For those of you who are curious, it looks like -- finally -- the Orioles and Sidney Ponson will have their hearing about the team voiding the portly hurler's contract nearly 4 years ago...
More than three years after the Orioles released and terminated the contract of Sidney Ponson after his third arrest in a nine-month span, a grievance arbitrator will finally decide how much money - if any - the organization owes the pitcher.
Orioles general counsel Russell Smouse confirmed yesterday that the grievance would start being heard Dec. 17 in Baltimore by arbitrator Shyam Das. The hearing could take several days, and there is no definitive timetable for Das to render a decision. The Orioles released Ponson in September 2005 and refused to pay him the remaining $11.2 million on his three-year, $22.5 million deal. The Major League Baseball Players Association immediately filed a grievance against the club, trying to recoup the rest of the money on his guaranteed contract.
"We look forward to a positive outcome in Sidney's grievance," said Barry Praver, Ponson's agent.
The hearing had been scheduled several times before but continually postponed as other cases took precedence. Another reason for the hold-up was that the Orioles had not received specific discovery documents they had requested from the union,
In my knowledge of the law, the case should come down to what the specific language in the contract states about behavior and what happened during his tenure with the organization.
Sidney may have been ornery as well as a lush, immature and utterly stupid -- however, it will be up to a third party to determine if his behavior warranted him having a contract voided.
My personal opinion: I see nothing at the moment that makes me think he wants to come to Baltimore for the sake of it being "home".
If that was the case, he (um, Boras - I should say and who seems to be clearly in the driver's seat) would have started some dialogue with the team as soon as they could. I think Mark going to the highest bidder and a place where he thinks he could win.
I also do think he is taking his time and exploring his options. Maybe Baltimore might be a place he'd come to -- albeit, assuming that the organization upgrades at a few positions -- or he chooses the lure and exposure that New York, Southern California, or Boston may offer him.
The Orioles *may* get him, but based on what I have read around the web and forums, a lot of people may be in for a rude awakening if he decides to go somewhere else.
Then again, right now, Baltimore has a good chance in getting Teixeira as anyone.
Roch Kubatko ponders about the Cubs and Roberts; meanwhile, the Sun's Dan Connolly debates whether former Oriole Mike Mussina goes in as a member of the black and the orange, or part of the Evil Empire (eh, I think he goes in as a Yankee) & Glenn Clark of WNST, Oriole Central, Camden Chat, The Washington Post, PressBox Online as well as Jay Trucker of the Examiner also join the fray.
The Orioles announced their 2009 Spring Training Schedule, and yes, they are going to play in Fort Lauderdale; The great Roar from 34 gives us news and bits from Oriole-land, including the struggles of the Sports Legends Museum -- which comes as no surprise to me at all -- considering how much the team has struggled.
Like I have said in the past, the struggles of the Orioles and the falling attendance for the past several years have had a dire impact on businesses near the ballpark, and it's no surprise to hear the bad news.
The profitability of the vendors around the ballpark, restaurants, bars and hotels are invariably tied into the success of the baseball team. If no one shows up to the games -- no one buys anything from the businesses around the ballpark; thus, it is little wonder why businesses in Baltimore welcome Yankee and Red Sox fans with open arms?
And finally, the Wayward Oriole takes issue with the Baltimore Sun...