A report today in the Associated Press noted that the baseball players’ union has found evidence that major league teams “acted in concert” in failing to sign Barry Bonds this past summer.
In an unrelated announcement of similar qualitative scope, scientists have announced that the rotation of the earth and the seeming disappearance and later reappearance of the sun every 24 hours are indisputably linked.
Ya think? This was apparently one of those deals where everybody knew what was going on and yet blissfully pretended that they didn’t – kind of like the decade or so that steroids were the abuse drug of choice and yet MLB owners and the Commissioner were clueless. Hard to imagine that a demographic (obscenely wealthy team owners) that wasn’t clever enough to get away with colluding against hundreds of free agents from 1985-87 couldn’t even get it together enough to pull off the same tacky maneuver on a smaller scale two decades later. A really smaller scale: one guy.
It will be interesting to see once the grievance is filed (the union and MLB agreed to delay the actual filing of the grievance – the AP says any filing would likely come after Bonds’ trail, which starts March 2 of next year) if the charges implicate only American League teams. One assumes the National League teams could offer a pretty sound argument that Bonds might have been too much of a defensive liability, but you would have thought he might have been a good DH for somebody.
Obviously, a simple finding from the union doesn’t mean that the owners can’t win a grievance hearing, but this is "the gang that can’t collude straight." And this particular blog isn’t sour grapes, though I concede I did naively suggest many months ago that Bonds would play somewhere in 2007.
So shoot me for thinking that simply attending to a team’s self-interest would be enough to get someone to give him a shot. I guess I somehow underestimated the overwhelming revulsion that MLB owners must feel about their minions using performance-enhancing drugs. Silly me, I mistook 15 years of gleefully collecting millions of dollars from whirring turnstiles while the integrity of the record book was thoroughly shattered for evidence of some complicity in the fraud on their part.