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Saturday, February 14, 2009
New Article: The Truth about Collusion in Baseball
For those interested in the history of baseball collusion and its implications on the game today, here is a link to my newest article -- "Moving Past Collusion in Major League Baseball: Healing Old Wounds and Preventing New Ones."
This article discusses the history of collusion in Baseball, as well as explains how Baseball collusion in the 1980s led to more recent allegations of collusion (A-Rod, Bonds) and other troubling aspects of Baseball's labor-management relationship (for example, drug testing disagreements).
Here are a few highlights from the piece:
(1) Selig's Documented Role in Collusion: Although MLB Commissioner Bud Selig continues to deny any role in collusion, Arbitrator George Nicolau in his Collusion II ruling cited testimony from Philadelphia Phillies president William Giles that Selig -- in the capacity of Milwaukee Brewers owner -- called him to discourage the Phillies' signing of catcher Lance Parrish (p. 619-20).
(2) George is the Good Guy: Although often maligned for other reasons, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was probably Baseball's least culpable owner during the Collusion Era. In Arbitrator Thomas Roberts' Collusion I ruling, he cites an offer Steinbrenner made for catcher Carlton Fisk as the only bona fide free agent offering during the 1985-86 season. (p. 615).
(3) The Smallwood Plan: Major League Baseball continues to criticize Barry Bonds's collusion allegations as being unrealistic and fanciful. However, the idea really can't be that off-the-wall. On September 1, 2006 -- long before Bonds was out of baseball -- Philadelphia Daily News reporter John Smallwood wrote an editorial piece explicitly suggesting that clubs collude against his services (p. 630).
(4) The Solution: Want to keep future allegations of collusion out of Baseball? The answer involves four steps: (i) returning the game's oversight to a neutral, outside commissioner; (ii) separating the role of Baseball CEO from Baseball Commissioner; (iii) allowing union lawyer oversight of Major League Baseball's off-season meetings; and (iv) providing full disclosure to players and fans about past collusion (p. 635-639).
(This article is cross-posted at SportsJudge Blog).