about contracting and transmitting the Zika virus that the league will move the series to Miami instead. The Centers for Disease Control had listed Puerto Rico as an area with active mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus.

So what does this mean for the league, legal liability, and future games in the Caribbean?

The majority of stadium deals are boondoggles at best and scams at worst -- franchises hold cities hostage, extorting public funds to pay for stadiums in return for the promise to stay and play in that stadium, at least for a few years until the team threatens to leave again, if the city or county don't pony up for improvements or a brand new stadium.

Back in 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks played their first game in Chase Field, a stadium that cost Maricopa County over $250 million in taxpayer funds. Now the D-Backs are threatening to bail on Chase Field or sue the county if it doesn't pay for improvements or hand the field over to the team.

In its first case under the league's new domestic violence policy, Major League Baseball suspended Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman for the first 30 games of the upcoming season. Chapman's girlfriend accused him of choking her during an argument last year.

In a statement, Chapman said he accepts the punishment and will not appeal the league's decision. "The decision to accept a suspension, as opposed to appealing one, was made after careful consideration," he said. "I made this decision in an effort to minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause the Yankees, my new teammates and most importantly, my family."

Bart Hernandez, a certified agent by the MLB Players Association, was arrested last week and charged with human trafficking. According to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, a federal grand jury indicted Hernandez on charges relating to the defection of Cuban outfielder Leonya Martin.

Hernandez allegedly smuggled Martin out of Cuba, then held him and his family hostage while negotiating his contract.

For reasons older than anyone reading this, baseball has enjoyed a special place in the hearts of judges and out of reach of many common rules of jurisprudence. We have extensive antitrust laws in this country, most of which don't apply to baseball. And if a fan is injured at a baseball game, unlike standard legal arguments of negligence and premises liability, we have "the baseball rule."

Like its antitrust exemption, the baseball rule exempts teams and Major League Baseball from injury lawsuits if a fan is hit with a ball or a bat. But with courts appearing more reluctant to kick injured fans out of court and the league advising teams to install more netting, the baseball rule might be close to breaking.

Underwear Brand Fans Flames of Derek Jeter Contract Case

The makers of Frigo underwear are suing Derek Jeter for backing out of deals to market their brand. The baseball player vehemently denies the company's claims that they had a contract or that he called the Frigo marketing plan both "too gay" and "too urban."

Reportedly, the company sued Jeter because he backed out of a deal, unhappy to market the underwear alongside rapper 50 Cent, per TMZ. The athlete also allegedly shirked his duty to become director of the company, fearing Frigo's "sporty" marketing strategy would strain his relationship with Nike.

Call it FIFA Lite. The treasurer of a Manhattan nonprofit youth baseball organization allegedly embezzled $90,000 over the course of three years. The only man with access to the league's account made over 50 withdrawals and spent almost $3,000 on car repairs.

His ruse was discovered when another league employee demanded access to the account and prosecutors are promising swift justice.

You may have missed this little tidbit in the latest deluge of daily fantasy advertisements, but the New York Attorney General's Office has begun investigating both daily fantasy sites on the suspicion that their employees "have won lucrative payouts based on inside information not available to the public." This after news broke that a DraftKings employee who had access to ownership and lineup data netted $350,000 in winnings at rival FanDuel.

There have been rumblings of a congressional investigation into daily fantasy sites, and this latest scandal may bring daily sports gambling fantasy leagues as we know them to a grinding halt.