Archive - December 2014

  1. Column: Sports Business Stories to Watch in 2015December 29, 2014

    It’s the time of year to trespass into the unknown and predict the biggest sports business stories to watch in 2015. Last year I should have played the lottery, hitting on all six predictions: The continuing saga of concussions in football and all of sports; Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s return to relevancy in NASCAR and what it meant to the sport; the O’Bannon Case; the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia; the continued expansion and cost of sports programming; and the growing backlog of worthy candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame and its impact on the Hall’s business. There’s no way I will be as prescient this year…is there?

  2. Column: MiLB System Under Attack - AgainDecember 22, 2014

    Major League Baseball’s Minor League system is under attack - again. In early December four former Minor League Baseball (MiLB) players filed a lawsuit claiming that MLB is in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act for conspiring to suppress MiLB salaries in a variety of ways. The suit, known as the Miranda case, follows on the heels of the Senne case filed last February. In Senne the Plaintiffs claim that MiLB players are paid less than the minimum wage in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). MLB countered that MiLB players are seasonal workers; they are apprenticing for a job in MLB; some of the hours devoted to training are for the players’ own benefit; and the players should be classified as interns. If any of those scenarios apply, MLB may be exempt from the provisions of the FLSA.

  3. Column: Hall of Fame Voting Should be RevisedDecember 15, 2014

    It’s the time of year when 10-year members of the Baseball Writers Association of America – some 600 at last count - elect former players to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ballots are due by December 27 and the results will be announced on January 6. Unfortunately, the Hall’s rules limit the number of worthy candidates that get elected every year. The voting rules are both simple and complex. Candidates must receive 75% of the votes cast to gain election. Beginning this year, players will remain on the ballot for ten years, down from fifteen in prior years. However, any player receiving less than 5% of the vote falls off the ballot. Players who aren’t elected by the baseball writers may be considered by the 16-member veterans committee. Writers are allowed to vote for a maximum of ten candidates. That’s the simple part.

  4. Column: Five Takeaways From the Ray Rice Arbitration DecisionDecember 7, 2014

    U. S. District Court Judge Barbara S. Jones’ decision to overturn Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came as no surprise to most observers. The former Baltimore Ravens’ running back won his appeal against the NFL for all the right reasons. Here are five takeaways from Judge Jones’ ruling. 1. Ray Rice wasn’t found “innocent” of committing domestic violence. The arbitration hearing was neither a civil trial to establish liability nor a criminal trial designed to determine guilt or innocence. The sole issue was whether Goodell abused the powers granted to him under the Collective Bargaining Agreement by punishing Rice twice for the same offense, first when he imposed a two-game suspension in July followed by an indefinite suspension in September. Judge Jones confirmed what Rice and everyone in his camp – his wife Janay, his attorney, the NFLPA and Baltimore Ravens’ General Manager Ozzie Newsome, all of whom were present during the initial hearing with Goodell in June - has been saying all along: Rice admitted to striking his then fiancé Janay in an Atlantic City elevator prior to the release of the incriminating video.

  5. Column: The Six Most Important People In Baseball HistoryDecember 1, 2014

    Several websites have recently come up with a list of the twenty-five most important people in baseball history. I’ve decided to compile my own list but in the interest of space, I’m limiting myself to the top six, which complicates matters exponentially. Among the candidates are the more than 18,000 players and hundreds of managers and executives who worked in baseball. Also considered were outsiders who had an impact on the game, like union leader Marvin Miller and Dr. Frank Jobe, the surgeon who pioneered the operation known as Tommy John surgery after the first – and most famous - patient.