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The MLB Commissioner’s Power To Discipline A Donald-Sterling Like Owner

Less than 96 hours after TMZ.com published a racist and hate-filled audio recording between Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his then-girlfriend V. Stiviano, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suspended Sterling from any and all NBA activities for life; fined Sterling $2.5 million; and asked the other 29 NBA owners to force a sale of the Clippers. When asked at his press conference what authority he had to force Sterling to sell the team, Silver replied:

The owners have the authority subject to three quarters vote of the ownership group, of the partners, to remove him as an owner.

Silver didn’t go into specifics, and when asked questions about his authority to suspend Sterling for life and impose a $2.5 million fine, he replied:

I’ll let the lawyers lay out for you the specific provisions of our constitution. Let’s just leave it that we have the authority to act as I’ve recommended.

A few hours later, the NBA made its Constitution and By-Laws available to the media through the league’s media center website. Deadspin, among others, published the document in full and provided a link for those of us who aren’t NBA media members.

So let’s take a  look at Silver’s authority.

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George Springer, Archie Bradley & The Service-Time Dance

The Houston Astros added outfielder George Springer to their major league roster on Tuesday night and batted him second in the lineup in their game on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals. Springer had an infield hit in five at-bats plus a walk in his debut.

Astros fans — indeed, fans of young baseball talent — have been pining for Springer’s call up since last season when he batted .301/.411/.600 in 589 plate appearances with 37 home runs and 45 stolen bases between Triple-A and Double-A. That followed his successful 2012 campaign in Double-A and high Single-A, when he posted a .302/.383/.526 line in 581 plate appearances. In February, Baseball America ranked Springer as the 18th best prospect. My colleague Marc Hulet put Springer at No. 14 on his Top 100 prospect list.

Yet Springer remained in the minors, without even a whiff of the big leagues last September, when the Astros expanded their roster. And he was sent back to Triple-A during spring training, with no place on Houston’s 40-man.

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Pitcher Contracts, Classified

Yesterday, I classified every contract for a position player currently on a 40-man roster. Today we turn our attention to the pitchers.

As of Sunday night, April 6th, there were 613 pitchers on a 40-man roster. Many pitchers with season-long injuries are on their team’s 60-day disabled list and have been moved off the 40-man roster. This includes Matt Harvey, Patrick Corbin, Derek Holland and Cory Luebke, to name a few. You won’t see those names below and I have not included them in the 612-pitcher total.

Before we get to the tables, here are the highlights:
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Position Player Contracts, Classified

In February, I estimated each team’s likely Opening Day payroll and broke down each payroll into discreet parts: the percentage of payroll that would be spent on the starting rotation, starting lineup, bullpen and bench. If you missed those posts, you can find them here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

Today, we take a step back and look at how each team arrived at the position-player portion of their current 40-man rosters. What type of contract does each position player have? Is he a pre-arbitration player going year-to-year? Is he a pre-arbitration player with a contract? An arbitration-year player with an extension into free agency? A free agent with his old team or a new team? And so on.

This was a substantial undertaking, as there were 577 position players on a 40-man roster as of Sunday night, April 6th. Later this week, I’ll roll out a similar post on pitchers.

Below you will find 30 tables, one for each team, with a list of the position players on the 40-man roster and a description of each player’s current contract.

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Padres Fans Finally Get Team On TV; Dodgers & Astros Fans, Not So Much

Two years after signing a new local television contract with Fox Sports San Diego, the Padres will have their games carried by all the major cable and satellite operators in the team’s viewing area. The same cannot be said for the new Dodgers network called SportsNetLA, or for the year-old Comcast SportsNet Houston, which broadcasts Astros games.

In their inaugural season with FSSD in 2012, Padres games were broadcast only on Cox Cable and DirecTV. Last season, DISH Network and AT&T U-verse came onboard, which still left Time Warner Cable customers — more than 180,000 households or approximately 40% of the market — without access to the Padres on TV. TWC finally cut a deal with FSSD last month. Come Opening Day, anyone in San Diego or Hawaii with service from Cox, DirecTV, DISH, AT&T U-verse or TWC will be able to watch Padres games.

