Politicians And Sports

Their batting average is not “oh-fer”, but when politicians do their thing relative to the sports world, their batting average is close to that of Bob Buhl who is the worst hitter I have ever seen.  Buhl was a successful starting pitcher for the Braves, Cubs and Phillies in the 50s and 60s, but his skills in the batter’s box were “less than sufficient”.  His career batting average was .089.  Over his 15-year career, he amassed 76 hits while striking out 359 times.

The most recent foray by a group of politicians into the world of sports is going to be about as effective as a Bob Buhl plate appearance.  Consider please the Los Angeles City Council who found sufficient wisdom and fortitude to:

  • Pass a resolution seeking to have MLB give the 2017 World Series Trophy to the rightful winners, the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Michael McCann is the legal analyst/columnist at SI.com.  I am certainly not in any position to judge his legal acumen, but I will say that his columns are always worthwhile for me because they explain legal intricacies in language that I can understand.  One of his most recent columns had this headline and sub-head:

20 Questions About MLB’s Sign-Stealing Scandal

Everything you need to know about the ongoing sign-stealing controversy with a legal lens on it.

In the middle of this analysis, McCann says that players cannot sue for bonuses they may have lost due to the ongoing cheating.  The fundamental reason here is that players agreed that arbitration is their only remedy here and McCann concludes that their claims would be sufficiently speculative that arbitration judges would not be favorably disposed.  Then he asks rhetorically:

  • Could ticket-holders and viewers who are upset their team lost successfully sue MLB?

He takes a paragraph to explain why he thinks any such actions would fail and then provides the following conclusion:

“Also, being upset that one’s favorite team may have been cheated out of a World Series is understandable but it’s not a harm the law ought to remedy. Neither MLB nor its clubs have a legal duty to make us happy.”

Obviously, no one on the LA City Council read this column before they debated and then voted upon their landmark resolution…

If you want to read the entire column, here is a link.  I learned things and I enjoyed reading it…

MLB will lose no sleep over that resolution by the LA City Council, but MLB has made a decision regarding the 2020 season that will provide change for the games.  Pedro Gomez of ESPN broke the story that MLB umpires will be “mic’ed up” this year like the way that NFL referees are enabling umpires to explain rules and/or the results of team challenges to the fans in attendance and the TV audience.  If MLB is going to use replay, this addendum is overdue.

Another benefit could accrue about once a month when one of the arcane rules of baseball is violated and an umpire calls it.  The average fan must wait until the next day to get an explanation in his morning paper or on the morning edition of SportsCenter; with an NFL-style communication system, the play can be explained “on the spot”.  I like this idea, but I offer two caveats:

  1. This will not assure that all calls are made correctly.  That is not the intent and it is beyond reasonable expectation.
  2. Get ready for at least a couple installments of The Joe West Show.

Switching to the NFL, Super Bowl tickets on the secondary market are very expensive this year.  If you expect to make it to the game in Miami, expect to shell out at least $4500 per seat at the game and some tickets have an asking price this morning that is just north of $15K per fanny-holder.  Perhaps you really want to go to the game but just don’t have access to that sort of cash for you and your main squeeze at this moment.  Not to worry, StubHub and its new partner, Affirm, will let you buy the tickets and finance them with a loan directly from Affirm that will let you pay over a period of 3 months or 6 months or 12 months at an interest rate of 10-30%.

I don’t want to go into full “Suze Orman Mode” here; but somehow, I doubt that incurring a debt in the $10K range or higher at an interest rate near or above 20% is even marginally sound financial planning.

Finally, I like it when people make it clear what they mean to say.  The manager of the Tottenham Hotspurs in the English Premier League received a yellow card from the referee for vociferously protesting some calls in a game against Southampton.  José Mourhino was asked about that yellow card in a post-game interview:

“I clearly deserved the yellow card, as I was rude. But I was rude to an idiot.”

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



2 thoughts on “Politicians And Sports”

  1. Mourinho’s comment reminds me of something Churchill said to one of his bete noirs when she was complaining about him being lit (paraphrasing here): “I am drunk, and you are ugly, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly”.

    Good column, and one wonders whether any of the LA City Council members are getting re-elected this year. But… if the idea is to allow revision of results, let’s not forget all of those silver medals from 1972 in Munich that belonged to the CCCP. They’re still there to get picked up.

    1. Rugger9:

      Another Churchillian story I love is a purported exchange between Lady Astor and Sir Winston:

      Lady Astor: “If you were my husband, Winston, I’d put poison in your tea.”

      Churchill: “If I were your husband, Nancy, I’d drink it.”

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