"When the Cardinals traded Curt Flood to the Phillies in 1969, the talented outfielder balked, arguing he should have some control over his destiny after 13 seasons as St. Louis property. He sued, claiming baseball's reserve clause permitted teams to hold or sell him like "a slave 100 years ago."
Flood's case gave great impetus to the Players Association, which was formed in 1966 and fought for the rights of players to determine where they wanted to play and on what terms. Even though Flood ultimately lost his case in the US Supreme Court, an arbitrator struck down the reserve clause in 1975 and created a new era of worker rights in the national pastime.
Nearly 29 years later, the game potentially faces another legal challenge, this one involving the Red Sox and Alex Rodriguez, baseball's highest-paid player. Another arbitrator soon may be asked to rule on how much power a player such as Rodriguez has to restructure his contract in order to play for a team that wants him -- and that he wants to play for -- after his own team, the Texas Rangers, has given him permission to leave.
"The perverse irony" of the looming showdown is that the Players Association would oppose Rodriguez, according to Paul Finkelman, the Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law at University of Tulsa College of Law.
Excuse me for a moment while I swear incoherently, and with helpless rage and frustration.
God shit fuck dammit son of a fuckin fuckity fuck bastard DAMMIT.
Hold on, not done.
Holy mother of flying Circus Freak on a Cracker Christ, what the flippity fucking flying flogging hoo hah is this fuckin suckin rat-bastard shit?
OK, one more and then it should be out of my system.
You fuckin motherfuckers.
Okay. I think I'm able to string a sentence together now. At least without so many fuckin expletives.
So. You all know that I arrived late to the brouhaha involving seemingly every well-moneyed man on Earth but Bill Gates and--though it remains unclear--the Saudi royal family. You know, the great flubbub surrounding the Greatest Player in Baseball and his star-crossed betrothal to the Greatest Baseball City, which is being seriously fucked with right now by the leader of the so-called union, who is suspected to be a Yankees fan, just to add another layer of intrigue to a situation that so obviously needs just a teensy bit more of it. I dove in to this flummox of the White Hot Stove League somewhat belatedly because, unlike many of my fellow citizens of Red Sox Nation, I wanted to take a step back, look, listen, read, reflect, learn and think before I brought my #5 GARCIAPARRA t-shirt down the Salvation Army and put on a RODRIGUEZ one instead (and you know someone, somewhere, is already printing them up).
After several weeks of observing the collective obsession around me, I realized two things: one, that our mass hysteria about the Sox was following, with eerie predictability, the classic Stages of Grief: this is called "Bargaining." One wonders if winter trade talk was put in place with just such a purpose in mind. The second thing I realized, after deep soul-searching (and the self-inflicted trauma of listening to Dale and Numie argue about it incessantly on the radio for a solid week and a half) was that much as I love Nomar, I would let him go for a chance to win the Series, which, I had become suitably convinced, is what A-Rod's acquisition would mean. And you know what? Kevin Millar said the same thing, out loud, on the radio.
Yeah, and then, of course, once everyone had flapped their gums good and proper, because this is the Red Sox we're talking about, here--and because "perverse irony" is what we're all about--the worst possible thing had to come, literally, out of left fucking field and broadside everyone at the worst possible time. A landmark trade, the biggest and most complex system of personnel-swapping ever in the history of America's Pastime, which could put the Sox in real contention for their first world title in 100 years, and then some fucking random sub-clause of the friggin collective bargaining agreement, despite the fact that everyone on both sides of the contract wants the same thing, for perhaps the first time in the history of modern baseball, and the whole thing is probably shot to hell.
Now everyone's got issues. Alex Rodriguez might have to rot away in Houston for the rest of his life instead of being put to good use in a town where baseball actually means something. Nomar might have to come back and face the guys ready to throw him under the bus just a week ago--and work with them. Boston fans will probably have to watch another losing season (actually, this is a probability no matter what happens, because as I said, this is the Red Sox we're talking about). Ordonez, the left fielder from Chicago we would have gotten for Nomar to fill Manny's spot, is probably still going to be working out on scrap paper what the hell actually just happened when Spring Training begins. And don't leave me out of this equation. I have issues, too. Boy, do I ever.
Why can't I just learn to drop this whole Red Sox fixation? Why do I keep coming back? What is it about 1986, 1999, and now, 2003, that makes me think for even a moment of my wildest dreams that the Sox are ever, ever going to win this thing? Why do I not show the most basic human survival skills, which is to learn from past mistakes? Why do I let myself get sucked in, over and over, and over and over, even when there isn't actually baseball being played?
Why, indeed. So that's it. I'm putting everyone on notice. I'm off the Red Sox bandwagon. From now on, I am no longer a Red Sox fan. Forget it. It's too much work. It's too much disappointment. From now on, I'm going to live a stress-free life that does NOT involve pinstriped jerseys or freak home runs or goats or curses or trade talk or agonizing about overpaid little boys playing a game, for Chrissakes.
Okay, no, I'm not.