FSSD’s slow rollout reflects the economic realities of sports on TV. Advertisers love live, DVR-proof programming that’s watched by 18-to-45-year-old men, and they spend wildly on commercials during those programs. Sports networks — regional and national — see the money the advertising generates and bid obscence amounts for the broadcast rights. But the ad money isn’t nearly enough to cover the fees paid to the leagues and teams, and still turn a profit. For that, the networks turn to the cable and satellite operators that would like to offer the sports programming to their customers. The two sides negotiate the carriage fee — the price the cable and satellite operators will pay, per customer, in order to “carry” network as part of its sports programming packages.

The Padres-FSSD contract is valued in the range of $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion, putting average annual payments to the Padres in the $50 million to $75 million range. It’s thought the initial payment for 2012 was closer to $30 million. Before the 2012 season, Cox and DirecTV reportedly agreed to pay FSSD $5 per subscriber, but TWC, AT&T and DISH balked at that fee, leading to the impasse. It is not clear whether the holdouts eventually came around to a $5 per subscriber fee or if FSSD agreed to a lower fee to get those cable and satellite operators to join on.

The battle over carriage fees isn’t limited to regional sports networks, as I explained in this post last July. But when it comes to local sports programming, cable and satellite operators are digging deep — beyond the ratings reported by Nielsen — to understand who watches the local sports teams, when and for how long. Based on that information, many pay-TV providers simply have decided that paying carriage fees in the range of $5 per subscriber doesn’t make financial sense for them or for their customers.

SportsNet LA launched in February with around-the-clock Dodgers programming, but only customers with TWC or Bright House can view the network in their homes. Every other cable and satellite operator in the Los Angeles market has balked at the network’s carriage fee demand. And TWC hardly counts as an arms-length agreement, as it is the Dodgers’ broadcast partner in SportsNet LA. Indeed, TWC will essentially pay itself the carriage fee for SportsNet LA, and then pay the Dodgers their monthly rights fee as part of the 25-year, $8.3 billion megadeal. TWC CEO Rob Marcus apparently isn’t worried. He recently told a media conference that Opening Day has a way of making these deals shake out.

But according to the Wall Street Journal, DirecTV is pushing for an a la carte pay structure with SportsNet LA; that is, DirecTV will pay the carriage fee only for those customers who specifically subscribe to the network. The Dodgers have rejected that proposal, and for good reason. The economics of their deal don’t make sense if customers can pick and choose whether to pay for the network.

Bad economics are precisely what unfolded in Houston, where the Astros are embroiled in several lawsuits and a bankruptcy proceeding involving CSN Houston and the Astros’ broadcast rights. I explained what led to the legal mess in this post from last November. In short, CSN Houston couldn’t reach carriage fee deals with any cable or satellite provider other than Comcast. Disputes arose between and among Comcast, the Astros and the Houston Rockets — which collectively own CSN Houston — over how to negotiate the carriage fee deals and at what price. Comcast forced the parties into bankruptcy court. The Astros sued former owner Drayton McLane, claiming he misled new owner Jim Crane on the financial viability of the new network. Four months later, nothing’s been resolved.

There is a glimmer of hope for Astros fans, though. The Houston Chronicle reported this week the Astros are hoping to make their games available in the Houston area through the MLB Extra Innings Package. Typically, local games are blacked out on Extra Innings or MLB.tv, as a way of protecting the regional sports networks’ economic interests (often called their monopoly). It’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which CSN Houston willingly allows games to be broadcast on Extra Innings, as that would further undercut the little leverage the network has in trying to reach carriage deals and work its way out of bankruptcy.

At some point, you’d think sports networks would stop dolling out huge rights fee deals.


2014 Payroll Allocation, By Position

In Part One of this series, published yesterday, I ranked the projected 2014 Opening Day payrolls, estimated the number of pre-arbitration players on each Opening Day roster, and calculated the percentage of each team’s payroll attributed to the highest paid player.

Today, in Part Two, I break down the payrolls even further, into four component parts: the starting rotation, the starting lineup, the bullpen and the bench. In so doing, I made a judgment on who was likely to slot into these roles to start the season. FanGraphs’ Depth Charts and MLB Depth Charts were my go-to sources, but I made a deliberate decision to exclude all non-roster invitees from Opening Day rosters, as those players’ salaries aren’t included on Cot’s Contracts. Invariably, some of my judgment calls will be wrong. Feel free to note those in the comments, as many did yesterday in Part One.

