Column: MLB Teams Hire Multiple GM'sNovember 24, 2014

“I am in control here.” General Alexander M. Haig, Jr. March 30, 1981 The Los Angeles Dodgers are known for fetching the highest price ever paid for a Major League Baseball franchise, at $2 billion. After going on a front office hiring spree this fall, the Dodgers laid claim to one other record and possibly a third: The highest salary ever awarded a MLB General Manager and having the most current or former General Managers in a team’s employ. First, the Dodgers kicked their incumbent GM, Ned Colletti, to the curb, creating a new position and assigning him the title of Senior Advisor to the President, Stan Kasten. During Colletti’s nine years as GM, the Dodgers made the playoffs five times. But they never played in a World Series and in sports, the bottom line is winning. Kasten could have fired Colletti but that would have been interpreted as unsentimental and crass for a team with unlimited resources.

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Column: Adam Silver Endorses Sports GamblingNovember 16, 2014

Last Thursday in an op-ed piece in The New York Times, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came out in favor of legalizing gambling on professional sports. Talk about a bombshell. Silver’s comments were in stark contrast to the decades old position of his league, which is mirrored by other professional sports leagues in this country. In 1992 the leagues lobbied Congress to pass the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which prohibited the adoption of legalized sports betting in all but the four states - Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana - where it was legal at the time. Just last month, the NBA joined MLB, the NFL, and the NHL in a legal challenge to block the state of New Jersey from implementing sports betting at casinos and racetracks.

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Column: A-Rod Admits to Using PEDsNovember 10, 2014

“He's a walkin' contradiction, partly truth, partly fiction.” The Pilgrim, Chapter 33 by Kris Kristofferson The Miami Herald reported last week that during a hearing with DEA investigators on January 29th, Rodriguez admitted buying PEDs from Tony Bosch, operator of the now defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in South Florida. A-Rod also told investigators that he knew what he was taking – testosterone cream, gummies and hormone injections - was illegal and a violation of baseball's joint drug agreement. This is the same Alex Rodriguez who for two years had vehemently denied any involvement with Bosch or his clinic.

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Column: Cubs Hire Joe MaddonNovember 3, 2014

The second dance with Joe Maddon turned out to be the charm for Theo Epstein. When Epstein was hired as the general manager of the Red Sox in 2002, he interviewed Maddon for the team’s vacant managerial position. Maddon had been a big league coach for ten years, but his lack of managerial experience and Boston’s intense media market led Epstein to opt for Terry Francona. Tampa Bay had no such qualms when they hired Maddon as their manager in 2005. In nine seasons at the helm of the low-budget Rays, Maddon earned a reputation as one of the best managers in the game. When former Rays’ president Andrew Friedman was hired by the Dodgers two weeks ago, Maddon became a prime topic of conversation. A clause in his contract gave him the option to become a free agent if Friedman ever left the Rays. The twitter-verse was rife with questions. Would Maddon exercise his option? Would Friedman fire the manager he inherited, Don Mattingly, and be reunited with Maddon? Would another MLB team jettison their manager to accommodate Maddon? Soon enough, the questions were answered.

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Column: NCAA Says Mo'ne Davis Can Be Paid for Chevy AdOctober 27, 2014

If you’ve been watching the World Series on Fox you may have been surprised by what you saw on the screen. No, I’m not referring to the outstanding defensive plays turned in by players on both teams, or the Kansas City Royals’ shutdown bullpen in the late innings. Based on the pre-series scouting reports those are things we should have expected. What was unexpected was seeing Mo’ne Davis starring in her very own Chevy commercial. The 13-year old Davis took the nation by storm with her talent and personality during the Little League World Series which was broadcast live on ESPN in August. After leading her Philadelphia Taney Dragons team to Williamsport, Davis appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which certainly increased her exposure and no doubt spurred higher magazine sales. It comes as no surprise that Chevrolet would want to recruit the girl-wonder to help them sell automobiles, even though she’s too young to drive one.

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Column: Athlete Banned for Failing Gender TestOctober 20, 2014

Dutee Chand’s goal is to compete as a member of her country’s track and field team. However, in September the eighteen-year old Indian sprinter was banned from international competition after she failed a “gender test” under rules established by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Chand has appealed the ban through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland. She becomes the first athlete in history to challenge the IAAF’s standards which determine whether an individual can compete as a female. The IAAF adopted new guidelines, which are also followed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), after the controversy surrounding South African runner Caster Semenya in 2009. Like Chand, Semenya was suspended from international competition after her gender was called into question. She was allowed to resume her career eleven months later after a group of experts who had been convened to weigh in on the matter couldn’t agree on what the standards for gender should be.

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Column: Baseball is Far From DyingOctober 12, 2014

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Mark Twain The accuracy of the statement attributed to Samuel Clemens, a/k/a, Mark Twain, is a matter of debate. However, there should be no debate when baseball uses the same retort. Every year it seems we are inundated with reports that baseball is dying. For support, critics claim that the games are too slow and too long, the audience is too old, the season is interminable, television ratings are declining and the sport is losing the youth of this country. The naysayers are right, of course, because they believe they are. But the facts suggest otherwise. Baseball is thriving.

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Column: Tax Exempt Status of The NFLOctober 5, 2014

If you’ve ever wondered why references to “Congress” are oftentimes preceded by the words, “do-nothing,” read on. In the wake of repeated reports of domestic violence committed by NFL players, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introduced a bill designed to repeal the league’s tax-exempt status. As if that move doesn’t embarrass him enough, Booker included nine other professional sports leagues in his bill. Days later, three of Booker’s senatorial colleagues, no doubt as publicity starved as he is, introduced a second bill to scrap the NFL’s tax-exempt status because of the continued refusal of the Washington Redskins to change their name.

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Column: Qualifications of a MLB GMSeptember 29, 2014

The 2014 baseball season is over for all but the 10 clubs that made the playoffs. The remaining 20 teams and their fans can look ahead to next year. But before rosters are remade and games on the field begin, there will be a number of changes in MLB front offices. Two clubs that failed to live up to expectations have already begun the process of change. The Arizona Diamondbacks fired General Manager Kevin Towers and Frank Wren was axed by the Atlanta Braves. Both the D’backs and Braves have identified successors, Dave Stewart in Phoenix and John Hart in Atlanta. Stewart is a former standout pitcher with the Oakland A’s who went on to a successful career as an agent. Despite being a rookie GM, Stewart is unlikely to be any less successful than his predecessor, Kevin Towers, whose career in Arizona never approximated the success he enjoyed as GM of the San Diego Padres.

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Column: Barry Bonds Case Back in CourtSeptember 21, 2014

If you’re sick and tired of reading or hearing the name Barry Bonds, then this column isn’t for you. But if you’re interested in justice, and protection from an abusive government, read on. Bonds is in the news again because his 2011 conviction for obstruction is on appeal before an 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2013 a three-judge panel of the appellate court unanimously agreed with the District Court decision. But when Bonds’ attorneys appealed to the full court, a majority of the 28 judges thought a larger panel should hear the case. The saga began in 2003 when Bonds testified before a grand jury investigating the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. As a result of that testimony Bonds was indicted in 2007 on a number of criminal charges. The jury couldn’t reach a verdict on three charges of perjury but convicted Bonds of felony obstruction for giving a 234-word rambling response to a prosecutor’s question on whether his trainer, Greg Anderson, ever gave him “something to inject himself with.”

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