Alex Rodriguez is not a popular guy

So, we all know Alex Rodriguez isn’t very popular in the MLB office, but how unpopular he was amongst his fellow players hasn’t been very clear until now. Oh, there had been “sources” about how disgusted they were, and some players have outright talked about their feelings on A-Rod. But now, Jeff Passan and Tim Brown have written an article over at YAHOO! in which they reveal that other players are so sick of Rodriguez that they would have him kicked out of the union completely.

This is unprecedented. While he can’t be kicked out of the union due to legal matters, this is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time something like this has actually been bandied about at all. Even the replacement players like Kevin Millar, Shane Spencer and Brendan Donnelly were merely cut out from the MLBPA’s marketing deals (making them, for example, not available in video games), not kicked out of the union.

Of course, this won’t end with Rodriguez getting kicked out of the union, and he’s not being cut from any marketing deals either, but it does show something: while the union itself may have said it wasn’t happy with suspension of Rodriguez, the union members seem to wish the union could just leave him out to dry.

(Humor) Things Cubs players would still be able to do

Jeff Passan has an article on how the Union is worried that the contracts being offered by teams like the Cubs could be a slow march to non-guaranteed contracts on par with the NFL. You can read the article for the full details, but in essence, they are worried that the expansion of the “conversion clause” that allows a team to turn it into a non-guaranteed contract if a player does something. It’s a call-back to the eighties, when everybody was worried about all the cocaine going around, but now-a-days the MLBPA is worried about the implications that teams could not only use the clause to extend it to PEDs, but to, well, anything.

Like, take this snippet apparently from a Cubs contract, meant to list out restricted activities that could allow the Cubs to turn the contact into non-guaranteed if there was an injury. Passan notes that due to the way some parts of the contract were originally written, they could have in theory been able to convert the contract for even the most mild of injuries doing these activities:

“(A)uto racing, motorcycling, piloting, co-piloting, learning to operate, or serving as a crew member of, an aircraft, being a passenger in a single engine airplane or private plane, hot air ballooning, parachuting, skydiving, hang gliding, bungee jumping, horseback riding, horse racing, harness racing, fencing, boxing, wrestling, karate, judo, jujitsu, any other form of martial arts activity, use of an All Terrain Vehicle (‘ATV’), skiing (water or snow), snowmobiling, bobsledding, luging, ice hockey, ice boating, field hockey, squash, spelunking, basketball, football, softball, white water canoeing or rafting, kayaking, jai-alai, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, rodeo, bicycle racing, motor boat racing, polo, rugby, rodeo, handball, volleyball, in-line or other roller skating, surfing, hunting, paddleball, racquetball, archery, wood chopping, mountain climbing, boating, any weightlifting not prescribed by or approved in advance by Club (said approval not to be unreasonably withheld), participation in the ‘Superteams’ or ‘Superstars’ activities (or any like activity) or other made-for-television or made-for-motion picture athletic competitions…”

That’s a big list, and the union was- if I’m reading this right- worried that such a big list and the vague writing of the contract could have allowed the Cubs to NFL-ize the contracts of anybody who, say, had a slight sprain during a pick-up basketball game or had a soccer ball hit them in the nuts. Thankfully, that vague language has been changed, so now the they probably have to actually get shot by a bow-and-arrow or falling down a cliff while mountain climbing for their deal to become non-guaranteed.

Still, even if they WERE in danger of seeing their guaranteed contracts going poof if they got hurt doing those above activities, they still have many activities they still could have done:

  • Golf
  • Bowling
  • Bocce
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Water Polo (regular polo is prohibited, however)
  • Paragliding (hang-gliding is prohibited, however)
  • Badminton
  • Australian-Rules Football
  • Sepaw Takraw (AKA Malaysian Foot-Volleyball)
  • Korfball (AKA Dutch Basketball)
  • Kickball
  • Pesapallo (AKA Finnish Baseball)
  • Snowboarding (Surfing, Skating and Skiing are prohibited, however)
  • Shuffleboard
  • Dodgeball
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Unicycling (bicycling and motorcycling are prohibited)
  • Tug of War
  • Trading Card Games
  • Paintball
  • Laser Tag
  • Billiards
  • Fishing
  • Playing “Go Fish”
  • Darts
  • Gymnastics
  • Flying a kite
  • Table Tennis
  • Most Track and Field events
  • Hurling (AKA Irish Field Hockey, sort of)
  • Bandy (Russian Ice Hockey but with a ball instead of a puck)
  • Hide and Seek
  • Tag
  • Team Handball (regular Handball is prohibited)
  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Battle of the Nations
  • Connect Four
  • Quidditch
  • Thumb-War
  • Horseshoes
  • Blernsball
  • Rollerball
  • Calvinball
  • Podracing
  • Video Games
  • Jeopardy!
  • Staring Contests
  • Scootering
  • Segway Racing
  • Uno
  • Monopoly
  • Baseball itself!

…Oh, wait, there is this at the very end:

“…or any other sport, activity, or negligent act involving a reasonably foreseeable substantial risk of personal injury or death.”

Well, there goes those. Good thing the Union was able to get a change in the language of the Cubs contracts, otherwise, they could have ended up with people getting their contracts non-guaranteed after paper-cuts while playing Uno.