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How Teams Are Allocating Their 2014 Payrolls

Spring training is in full gear. Opening Day — Australia style — is 26 days away. Several free agents still hoping for major-league deals remain unsigned, most notably Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales and Ervin Santana. They each received a qualifying offer from their last team, turned it down, and now sit waiting for a new team to pay them and agree to give up a draft pick. For the most part, though, teams have done the hard work to construct their Opening Day rosters, save for the usual spring training competitions for bench positions and the back end of the bullpen.

Combined, teams have committed more than $3 billion in salary for the 2014 season. The top spender is the Los Angeles Dodgers, at more than $220 million. The most frugal is the Miami Marlins, with approximately $42.5 million in salary obligations.

Every team, no matter the payroll, has to make decisions about how to spend the money allocated for player salaries. We wanted to know about those decisions. What percentage of a team’s payroll is spent on the highest-paid player? The starting rotations? The starting position players? The bullpen? The bench? How many pre-arbitration eligible players likely will be on each team’s Opening Day roster? Do big spending teams allocate their payroll in a different way than smaller spending team? If so, how? And so on.

We will answer those questions in a series of posts.

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MLB Under Attack On All Sides For Failing To Pay Mimimum Wage

Major League Baseball may still enjoy immunity from federal antitrust laws, but that immunity doesn’t mean the league or its teams can ignore federal and state laws that require employees be paid a minimum wage.

So say several lawsuits and other legal actions filed against MLB and several teams in the last year. The latest lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in San Francisco, could significantly change the economics of the league were it to succeed. In that case, three former minor league players filed a complaint against MLB, the Giants, Marlins and Royals on behalf of 6,000 current and former minor leaguers claiming that minor league salaries violate federal and state wage and hour laws.

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Your All-In-One MLB Legal Roundup

Much of my offseason writing on this site focused on the legal proceedings involving Major League Baseball, partly because MLB is embroiled in quite a few lawsuits, and partly because I try to stick to the advice: “Write what you know.” But as spring training kicks in to gear next week, and then the season in late March, I hope (I really, really hope) to spend more time on interesting baseball stories and less time on the intricacies of the Joint Drug Agreement and federal antitrust law.

Call me a dreamer.

In any event, there have been a few recent developments in MLB-related legal matters; perhaps not significant enough to warrant their own post, but important enough to mention as part of this legal roundup. When readers ask me on Twitter, “Hey, what’s happening with such-and-such lawsuit,” I’ll be able to send them a link to this article. At least for a while.

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It’s Fan Fest Season; Well, For Most Teams

Spring training is just around the corner. (Finally! At long last! Hallelujah!) Pitchers and catchers for the Diamondbacks and Dodgers report on Feb. 6 and Feb. 8, respectively, as those two teams get ready to open the season in Australia on Mar. 22. All other pitchers and catchers report the week of Feb. 10. It’s not just the players and coaches who need to practice for the season, though. Marketing and ticket sales representatives need to get in shape, too. So do the fans.

Which brings us to the season of Fan Fests and Caravans. Fan Fests are typically one, two, or three-day public events sponsored by teams, at which fans have the opportunity to talk directly to players, coaches and team executives; wait in long lines for autographs; check out the latest team gear and merchandise; and buy tickets for the upcoming season. Caravans take players and coaches on the road to the fans.

Most MLB teams host some kind of come-one, come-all Fan Fest, either at the ballpark, or a hotel or convention center nearby. Those teams with fan bases spread throughout a state or several states also conduct Caravans. Some do both.

But not all teams. The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Angels and Marlins will not be hosting any type of public, fans-meet-players event before the 2014 season starts.  One of those teams is not like the others. Or is it two teams? More on that later.

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Rodriguez Arbitration Decision A Clean Sweep For MLB

Alex Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association on Monday as part of an effort to overturn his suspension. That suspension became effective on Saturday when arbitrator Frederic Horowitz issued a decision on Rodriguez’s appeal and reduced the slugger’s penalty from 211 games to the entirety of the 2014 season — 162 regular season games and any postseason games the Yankees might play.

Click here to read Rodriguez’s complaint and arbitrator’s 33-page written decision, which is attached as Exhibit A to the complaint.

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Arbitrator’s Decision On Rodriguez Suspension Leaves Bad Taste

Baseball arbitrator Frederic Horowitz  reduced Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension from 211 to 162 games in an opinion released to the parties today. Now that the arbitrator has ruled, Rodriguez’s suspension takes effect immediately.

