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Fixing a Whole, III
2002-11-27 13:03
by Mike Carminati

Fixing a Whole, III

For a quick list I introduced as "Just for fun", my 25 baseball boo-boos are generating a bit of email. A number of people are questioning my statement that Francisco Rodriguez's inclusion on the Angels' playoff roster was legal. Here's my response:

Actually, the rule reads as follows (from Baseball Roster Central):
Playoff Rosters: Playoff rosters must be set at 25, not including disabled players, on August 31. For each player on the 60-day DL, teams may add players to the eligible list during the playoffs at the same position, provided that they were in the orginization on August 31... Teams must choose 25 players from their playoff eligible list before each round of the playoffs.

Steve Green had been on the 60-day DL since March 11. His "spot" was taken by Rodriguez, who became eligible since he was in the organization on Aug 31, though not on the major-league team.

I suppose the rule was set up to ensure that teams had a viable starter for every position in case of injury. (By the way, I couldn't find it in "The Rules and Lore of Baseball" because it's not a game rule per se. It's an arcane procedural rule that is for some reason isn't made very public.) For instance, say both your catchers are injured in September and you did not have any other catchers on the major-league roster as of Aug 31. It would be an embarrassment to have a team start a utility infielder as their catcher. So they let you bring up your Triple-A catcher. That's fine. They at least require you to replace a player with someone at the same position (though I think they are grouped as catchers, infielders, outfielders, and pitchers, not say right fielder, shortstop, etc., which is fair: if you would prefer to replace your injured right fielder with your Triple-A center fielder, e.g.).

My problem is when a guy is injured in Spring training, has off-season surgery, or is called up from the minors to go directly on the 60-day DL, just so that an extra spot is potentially opened up for a hot September call-up. It doesn't represent the make-up of the team during the playoff hunt. I would prefer that the rule be limited to players injured after the All-Star game (e.g., Luis Gonzalez this past year).

Unfortunately, the rule is so screwed up that adding Francisco Rodriguez, even though his first major-league game was not until Sept. 18, was legal. They have to get rid of that loophole.

Secondly, my first two items (Bud Selig and the media) have been at issue with some people. Here's a clarification:

First, the second point has nothing to do with point 1. Rather it deals with major-league clubs being owned by corporations that also own large players in the media markets. Refer to this post if you are interested.

Suffice it to say that the owners control ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CNN and its subsidiaries, ABC and its subsidiaries, AOL/Time Warner, Fox and its subsidiaries, the USA Today, Baseball/Sports Weekly, Disney, and two of the three largest newspaper chains in the country (and have substantial financial dealings with the parent company of the third). The owners get to set the agenda because they have the organization in place to do so. That's what happened in the last CBA. That's why the owners won for the first time. It's bad for the sport if the owners have the power to set the agenda and control the media.

Second, on a personal level, I don't like Bud Selig, but that's not why I listed him as the number one problem. He is the face that baseball presents to the world and he is associated with the '94 strike, contraction, financial losses, lawsuits, questionable business practices, a fiasco at the All-Star, the labor strife this year, and a myriad of problems that baseball has encountered in the last 10 years. Some are deserved and some are not. Who cares?

It's a perception problem. The fans hate him, boo him mercilessly, and will never regard him as another Giamatti. The owners love him because he defeated the players for the first time in the CBA. However, baseball wants to put the acrimony behind, so give him a gold watch, sing his praises, and say bye-bye.

I hope that clears things up a bit. By the way, no one has brought up the alleged dire financial state of all but-what was it?-three teams, which was such a looming problem just a few months ago during the labor negotiations. Are we that jaded as a society that we have already acknowlegded and accepted that this was just a bargaining tactic? I thought it was just me.

Also, no one has had a problem with issue number 15 (I feel like John McLaughlin), Thom Brenniman and Steve Lyons: never again.

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