Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 06, 2021

legal juice
One of the odder tangents to emerge from the Mitchell Report: An ex-minor league pitcher is mulling a class-action lawsuit against Major League Baseball on behalf of all the farmhands who didn’t get a shot at the big show thanks to juiced-up work culture:

“If everybody was playing on the same level playing field, Rich would say, ‘OK, you beat me,’” says Hartmann’s attorney Michael Salomon. “But this is not right.”

Hartmann says several former teammates have agreed to join the lawsuit if it is filed, and Salomon says he is exploring legal theories that would serve as the basis of a lawsuit. But mostly, Hartmann says, he’s looking for a platform to point out that the biggest losers of baseball’s steroid era weren’t the fans, they were minor leaguers who were cheated of their dreams because a rival for a major-league job got a boost from steroids.

Hartmann never made it higher than the Class A Florida State League — in other words, the bottom rung of MLB’s developmental system. With a fastball clocking in at sub-90MPH, it’s a stretch to think he would ever have gotten within sniffing distance of a major-league roster, even accounting for the expansion and pitching dearth of the 1990s.

But even moving beyond Hartmann personally and considering the body of minor-leaguers who theoretically were competing against players with an unfair advantage, it’s still a tough sell. Career advancement in pro athletics comes down to meritocracy and timing: Not only do you have to perform at a top level, but you have to count on whoever’s above you to falter so you can take over his slot. A lawsuit here has to prove that performance enhancement drugs would have either opened up that slot (by MLB vigorously enforcing a ban) or given a minor-leaguer a better shot at moving up (by forcing the prospect to risk his health). Too many variables to conclusively prove that either scenario would have shaken up major league rosters.

That’s not to say that there’s no merit in a suit. A strategy of depicting a “steroid ceiling” that kept “honest” players like Hartmann from at least a fair shot at advancement would deserve a long legal look, as would the idea of Major League Baseball fostering a dangerous work environment that rewarded taking steroid-related health risks.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/06/2021 07:31:39 PM
Category: Baseball, True Crime
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When ProTrade launched its fantasy-sports stock exchange game more than two years ago, I figured it would ramp up in popularity fast enough so that it would eventually include gameplay for all four major team sports.

So I was surprised to learn that it has yet to add National Hockey League players.

From what I can tell, ProTrade hasn’t added hockey because the guys running it can’t dope out the statistical measures for on-ice performance. Without looking too deeply at the particulars, I’d think that, if fantasy sports can handle hockey — basically by providing a mix of scoring, plus-minus, penalty minutes and other indicators — I can’t see why ProTrade should consider this such a challenge. Stats are stats — those who indulge will know that to look for, just like any other fantasy league.

I do think the NHL itself should be more proactive with ProTrade. Fantasy sports are one more avenue for selling hockey to more general sports fans, as fantasy fanatics often are in search of ever more varieties of distraction. If the league doesn’t see the value, maybe the Players Association should pursue it, since it’s really the player metrics that matter here. There’s precedence for either approach, as Major League Baseball and the NFL Players Association have bother established affiliations with ProTrade.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/06/2021 06:13:32 PM
Category: Business, Hockey, Tech
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Late one night, recently:

She: So tell me, what’s your net worth?
Me: Are you serious?
She: It’s no big deal.
Me: Are you talking financially? Or spiritually, morally…?
She: What?
Me: Karmic-ly…?
She: Just take a guess.
Me: Well, if we average all that out, I’d say I’m net worthless.
She: Oh.
Me: All right, then.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/06/2021 01:21:13 PM
Category: Comedy, New Yorkin'
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