The meaning of “immediately” is unclear, though, because we are in the midst of the offseason. Rodriguez’s attorneys told reporters that the third baseman plans to show up for spring training with the Yankees, even if he is barred from playing any regular-season games this year. The Yankees are likely to do what they can to stop that from happening.

At this point, we don’t know why the arbitrator reduced Rodriguez’s suspension to 162 games. His written opinion has not been made public. Rodriguez’s attorneys announced that they plan to ask a federal court on Monday to overturn the decision, despite the long odds (more on that below). If that happens, the opinion is likely to become public as an exhibit to Rodriguez’s complaint.

Until then, we are left to wonder what evidence Horowitz found credible or which provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Joint Drug Policy he relied on in reducing the suspension from 211 games to 162.

On those points, let’s take a step back and remind ourselves how we got here.

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Philliles New TV Deal May Signal Tempering In Sports TV Market

Comcast will broadcast Philadelphia Phillies games for the next 27 years at a cost exceeding $2.5 billion, according to reports late last week. The Phillies’ prior deal with Comcast SportNet is set to expire after the 2015 season. The new deal will start in 2016 and run for 25 years.

According to reports, Comcast will pay the Phillies $2.5 billion over the course of 25 years for the broadcast rights, plus turn over a percentage of advertising revenue earned during game broadcasts. The Phillies also will receive a 25% equity stake in Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Comcast’s regional sports network in the Philadelphia area. The yearly cash payments will start at a figure below $100 million and increase 3% to 4% each year.

The structure of the Phillies’ new deal is most like the one the Los Angeles Angels inked with Fox Sports West before the 2012 season. Under that deal, FSW will pay the Angels in the neighborhood of $3 billion over 20 years for the right to broadcast Angels games. The team also received a 25% equity stake in the regional sports network.

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The Business of Baseball In 2013

Major League Baseball is awash in money. Lots and lots of money. Forbes reported last week that gross revenue for the league and its 30 teams will top $8 billion this year. And that’s before the new national TV contracts kick in. Next year, revenue could reach as high as $8.5 billion. As Forbes noted, total baseball revenue in 1995 was $1.4 billion. When adjusted for inflation, that figure rises to a bit more than $2.2 billion. That means we’ve seen baseball revenue grow an astounding 264% in just 18 years.

In 2013, the big story in the business of baseball is the exponential growth in league and team revenues, all while attendance is fairly flat and national TV ratings are down.

The sub-headlines tell the real story: where is all this money coming from; who is it going to; and how is it being spent.

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Federal Court Hearing In San Jose vs. MLB Could Move Process Forward

The federal judge overseeing the antitrust lawsuit by the City of San Jose against Major League Baseball held a case management conference Friday morning. But the hearing dealt with weightier issues as compared to the usual case management conference. Most particularly, the court is deciding whether to dismiss the two remaining state law claims for interference with contract and allow those claims to be re-filed in state court. If so, the court would enter final judgment in the federal case, and San Jose would have the right to immediately appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The hearing came two months after Judge Ronald M. Whyte issued an order that dismissed San Jose’s antitrust claims based on the court-created antitrust exemption for MLB. In the same order, the court held that San Jose had adequately pled two claims for interference with contract, on the theory that MLB’s delay in making a decision on the A’s proposal to move to San Jose had interfered with the A’s option agreement with San Jose to purchase five acres of land in downtown San Jose on which to build a new ballpark. My previous post on the Court’s ruling is here.

Judge Whyte began Friday’s hearing by stating that he was tentatively inclined to dismiss the state court claims. He then heard arguments by attorneys for the parties: John Keker for MLB and Philip Gregory for San Jose.

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MLB Court Filing: It Rejected A’s Proposal For San Jose Ballpark

In a court filing late Friday night, Major League Baseball told the federal judge hearing San Jose’s lawsuit against the league that MLB rejected the Oakland A’s proposal to move to San Jose in June.

Specifically, MLB wrote on page 6 of the Joint Case Management Conference Statement:

In fact, MLB denied the Athletics’ relocation request on June 17, 2013, one day before this lawsuit was filed. On that date, Commissioner Selig formally notified the Athletics ownership that he was not satisfied with the club’s relocation proposal. (Emphasis in original court filing).

