Strange Doin’s In NYC…

Isiah Thomas is now the President and a part owner of the NY Liberty in the WNBA. The major owner of the Liberty is MSG Inc which in turn is controlled by James Dolan who also owns the Knicks. The “bromance” between Thomas and Dolan has been a story for a while and some folks have taken this as simply the latest chapter in that story. I think there is a more interesting angle here.

When Thomas ran the Knicks, one of the events that led to his departure from the team was a lawsuit bright against him and MSG by a female employee of the Knicks. She claimed that she was sexually harassed on the job and sued for something around $10M. Moreover, she won the case. Now, not only does Thomas return to professional basketball in NYC, he does it with the women’s team in NYC. In making this announcement, here is something James Dolan said about Thomas:

“He’s an excellent judge of talent and I’m confident that he will put all of his energy [into making the Liberty competitive].”

I might be willing to give dolan the benefit of the doubt here if Thomas had been a success somewhere as a GM or a coach or a team president. If such success – worthy of being labeled an excellent judge of talent – exists, I did not find it.

That move was surprising but other news out of NYC this week is much less of a surprise. Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays on the all-time home run list and that should trigger a $6M payment from the Yankees. The team said back in Spring Training that they would not honor that part of the contract because – they claim – that the $6M is payment for them to market the achievement. However, they say that A-Rod’s suspension last year for PED use makes such marketing impossible; and therefore, they do not owe him anything. Their position is that since this is a marketing deal, they have the option to market or not to market and they now choose not to market.

Frankly, that sounds pretty flimsy to me. The Yankees would not want me on a jury that would be charged to decide this matter. I will give the Yankees credit for something here:

    With this action, the Yankees have managed to make Alex Rodriguez look like the “good guy in the white hat”. Anyone who has tracked A-Rod’s behaviors off the field for the last decade or so would have to admit that is no easy feat.

Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot had this comment recently regarding the Angels and Josh Hamilton. Given the ongoing circumstances between the Yankees and A-Rod, it seems equally applicable there too:

“Idle thought: Why stop at drug testing Josh Hamilton? Baseball should be administering urine tests to the Angels executives who signed Hamilton to a $125 million deal.”

Last weekend, Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did a column about the idea of putting the DH in the National League. Here is a link so you can read it in its entirety. One of the arguments advanced to support putting the DH in the National League is that 2 pitchers have been injured while batting recently and that is not a good thing for baseball. Here is one paragraph from Professor Collier’s exposition last weekend:

“The fact is, pitchers really shouldn’t do anything, especially pitch. You can’t keep them healthy no matter what you do; 110 pitchers were on the disabled list Friday of this week. Most had cranky shoulders and ouchy elbows awaiting a clinical go-or-no on Tommy John surgery, a procedure so common that it’ll soon be available at the drive-thru at Walgreen’s.”

I have never been enamored of the DH. If I were King of the World (H/T to Bill Conlin), I would resolve the issue of two different sets of rules for the two baseball leagues very simply. I would get rid of the DH in the American League. I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon but that is only because I am not about to ascend to the role of King of the World.

Steven Gerrard is a midfield player for Liverpool in the English Premier League and he is the captain of the team. He has spent his entire career with the Liverpool club and recently started his 500th game in the EPL; only 11 other players in history have played in that many EPL games. Gerrard holds one other distinction. He is the only player ever to score a goal in an EPL Final Game, an FA Cup Final Game, a UEFA Cup Final Game and a Champions League Final Game. Reports are that Gerrard will leave Liverpool at the end of this season and will come to the US to play for the LA Galaxy in MLS. Steven Gerrard may not be as famous or as recognizable as Pele or Messi or Ronaldo, but he will raise the level of play in MLS with his presence.

Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald put the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight into perspective earlier this week:

“Pacquiao-Mayweather sold out in seconds. For Nebraska football, that’s called ‘the South Alabama game’.”

Finally, a soccer note from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“Ghanaian soccer official Kofi Manu says his team got knocked out of the CAF Champions League because players were sleep-deprived from watching too much pornography.

