...the Orioles have released Sydney Ponson, not just getting rid of him, but also contesting that his behavior gives them grounds to terminate his contract.
The Players Association will fight it, of course -- and the "of course" part bothers me.
The MLBPA is a problem -- nay, rather, say it is a festering wound. It sides with it's players come rain, sleet, or snow...or steroids, or idioticy.
Staying true to its players is one thing, blind faith is another...but the MLBPA isn't doing either of those things. It sides with the players because that's what they're supposed to do, regardless of the situation. Anytime anything is done to a player (fine, suspension, etc.), the entity is ready to fight -- even when the player is clearly guilty of an offense, and the fine/suspension is just.
They're like a big group of defense attorneys.
I'm sorry, I don't care what kind of role the MLBPA is supposed to fill, but when they defend players like Kenny Rodgers and Sydney Ponson, I can't find myself sympathizing with them on anything. The owners are, for the most part, a greedy lot, and aren't needing any extra support from me -- I'm sure, for many of us, the knee-jerk reaction to some kind of owners/players' association issue is usually to side with the players -- but I can't get behind the players with the MLBPA behind them. Bud Selig, I think, has done a poor job on many different things concerning Major League Baseball during his tenure, but for whatever reason, I never get truly angry with Bud -- it's more like disappointment -- but Donald Fehr?
I despise the man.
Fehr reminds me of a sports agent. Think of Fehr, for me, as a sort of amalgamation of Scott Boras, Drew Rosenhaus, with a dash of Don King, wrapped up in the body of a defense lawyer who will defend his client even when he knows he's guilty.
Now, it's not Fehr's job to be liked, per se. Regardless of who was there, it's a job that wouldn't win anyone any popularity contests. He is a tough customer, stubborn and ready to fight to the bitter end for whatever he's behind -- all admirable qualities, to be sure. But to be so willing to be tough, stubborn and ready to fight to the bitter end over a bully that doesn't feel like being filmed on a particular day, and a drunk punk that's always in trouble...
...well, let's say that takes away any of that admiration that I might have for the man, or the association he works for.
The Orioles, I'm assuming, are probably in the wrong, and don't have enough grounds to really terminate Ponson's contract. But I admire their guts in trying, because I'd do the same thing in their position. It's one thing to not have the guy produce to the level of his contract -- hey, that happens all the time -- but it's another to have him perform that poorly and make an asshole of himself and idiots of the organization that signed him.
I think the Orioles will lose here, but I'm hoping this will lead to character-driven clauses in these contracts. Make a point system, something that will punish a player financially if he steps over certain moral and/or character lines. It would make a lot of sense for the owners, but I'm sure Donald Fehr, the players association, and the sports agents would fight any wholesale changes on this level...
...which would be typical. They'd rather not hold their players accountable for anything, because that'd be too much like the real world.
Note: I've put up links on the sidebar for donations through Paypal or through the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief. These, I imagine, are going to be up for a while. It doesn't look like the situation down there is going to be fixed for several months.
Another note: Deion Sanders has put out a challenge to all professional atheletes to donate $1,000 to relief for Katrina. Sanders is arrogant, boisterous, self-serving, and a few other things that I don't really admire in people -- but this was well done. Good job, Deion.