MLB’s bold statement appeared to be a shift in position, if not in emphasis, from previous public statements. But a source familiar with the situation told me this morning that the June letter rejected only the specific proposal the A’s had submitted to MLB, on the grounds that the proposal lacked certain information and assurances sought by the league. The source couldn’t provide additional information on where the general idea of the A’s to San Jose currently stands.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that A’s owner Lew Wolff said that “because the matter is a legal proceeding, he cannot comment, and he stressed, as always, that he is following the  procedures set up by Major League Baseball.”

The June letter from Selig to the A’s has not been made public. In fact, it hasn’t even been shared with the City of San Jose, its attorneys or the Court. MLB is waiting for the Court to enter a protective order before providing the letter in the litigation. Protective orders are common in lawsuits that involve confidential business information, although the breadth and scope of the orders vary from case to case. Neither MLB nor its attorneys responded to specific questions on the basis for keeping the June letter confidential from the public.

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The Rockies’ Finances, As Told By The Owner, Bloomberg & Forbes

Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort recently told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies’ earned $170 million revenue in 2013. Monfort shared the information as part of a larger discussion with Renck about the Rockies’ finances as the team looks to upgrade for the 2014 season. As Renck reports, Rockies fans were in an uproar in October after learning that the team was building a party deck in the upper right-field seats. After two consecutive last-place finishes, fans were clamoring for more money to be spent on the product on the field, not the fan experience off of it.

Perhaps in response to the fans’ negative reaction, Monfort told Renck that the Rockies have a conservative business plan that aims to get the team into the postseason two times every five years. Specifically, Monfort said about the 2013 season:

  • The Rockies earned $170 million in revenue;
  • The Rockies spent $84 million on player salaries, including in-season call ups;
  • The payroll accounted for 49.4% of revenues, in line with the 50/50 rule of thumb; and
  • The Rockies local TV rights deal is worth $200 million over ten years and expires in 2020.

Renck asked about the additional revenue all MLB teams will receive in 2014 from the new national TV deals. As I explained in this post a few weeks ago, ESPN, Fox and TBS will pay MLB $1.5 billion per season from 2014 through 2021, nearly double what the networks paid the league under the prior deal. That works out to approximately $25 million in additional revenue per team, if the TV money passes entirely from MLB’s Central Fund to the 30 teams. Monfort believes that MLB will only pay out $19 million per team, to account for Central Fund money the league planned to hold back in 2013 but paid forward after teams complained.

For the Rockies, Monfort expects to spend $5 million or so of the additional $19 million on player salaries and $5.5 million on loan payments to MLB. Another $3.5 million will make up for an expected decrease in ticket revenue compared to 2013 when the Rockies hosted the Yankees and Red Sox at Coors Field. That leaves another $5 million. For what, it isn’t clear. Under the 50/50 rule of thumb, you’d expect the Rockies to spend $9.5 million of the $19 million on players’ salaries.

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Astros’ Regional Sports Network Awash In Losses And Lawsuits

Comcast SportsNet Houston went live Oct. 1, 2012, and has been in trouble ever since. Actually, the trouble may have started before the first broadcast signal beamed to homes in the Houston area. Now the network and its various constituent owners are fighting in federal bankruptcy court and in Texas state court. The situation may get worse before it gets better.

The Houston Astros own the largest equity stake in CSN Houston, at 46%. The Houston Rockets own 32% and Comcast has the remaining 22%. Comcast owns NBC Universal, which operates Comcast Sports Group — the network of regional sports networks that includes CSN Bay Area, CSN California, CSN Chicago, CSN Philadelphia, CSN Mid-Atlantic and CSN Northwest.

Not only do the Astros have a large stake in CSN Houston, but also a 20-year, rights-fee deal that was supposed to pay the team, on average, $80 million per season. That figure is in line with other recently-inked broadcast deals for MLB teams in medium-to-large television markets: the Rangers and Angels are on the high end, with deals averaging $150 million per year for 20 years. The Padres are on the low end, with a deal averaging $60 million per year for 20 years.

But what the Astros were scheduled to be paid for the broadcast rights to their games differs significantly from what they received. Forbes reported that the CSN Houston deal called for the Astros to be paid $56 million this year, but the network paid only $25 million because it didn’t have the revenue to meet its obligations.

