Friday Sports Briefs

August 20, 2010

Clemens Indicted on Charges of Perjury

A federal grand jury indicted Roger Clemens for allegedly lying to Congress over his use of performance enhancing drugs.  Clemens, via Twitter, has denied the charges:

”I never took HGH or Steroids. And I did not lie to Congress. I look forward to challenging the Governments accusations, and hope people will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court.”

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports wrote an interesting article on Clemens and what lies ahead.  To read the federal indictment, click on the following link: Clemens Indictment

Michael McCann has also posted a great article on SI.com, detailing Clemens’ defense strategy.

Mets Could KO K-Rod’s Contract

Michael McCann answers the question of whether the New York Mets could void the contract of closer Francisco Rodriguez after he was injured in a post-game fight with his girlfriend’s father:

The answer is yes, although it would be a bold move and one likely to elicit a grievance filing by the Major League Baseball Players’ Association…

The Uniform Player Contract in Baseball contains at least two clauses that would empower the Mets to void Rodriguez’s deal. Paragraph 7(b)(1) authorizes a team to terminate a contract if a player “fails, refuses or neglects to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the club’s training rules.” Paragraph 7(b)(3) similarly lets teams terminate a contract if a player “fails, refuses or neglect to render his services hereunder or in any manner materially breach this contract.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Hartford Whalers Make Splash

The Whalers’ Fanfest organized by Howard Baldwin and his Whalers Sports & Entertainment group was lauded as a success and received a great deal of press coverage.  Here are some highlights:

Whalers return – for a weekend, anyway (Jonathan Baum, Yahoo! Sports)

Whalers Sales: Long-Gone Team’s Merchandise Among The Hottest Sellers In NHL (Kenneth R. Gosselin, Hartford Courant)

Whalers Reunion And Fan Fest A Day To Remember


Ellsbury Provides Signature Play, Marazzi Provides Expert Analysis

May 6, 2009

Jacoby Ellsbury’s steal of home plate against the Yankees provided the signature play and the enduring image of the first Red Sox-Yankees series of 2009.  Whether this play will effect the long-term success of the two clubs remains to be seen.  Nevertheless, Ellsbury’s play brought up an interesting issue:

What would have happened had Ellsbury been struck by Andy Pettitte’s pitch while stealing home?  Only an expert could explain such a scenario.  Enter Rich Marazzi, baseball rules expert and founder of RULEBALL.  Here is Marazzi’s explanation:

If a runner breaking for home is struck by the pitch, the ball becomes dead immediately and all runners, including the struck runner who is advancing home, automatically advance one base  from the last legal base they occupied at the time of the pitch. The umpire must call the pitch a “ball” or a “strike.” If the call is “strike three” and there are less than two outs, the batter is out but the run scores; if the call is “strike three” and it is the third out, the batter is out and the run does not score.

Thank you to Rich Marazzi for sharing his baseball expertise and shedding some light on one of the signature plays of this young baseball season. 

A native of Ansonia, Connecticut, Rich Marazzi is a rules consultant for the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros.  He has authored five baseball books and is a national columnist for Baseball Digest, Collegiate Baseball and Sports Collectors Digest.  Marazzi is considered by many as the country’s foremost rules expert in applying the rules to game situations for players, coaches and managers.  In addition, Marazzi is the anchor for “Inside Yankee Baseball” on ESPN Radio 1300, airing on Saturday mornings.


Waste, Abuse and Fraud Alleged in Construction of New Yankee Stadium

September 19, 2008

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are throwing out serious allegations of waste, abuse and fraud in connection with the construction of the New York Yankees’ new stadium.  Representative Dennis Kucinich stated as follows:

In the case of the new Yankee Stadium, not only have we found waste and abuse of public dollars subsidizing a project that is for the exclusive benefit of a private entity, the Yankees, but also we have discovered serious questions about the accuracy of certain representations made by the City of New York to the federal government.

More specifically, the committee alleges that New York city officials “misrepresented to the IRS the value of the property, helping them to get special tax deals from the federal government and in effect dumping the cost of construction onto taxpayers.”

The issue of using public money to finance private stadiums has been debated for some time now.  However, with the current state of the nation’s economy, the issue is receiving additional attention.  Not to be discounted is the political opportunity that this investigation presents.  With the continued push for the construction of new stadiums, the Giants and Jets’ implementation of exorbitant personal seat licenses, and now allegations of fraud in the Bronx, the political stage is set for a widening of the gap between professional sports teams and their middle-class fans.

And for Connecticut readers, remember the proposed downtown stadium for the Patriots?  I recently came across this University of Miami Business Law Review article by Matthew J. Parlow (10 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 483) that characterizes the stadium deal as extremely one-sided.  I have attached the excerpt here: hartfordstadium.


Yankees Consider Legal Action Against Construction Worker

April 16, 2008

The New York Yankees are apparently considering legal action against the Red Sox-rooting construction worker who buried a David Ortiz jersey in the concrete of the Yankees’ new stadium.  It would appear that both criminal and civil charges could be filed against Gino Castignoli, who turned his one day of work on the new Yankees’ stadium into a national news story.

Geoffrey Rapp of the Sports Law Blog has provided an analysis of the trespass issue, and opines that it is an open and shut case against Castignoli:

Any person who commits an act of entry with intent to the land of another without permission is liable to the other for trespass.  Leaving a thing on land without permission can constitute the “act of entry” needed for the trespass claim.  And trespass, like other intentional torts, doesn’t have much of a sense of humor - as long as there was intent, that the effort may have been a good-natured practical joke would not provide a defense.

A more interesting argument might be whether the Yankees removal of the jersey - which took a reported five hours of drilling - was necessary.  Did the Yankees mitigate their damages?

These legal issues may very well go unresolved.  The Yankees will take the classy step of donating the jersey to the Jimmy Fund, the longtime preferred charity of the Red Sox.  On the heels of this public relations victory, the decision to prosecute or litigate may not be wise for the Yankees.