“As for the players, they’re withholding comment until they’ve seen the films again.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

14 thoughts on “Strange Doin’s In NYC…”

  1. Is this the same Isiah Thomas who bought the entire CBA, the oldest league in professional basketball (even older than the NBA), and promptly drove it out of business in less than a year-and-a-half?

    Nice hire, NY Liberty.

  2. The Yankees goals with the bonus are simple: Trigger A-Rod’s lawyers to claim that the Yankees are violating the “good faith” clause in the contract (their best hope), at which point the Yanks will counter that it was A-Rods steroids usage that was not acting in “good faith”.

    Who’s going to win that argument?

    The $6M was strictly defined as the marketing rights to the event, and A-Rods usage rendered those rights moot. If you sold the Mona Lisa for $6M, and then you yourself splashed paint all over it before the transfer was complete, it wouldn’t still be worth $6M, would it?

    Kudos to the Yanks for standing up to this fraud.

    If A-Roid wanted to turn the tables on the Yankees, he should have proactively announced that he was donating the entire $6M to Derek Jeter’s Turn2 Foundation. (Does he really need the money?) It would have saved face for A-Fraud, patched some holes in the relationship between A-Rod and Jeter, won back the hearts of many Yankees fans, and rendered it impossible for the Yankees to challenge the bonus.

    But no one in the A-Roid camp was smart enough to suggest this.

    Screw you, cheater.

    1. Doug:

      A-Rod is a despicable human being. I would have no expectation that he would have figured out a way to come out ahead on this matter if “coming out ahead” had something to do with Derek Jeter and/or a charity.

      The Yankees are making him look like a victim. That is awfully boneheaded on their part.

  3. I guess it’s a matter of perception. I’m in Yankee land and I’m not sure anybody sees A-Roid as a victim here. The talk has overwhelmingly been in favor of the Yankees telling A-Rod they’re not going to pay for the marketing rights.

    1. Doug 2:

      Thank you for the addition to your screen name…

      I am not surprised that Yankees’ fans would take the team side as opposed to A-Rod’s side in just about any dispute. The MLBPA has all but said that they will intervene on A-Rod’s behalf which is also unsurprising. Since this “squabble” is over terms of an MLB contract, it is not clear to me if this will be a court case or another arbitration hearing. Obviously, I would prefer a court case where all of the evidence and testimony are open; but clearly, my preferences are not going to matter even a little bit.

  4. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the Yankees.

    Perhaps the biggest joker in this whole situation is Yankee GM Brian Cashman. How, after everything went down in the Mitchell Report, after A-Roid was already implicated as a steroid user, and knowing what they were getting with A-Rod, could Yankees possibly have shelled out another $275M without writing some kind of clause in the contract assuring A-Roid would have to remain steroid free? It is absolutely inconceivable to me.

    I think the $6M bonus should come out of Brian Cashman’s paycheck.

    1. Exactly. I would defend the Yankee decision a lot more if Captain Renault, I mean GM Cashman, was not so shocked A-Rod was juicing.

      Curm, are those soccer players compensating for not being able to use their hands at work?

      1. Ed:

        I shall refrain from speculating on the motivation of those soccer players and their pornography viewing habits. I do wonder, however, how often one of them yelled “GOOOOALLL!” during the screenings…

  5. Patriots “more probably than not” intentionally deflated the footballs vs the colts? Curmudge you need to get to the bottom of this.
    Penalties should be significantly more than the last time they got caught with their fingers in the cookie jar. Something like 1 mil in fines and no draft picks next year? Or just let all their opponents use Nerf’s when playing against them????

    1. joew:

      I recognize this is not a court of law, but “more probably than not” is weasel-wording that could be translated to “we think they did it but there is no way we can be sure”.

      I doubt you could fine the Pats or Robert Kraft an amount of money that would a) get their/his attention while b) not being so outlandish that people believe the league is out to get the Pats. $1M to the Pats is chump change; $100M is sigmificant but people would say that compared to previous penalties it makes no sense. Remember, the Jets and owner Woody Johnson just got fined the princely sum of $100K for tampering.

      I think the league ought to take a high draft pick away from the Pats next year if the league thinks the team needs a public spanking.

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