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A-Rod Storms Out Of Arbitration, But Relief In Court Unlikely

Alex Rodriguez stormed out of the arbitration hearing today on his appeal of Major League Baseball’s 211-game suspension after the arbitrator, Frederic Horowitz, denied Rodriguez’s request to call Commissioner Bud Selig as a witnesses.

Rodriguez’s outburst is just the latest twist in the on-going drama between him and MLB. And it suggests that Rodriguez and his attorneys believe that the arbitrator will uphold the suspension, at least for some number of games. But Rodriguez is unlikely to get the help he wants from a court — to either stop the arbitration or overturn Horowitz’s final ruling.

Let’s review how we got here:

MLB suspended Rodriguez on August 5 for violations of the the Collective Bargaining Agreement and Joint Drug Agreement between MLB and the Players’ Association (or MLBPA). MLB charged Rodriguez with using banned substances over a period of years and with attempting to obstruct MLB’s investigation. MLB suspended Rodriguez for the remainder of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 season, which amounted to 211 games.

Rodriguez immediately appealed his suspension to baseball’s arbitrator. That gave Rodriguez the right to continue playing baseball until the arbitrator issued his final decision.

The hearing on Rodriguez’s appeal got under way on September 30 at MLB’s offices in New York. Even though Rodriguez is, essentially, the complainant — as he is challenging the commissioner’s suspension — MLB has the burden to prove that Rodriguez used substances banned by the JDA and impeded the investigation, and that the 211-game suspension was justified.

Over the course of several weeks, MLB put on the testimony of Anthony Bosch, the owner of the now-shuttered Biogenesis Clinic; Dan Mullins, MLB’s lead investigator, and Rob Manfred, MLB’s Chief Operating Officer. Rodriguez’s lawyers had the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses and did so. There were charges and counter-charges of secret meetings, witness tampering, purchasing stolen documents and more. The appeal hearing was adjourned in mid-October, and set to resume on November 18. In early November, the New York Times detailed the aggressive tactics used by both sides during MLB’s investigation and Rodriguez’s appeal in this story.

A few days after the Times story, Rodriguez sued MLB in New York state court for interfering with his contract with the Yankees and with other business relationships. Rodriguez accused MLB of doing everything in its power (and some things beyond its power) to paint him as the poster boy for the steroid era, to push him out of baseball and ruin his reputation. The complaint — which you can read here — previewed Rodriguez’s attack on MLB’s tactics and the appeal process, and tried to lay the groundwork for Rodriguez to overturn the arbitrator’s final ruling. But Rodriguez didn’t ask the state court to stop the appeal hearing.

MLB removed Rodriguez’s complaint to federal court on the theory that Rodriguez’s allegations and his claims are governed by the CBA and JDA, and thus pre-empted by federal labor law. MLB then filed a motion to dismiss Rodriguez’s complaint on the same grounds (copy here). MLB also argued that Rodriguez had failed to “exhaust his remedies” by filing a lawsuit before the end of the appeal hearing. Rodriguez, for his part, filed a motion to remand the case back to state court (copy here). The federal judge presiding over the case — Judge Lorna A. Schofield of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York — has not yet ruled on these motions.

Which brings us to today’s developments.

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The Braves and New Stadium Financing

Monday morning brought the startling news that the Atlanta Braves will be leaving Turner Field in downtown Atlanta at the end of the 2016 season for a new ballpark in neighboring Cobb County. The ballpark will be just 20 years old when the Braves depart. It opened in 1997, after the city of Atlanta converted its Olympic Stadium into what was then a state-of-the-art ballpark. But according to the Braves, Turner Field is in need of $150 million in renovations and upgrades, on top of the $125 million the Braves have spent on improvements to date. Even then, says the team, the ballpark would still sit in an area of downtown Atlanta that is not easily accessible by public transportation and that is surrounded by parking lots and little other economic development, which hampers the fan experience.

Instead, the Braves will reportedly invest that money and more into a new ballpark in unincorporated Cobb County, about 14 miles northwest of Turner Field.  The team purchased 60 acres near the intersection of Interstates 75 and 285 and plans to develop not just a new ballpark, but mixed-use properties (residential and commercial), parking lots, and open/green space.  Here’s a map showing where Turner Field is located (A) and where the new ballpark will be built (B).

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