|2016 Season||Edition No. 12||May 26, 2016|
WAHOOS CONTINUE FREEFALL,
CUBS NOW ONLY 4.2 POINTS BEHIND;
BUMS RUSH INTO CONTENTION WITH
591.3-POINT WEEK; TIGERS MAUL
OPPOSITION, CLAW WAY INTO
5TH PLACE; TRIBE IN TOTAL DISARRAY,
SEEKING GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS
The news for Week 7 is that the Wahoos continue to encounter reality, and could muster up only an 8th-best weekly total of 418.1 points for the week, allowing the Cubs to nearly erase what was once a seemingly insurmountable lead. With the Bums posting a league-best 591.3 points for the week, we suddenly have a 3-team race, with the Bums only 204.9 points out of the lead.
The Tigers have completed a scorching-hot fortnight of baseball, posting a 560.2 point total for Week 7, following a 588.3 point total in Week 6, for a cumulative total of 1148.5 points for the past two weeks. This allowed the Tigers to move from near the bottom of the standings all the way to 5th place with 3272.8 total points, well ahead of the 6th place Skipjacks.
At the other end of the spectrum, the dismal Tribe continues to behave like a pack of pie-eyed Whiteclay rumpots, managing only 336.5 points for the week, lapsing deeper still into the League Bowels.
Here are the standings through Week 7:
STANDINGS THROUGH MAY 22, 2016
POINT TOTALS THROUGH WEEK 7
TOP 25 PITCHERS
TOP 25 HITTERS
GUEST ARTICLE SCHEDULE
It finally dawned on me the other day that I have not posted a guest newsletter schedule for this season, and that I have been hogging all of the limelight by posting weekly Bullpens since the start of the season. My bad.
I thought about just drawing names from a hat to come up with the scheduling order, but then I thought better about it and decided instead to utilize a sequencing methodology which I will simply refer to as “Editor’s Whim.” So on that note, we are starting with Big Guy, who is being asked to publish one of his statistics-rich guest editions of The Tiger’s Tale next week, which will allow him to brag on his team a bit and how they have risen from the ashes not unlike a phoenix, rocketing from 11th place to 4th place in a span of about two weeks. As an aside, as I looked through Big Guy’s current roster to see who has been hot for the Tigers, I realized that Big Guy has assembled one heck of a team, one that could definitely pose a threat to finish in a money position this year if they manage to stay healthy.
After The Tiger’s Tale, I have scheduled Big Johnny to regale us with some more fish tales through a guest edition of The Jiggernaut. I realize that he is actually working these days—to the extent that huckstering telephone answering services can be considered gainful employment—but I know we are all anxious to hear from our witty and oft-inebriated friend, to see what twisted musings his pickled gray matter has to offer.
Here is the guest edition schedule:
Please be sure to have your newsletter to Linda by noon on Wednesday of your assigned week, by emailing it to her at email@example.com. If any of you will not be able to provide your guest newsletter on the week assigned, feel free to swap with one of your brother owners if you can gain their permission to do so, but please let us know if such a trade is made. Possum, we will look forward to receiving yours no later than 30 days after it is due, as per usual.
A Well-Paid Slave
I recently completed the seminal work on Curt Flood and his challenging of the MLB reserve clause, entitled A Well-Paid Slave. Authored in 2007 by Brad Snyder, A Well-Paid Slave is an extremely well-written recounting of Flood’s epic battle against the baseball lords and the United States Supreme Court. You may remember that Flood was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals after the 1969 season against his wishes. Flood liked playing for the Cardinals, was a successful businessman in the St. Louis area, and had no desire to go to a baseball club which still hadn’t fully embraced integration. He decided to challenge the reserve clause which bound every major league player to the club that they were signed with, and which essentially forced them to accept whatever salary and terms the club offered, or sit out a season. There was no such thing as veto power over a trade at that time, nor arbitration, and there was a complete imbalance in the bargaining power of ownership versus the players.
The book tells the story of how Flood contacted Marvin Miller, the executive director of the players’ union, and told him that he wanted to challenge the reserve clause. Miller warned Flood that it would probably be the end of his playing career, and he questioned whether Flood had the stomach to see the matter all the way through what was sure to be protracted litigation.
Already an impressive drinker, the bruising litigation against Major League Baseball effectively resulted in Flood becoming a full-fledged alcoholic, and led to his financial ruin. As the Supreme Court announced its decision which affirmed a circuit court ruling against his position—refusing to strike down baseball’s curious exemption from the antitrust laws of our nation—Flood was living in Majorca, Spain, and working at a bar called The Rustic Inn, a bar he owned together with his girlfriend.
When the Flood v. Kuhn decision finally came out in 1972 (407 U.S. 258), it was only after a significant amount of horse-trading and judicial monkeyshines by the highest court in our land. As later described in The Brethren (by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong), Justice Harry Blackmun (one of the “Minnesota Twins,” together with the Chief Justice) was assigned the writing of the opinion by C.J. Warren Burger in an effort to boost Justice Blackmun’s confidence as the newest member on the bench. It seems as though Blackmun spent more time researching the history of baseball and working on his flowery language in the preamble to the opinion than he did actually considering the substantive issues at hand, including whether Major League Baseball was “interstate commerce” and therefore subject to federal antitrust law. For the sake of posterity, we are including Blackmun’s incandescent paean to our national pastime hereinbelow:
It is a century and a quarter since the New York Nine defeated the Knickerbockers 23 to 1 on Hoboken's Elysian Fields June 19, 1846, with Alexander Jay Cartwright as the instigator and the umpire. The teams were amateur, but the contest marked a significant date in baseball's beginnings. That early game led ultimately to the development of professional baseball and its tightly organized structure.
