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Minor League Clubs file suit claiming MLB conspiracy to scrap clubs

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by tellitlikeitis, Dec 20, 2021.

  1. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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    Sorry for my naïveté, but I've always found it extremely weird that professional baseball has been allowed to operate under their own special rules without anything resembling oversight.

    Also not sure if threadworthy, but I'd rather make a thread over having it buried in the Minor League or the Offseason thread.
     
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  2. Nook

    Nook Member

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    It is thread worthy, and the claim likely has some merit.
     
  3. sealclubber1016

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    If you grease enough palms you get to live by you own rules as long as your area of effect isn't too wide ranging as to cost people votes. Disney has almost singlehandedly changed copyright laws for decades just to keep Mickey Mouse from entering public domain. There are a million other examples of law skirting in this country.

    While I agree completely with the complaint from the minor league teams, I will be shocked if anything major is actually ruled against the MLB. Best case scenario is they make enough headway to get a nice settlement.
     
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  4. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    So, if these minor league teams win, do the owners of the Skeeters (the Astros) get to sue these teams for conspiring with MLB to keep them out of affiliated ball in prior agreements?
     
  5. BlindHog

    BlindHog Member

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    Not quite sure how a business decision agreed upon by the owners of MLB teams could be equated to a conspiracy but it will certainly be interesting to see how far it gets. That this is even a question is an indicator of a troubled and degenerating society.
     
  6. Major

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    That's basically the definition of the anti-trust problem. If all the car makers in America made a joint business decision on how many cars to make or factories to run or how much to pay workers, that would also be an anti-trust issue. A lot of it may come down to what determines what's a league issue that could be managed by a commissioner vs independent business decisions by colluding MLB owners.
     
  7. BlindHog

    BlindHog Member

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    Those "colluding MLB owners" are MLB, The commissioner is hired and paid by them to represent themselves. There is no competing business for them to collude against nor can they break trust with themselves.
     
  8. Major

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    That's not how any of this works. Each MLB team is an independent business. The league is sort of a separate entity there and deals with league business. But without anti-trust protections, the MLB owners can't collude on random things. They can't even collude with each other on trying to pay players less and things like that, which is why MLBPA and agents always complain about their suspicions of collusion. I have no idea the merits of the lawsuit, but their goal seems to be to get the anti-trust exemption overturned. Their complaint from the article is this:

    The teams — former affiliates of the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers — said this was a horizontal agreement between the MLB and its 30 franchises that violates the Sherman Act.

    According to the complaint, big league baseball teams are meant to compete with one another for affiliations with the minor league outfits that feed them players. By conspiring to reduce that competition pool, the minor league teams alleged, the MLB and its teams effectively engaged in a group boycott in order to cut costs.


    Without having followed this much, again, I don't know the merits or likelihood of it succeeding. But without anti-trust exemptions, if MLB teams are supposed to independently "compete" for minor league teams, then it's conceivable that agreeing amongst themselves to downsize the minor leagues would be a form of collusion. From the article, the issue mostly seems to be about whether the courts would overturn the exemption rather than the merits of the case. It's almost treated like it's clearly illegal if the exemption were not in place.
     
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  9. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com
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    But at the end of the day, all Major Sport Leagues have a monopoly exception. It's up to congress and regulators to determine what they are allowed to do and not do. This is an interesting case for sure. Don't know how far this will go.
     
  10. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    No way MLB wants this left up to judges. They will want to settle, but they need to include the other 36 teams to prevent this suit from coming back up.
     
  11. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    I'm pretty sure it would be illegal without an antitrust exception. Though, I really don't see how the league can maintain fair play without something like that.
     
  12. Major

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    I may be wrong, but I think only MLB has the exemption. I don't think the NBA, NFL, or NHL do - or at least not in the same way as MLB does.
     
  13. Major

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    Maybe something like what the NBA does with their G-League? Not sure how that's set up or what's different about it that makes it OK.
     
  14. PhiSlammaJamma

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    The Baltimore Orioles said they will take the lead on this issue. But called it bull shiot that they are being lumped in with the minor league teams.
     
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  15. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com
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    I think the NBA actually owns most of the affiliate G-league club. Only 5 teams are not owned by their affiliate, one being the Rio Grande Vipers.
     
  16. prospecthugger

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    Do NBA teams get tax payer money to build g league stadiums? I'm pretty sure Fayetteville chipped in quite a bit for the woodpeckers that are owned by the Astros.
     
  17. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    I can’t see it going far, but I’m wrong often.
     
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  18. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com
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    MLB has one from the Supreme court. NFL has one from Congress.

    https://elibrary.law.psu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1208&context=fac_works
     
  19. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    I think the big difference is that the minor leagues have been around forever. When MLB wanted to change something, it negatively impacted some teams by shrinking the number of minor league teams and now those teams are pissed. The NBA hasn't upset anyone to my knowledge to this extent with the G League.
     
  20. Major

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    The NFL's one largely seems to be about TV contracts, so it seems more limited than whatever MLB seems to have.

    https://www.espn.com/espn/commentary/news/story?page=easterbrook/100525 (this is from 2010)

    What's up with antitrust and pro sports? Major League Baseball has a broad antitrust exemption via an act of Congress. The NFL has some limited antitrust protection -- congressional decisions in 1961 and 1966 allowing the league to bargain with television networks collectively, and allowing the old NFL and American Football League to merge. The NFL had hoped this Supreme Court case would broaden its antitrust exemptions to resemble the one enjoyed by baseball; the NBA hoped the same, joining the NFL in asking the Supremes to step in. But Congress has on several occasions specifically rejected granting football, basketball and ice hockey the special deal enjoyed by baseball. (Whether baseball should have a special deal is a subject for another day.) The language of the Supreme Court's decision on Monday shows it has no interest in granting football a sweetheart deal that Congress would not grant.

    edit: it does seem really weird to me that the leagues aren't on equal footing. It seems either all or none of them should have their exemptions. I'm not sure what the logical justification would be to treat baseball differently.
     

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