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Sports Medley: 25 April 2016

by Tony Medley

Judicial Tyranny: Tom Brady’s suspension, overturned last September by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman in a ruling directly contrary to the law, was upheld Monday by a Federal Appeals court, which stated, in part, “We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness,” adding, “the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, has especially broad powers to discipline improper conduct.” It went on to say, “It is not (the court’s) job to second-guess Goodell’s procedural rulings or if Brady schemed to deflate footballs.”

In my column on August 12, 2015, I wrote, “(T)his is an arbitration. Courts are historically reluctant to overturn arbitration decisions based on mistakes of either fact or law. Arbitration awards are almost always inviolable unless someone can prove fraud, which is why nobody in their right mind should ever agree to binding arbitration.”

Our system of justice sets the stage for individual judges who so choose to be petty tyrants (especially federal judges who have lifetime appointments), ignoring the law at will to reach a conclusion they want. It appears that that’s what happened in Brady’s case when Judge Berman overturned the NFL’s arbitration decision. Brady should have served his suspension and, if he had, the 2015 NFL season would undoubtedly have had a completely different ending, all because of one tyrannical judge who ignored the law for his own personal reasons.

The more things change, the more they stay the same: The season was only two days old before it was clear that the Dodgers are up to their old bad habits. Two years ago I railed all season long that Justin Turner was their best hitter and should be the first name penciled into the lineup.

It wasn’t until midseason last year, though, 12 months too late, that tired old Donnie Baseball relented and made him a starter, and now Turner is batting third or fourth, the spots of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the batting order.

Last year it was clear that Kiké Hernandez was one of the most talented players on the team, a guy who could hit for average, run, and defend, and always gave 100%, ŕ la Eddie Stanky and Pete Rose. Yet Kiké couldn’t break into Donnie’s starting lineup.

Now we’ve got this new manager, Dave Roberts, who is keeping Kiké as a utility player. Sunday, for example, Kiké, batting a robust .325 despite having to come off the bench much of the time to pinch hit (and who hit two home runs off of the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, one of the best pitchers in the game and who had made a spectacular catch in left field the preceding day to preserve a no-hitter by Kenta Maeda), found himself on the bench with Trayce Thompson (.243) playing left field and Howie Kendrick (.175) playing third base, both positions Kiké plays well.

In the 4th inning on consecutive plays, Thompson misjudged a fly ball, running backwards when it fell in front of him, and Kendrick misplayed a ground ball, both resulting in runs as Colorado cut the lead to 7-4.

Where do the Dodgers get these people like Mattingly and Roberts who couldn’t recognize talent in newer players even if they were looking at a young Babe Ruth? Kiké Hernandez should play every day, period.

As a postscript, one would think that Dodgers major domo, Andrew Friedman, would want Kiké in the lineup to assuage fans still incensed at the trade of Dee Gordon, last year’s NL batting champion, stolen base king and leader in hits. The Dodgers received Hernandez for Gordon. If Kiké plays regularly and is, indeed, a .300 hitter, as is possible, the trade could turn out better for the Dodgers than it looks (although they also received reliever Chris Hatcher, who has been a boon for opposing batters allowing almost one run per inning this year, in the same trade). But that can’t happen if Hernandez isn’t a starter.

Grammar Police: “…This call should of went that way; this call should of went this way…,” Chris Broussard ESPN analyst, on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” speaking of criticisms of NBA referees. Broussard graduated from Oberlin College in 1990 with a degree in English (yes, you read that right!).