The Cincinnati Red Stockings came into existence in 1869 upon an outpouring of local pride. With only one Cincinnatian on the payroll, this professional team traveled over 11,000 miles that summer, winning 56 games and tying one. Shortly thereafter, on St. Patrick's Day in 1871, the National Association of Professional Baseball Players was founded and the professional league was born.
The ensuing colorful days are well known. The ardent follower and the student of baseball know of General Abner Doubleday; the formation of the National League in 1876; Chicago's supremacy in the first year's competition under the leadership of Al Spalding and with Cap Anson at third base; the formation of the American Association and then of the Union Association in the 1880's; the introduction of Sunday baseball; interleague warfare with cut-rate admission prices and player raiding; the development of the reserve "clause"; the emergence in 1885 of the Brotherhood of Professional Ball Players, and in 1890 of the Players League; the appearance of the American League, or "junior circuit," in 1901, rising from the minor Western Association; the first World Series in 1903, disruption in 1904, and the Series' resumption in 1905; the short-lived Federal League on the majors' scene during World War I years; the troublesome and discouraging episode of the 1919 Series; the home run ball; the shifting of franchises; the expansion of the leagues; the installation in 1965 of the major league draft of potential new players; and the formation of the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1966.
Then there are the many names, celebrated for one reason or another, that have sparked the diamond and its environs and that have provided tinder for recaptured thrills, for reminiscence and comparisons, and for conversation and anticipation in-season and off-season: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, Walter Johnson, Henry Chadwick, Eddie Collins, Lou Gehrig, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Rogers Hornsby, Harry Hooper, Goose Goslin, Jackie Robinson, Honus Wagner, Joe McCarthy, John McGraw, Deacon Phillippe, Rube Marquard, Christy Mathewson, Tommy Leach, Big Ed Delahanty, Davy Jones, Germany Schaefer, King Kelly, Big Dan Brouthers, Wahoo Sam Crawford, Wee Willie Keeler, Big Ed Walsh, Jimmy Austin, Fred Snodgrass, Satchel Paige, Hugh Jennings, Fred Merkle, Iron Man McGinnity, Three-Finger Brown, Harry and Stan Coveleski, Connie Mack, Al Bridwell, Red Ruffing, Amos Rusie, Cy Young, Smokey Joe Wood, Chief Meyers, Chief Bender, Bill Klem, Hans Lobert, Johnny Evers, Joe Tinker, Roy Campanella, Miller Huggins, Rube Bressler, Dazzy Vance, Edd Roush, Bill Wambsganss, Clark Griffith, Branch Rickey, Frank Chance, Cap Anson, Nap Lajoie, Sad Sam Jones, Bob O'Farrell, Lefty O'Doul, Bobby Veach, Willie Kamm, Heinie Groh, Lloyd and Paul Waner, Stuffy McInnis, Charles Comiskey, Roger Bresnahan, Bill Dickey, Zack Wheat, George Sisler, Charlie Gehringer, Eppa Rixey, Harry Heilmann, Fred Clarke, Dizzy Dean, Hank Greenberg, Pie Traynor, Rube Waddell, Bill Terry, Carl Hubbell, Old Hoss Radbourne, Moe Berg, Rabbit Maranville, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove. The list seems endless.
And one recalls the appropriate reference to the "World Serious," attributed to Ring Lardner, Sr.; Ernest L. Thayer's "Casey at the Bat"; the ring of "Tinker to Evers to Chance"; and all the other happenings, habits, and superstitions about and around baseball that made it the "national pastime" or, depending upon the point of view, "the great American tragedy."
In the end, although the Supreme Court ruled in Baseball’s favor by a vote of 5-3, the opinion contained an admission that the original grounds for Baseball’s antitrust exemption were at best tenuous, and that Baseball was indeed interstate commerce for purposes of the Sherman Antitrust Act; and that the exemption for Baseball was an “anomaly” which the Court had explicitly refused to extend to other professional sports or entertainment. This admission set in motion certain events which ultimately led to an arbitrator’s ruling which nullified the reserve clause, and opened the door for free agency in baseball and other sports. Flood’s impavid crusade led to other “well-paid slaves” being freed from the chains of the reserve clause, and eventually to economic prosperity for the rank and file of the Major League Players Association.
As an entertaining and enlightening read, I highly recommend A Well-Paid Slave to the HSL brotherhood.
I had the great good fortune to revisit PNC Park in Pittsburgh last Thursday night, and watched the Senators’ own Jeff Locke twirl a Quality Start win against the forlorn visiting Braves, the final score being 8-2. On a beautiful spring night with a full moon beaming over right field, enjoying the good company of my brother Dan, our physician Dr. Brand, and my good friends Brian and Beth Hennings, it was one of those magical nights that one wishes would not have to end.
And speaking of PNC Park, how about a report from our Trip leaders on plans for the HSL junket in August? It’s been awfully quiet out there, too quiet.
Enough said. Looking forward to The Tiger’s Tale next week.