Bud Selig has some absolutely gigantic balls. He must have, anyway, to think that he was going to get away with this.
Selig has been arguing in court that Major League Baseball has the exclusive rights to statistics generated by its players. Selig wants to force fantasy leagues operators to pay for the right to use the statistics.
But a federal judge on Tuesday told Selig to go to hell and ruled that Major League Baseball and its players’ union can’t force the operator of a St. Louis-based fantasy sports league to pay licensing fees for baseball statistics used in its business. From the L.A. Times:
U.S. Magistrate Mary Ann L. Medler, in a 49-page decision, said that C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing Inc. didn’t need a license to operate its fantasy baseball business because MLB players are public figures and statistics from big-league games are in the public domain. Medler’s blunt opinion, which sided almost exclusively with the fantasy game operator, “pretty much nailed it on every substantive issue,” said Jack Williams, a Georgia State University law professor who has written law review articles about the debate over “who owns the back of a baseball card.”
Bud Selig. Bud. Selig. Wow. Where does he get the nerve? This is the same Selig who runs the league that opperates in blatant violation of U.S. anti-trust laws, a priviledge Major League Baseball did little to earn and has done nothing to keep.
This is the same Selig who steared the league into a lockout that chased away a large chunk of the sport’s fanbase. The same Selig who ignored blatant steroid use for years, a cover-up that has now stripped away much of the game’s credibility.
Now he wants to stick it to fantasy leagues, which have in large part revived interest in what looked a decade ago like a dying sport?
Let me get this straight, Bud. You own the numbers? If I’m a reporter and I go to a game, can I write that Julio Lugo went 3 for 4 last night? Or can I just say that he had a good game and had “several” hits?
Dan Okrent, a co-founder of a rotisserie baseball league that helped to broaden the appeal of such leagues, sent an email to the L.A. Times giving his take on the ruling, which he described as “wonderful…. The only thing that saddens me about it is that there won’t be a public trial, during which MLB’s incredible greed would have been on public display.”
Amen, Dan. Let’s put Selig’s head on a stake. Seriously, where does he get the nerve?