This weekend was perhaps the most eventful in baseball since the turn of the century.
Negotiations between the Major League Baseball Players Association and the league are nearing the end. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, there will be an owners call later today and the likely course of action is that they will all agree that negotiations are officially over. It’ll be up to Commissioner Rob Manfred to decide the length of the season, which according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, should be at least 50 games.
Baseball will be played in 2020.
Meanwhile, there is still some sign-stealing news to discuss.
According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, New York Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that a confidential letter sent from Manfred to the New York Yankees from 2017 be unsealed. The letter contains details on the finding on the league’s 2017 investigation of misconduct that led to discipline.
In January 2018, SNY reported that the Yankees were disciplined at the end of the 2017 season for illegal use of the dugout phone. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild called the replay room in either 2015 or 2016 to ask if a pitch was a ball or strike.
The letter was apart of a lawsuit brought up by DraftKings players against MLB, the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox. The plaintiffs claimed the sign-stealing debacle defrauded them. They also alleged in the case that the Yankees committed more serious violations than what they were originally disciplined for. The suit was dismissed in April.
Judge Rakoff wrote that the Yankees argue that the public disclosure of the letter would cause them “significant reputational injury.”
However, Andy Martino of SNY reported that the unsealed letter does not say the Yankees stole signs electronically. What could the Yankees possibly be hiding?
An attorney for the Yankees said in the statement to The Athletic,” There is no justification for public disclosure of the letter. The plaintiff has no case anymore, and the court held that what MLB wrote in confidence was irrelevant to the court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s case. Under established law, this supports the Yankees’ right to confidentiality required by the Commissioner of Baseball.”
Update 12:22 pm: The Yankees and MLB have appealed Judge Rakoff’s decision to unseal the letter, per Drellich.
MLB agrees to billion-dollar TV deal with Turner Sports
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported Saturday that MLB and Turner Sports have agreed to a new television rights contract.
Some of the specifics of the deal, which has not been finalized, were reported by John Ourand and Eric Prisbell of Sports Business Daily. Turner Sports will pay the league an average of $470 million per year from 2022 to 2028. The latest deal between the two sides expires at the end of 2021. Turner Sports currently pays the league $325 million a year for its broadcasting rights.
TBS will retain rights to one wild-card, two Division series games and one League Championship series. The network will also move its weekly Sunday afternoon game during the regular season to a weeknight, with the most likely option being Tuesday, according to Ourand and Prisbell.
In November 2019, MLB and Fox Sports signed a seven-year extension through 2028 that’s worth over $5 billion. MLB is also engaging with preliminary talks with ESPN on renewing their television deals The two sides are still in an eight-year, $5.6 billion dollar deal.
In other news, St. Louis Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. went on the record last week to say “The industry isn’t very profitable, to be honest.”
Extras: Jimmy Rollins’ Twitter comment on a Jimmy Rollins statue, Lane Johnson calls out Bryce Harper for being a Cowboys fan
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