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Major League Baseball has a domestic violence policy, and, on paper, it can be pretty effective. There are internal investigations and suspensions can occur without charges being filed or there being an arrest: that’s a positive workaround for the world we live in, where domestic abusers rarely face punishment or even public scrutiny.
When we see how the policy and punishments are used in practice, though, we get the uncomfortable reminder that, too often, MLB’s view of domestic abuse is mostly one where they’re hoping to minimize the public relations hit. Giants’ CEO Larry Baer was suspended for just half of the 2019 season, despite being caught on video attacking his wife in public in order to wrest a cell phone from her hands. The Yankees traded for then-suspended closer Aroldis Chapman, because his domestic abuse suspension lowered his value, and allowed New York to acquire him for less than he’d usually cost… and then they flipped him to the Cubs that summer, at a premium, because the suspension was over and so to was any stigma attached to his person. The Astros traded for Roberto Osuna last summer to improve their bullpen for similar reasons: this version of Moneyball is an uncomfortable one to witness play out.