Notes: Trevor May’s retirement speech, MLBPA and the antitrust exemption

Trevor May has parting words for his old boss, and the MLBPA formally supports a lawsuit challenging MLB’s antitrust exemption

This article is free for anyone to read, but please consider becoming a Patreon subscriber to allow me to keep writing posts like this one. Sign up to receive articles like this one in your inbox here.

MLB relief pitcher Trevor May retired earlier this week, and he did not go out quietly. The A’s pitcher took to Twitch to deliver his retirement speech, and it was a pointed one. Something tells me this guy doesn’t like A’s owner John Fisher very much (transcription courtesy Neil deMause at Field of Schemes):

To the A’s organization and every single person part of it, I love all of you. Every single one of you except for one guy. And we all know who that guy is.

Sell the team, dude. I tried to get a “SELL” shirt, it didn’t get here fast enough. Sell it, man. Let someone who actually, like, takes pride in the things they own own something. There’s actually people who give a shit about the game. Let them do it. Take mommy and daddy’s money somewhere else, dork.

And also if you’re gonna just be a greedy fuck, own it. There’s nothing weaker than being afraid of cameras. So that’s one thing I really struggled with this year was not just eviscerating that guy.

Do what you’re gonna do, bro. You’re a billionaire, they exist. You guys have all this power. You shouldn’t have any, because you haven’t earned any of it. But anyway, whatever. It is what it is. The reality is you got handed everything you have. And now you’re too soft to take any responsibility for anything you’re doing.

Huh, it turns out that I love Trevor May. Seriously, though, point to where he’s wrong. You cannot, because he is not. John Fisher is a caricature of the children of the wealthy. The A’s have never found true, sustained success under him, and if anything, they’ve gotten worse than when they had a brief moment in the spotlight succeeding against the odds (odds imposed on them by the previous owner, yes, but odds all the same). His money comes from a business, The Gap, that his parents founded. He’s moving the team to Las Vegas in no small part because he will get to feel like a special boy for bringing an MLB club to a city without one in a state whose largest paper specializes in telling awful wealthy people that they’re good and correct and also handsome. The other part? So he can keep on collecting revenue-sharing checks he doesn’t actually need, which is so aggravating in its nakedness that even MLB’s other greedy owners have found it necessary to go “hey, aren’t you taking things a little too far?” Do you know how miserable to be around you have to be for other MLB owners to think you’re a problem?

Having a player call him out with their final official act in MLB, to let John Fisher know that it’s clear he doesn’t give a single shit about the sport and only cares about being able to pocket even more money he didn’t earn while blaming others for anything that’s gone wrong? God, it’s just… it’s beautiful. More former A’s should retire on Twitch all the time.


Per Evan Drellich, MLB “filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting the overturn of MLB’s antitrust exemption.” You can read the full brief here, but the primary takeaway, as Drellich also pointed out, is that the Players Association believes MLB will disaffiliate even more minor-league clubs if they aren’t legally prohibited from doing so. And since the antitrust exemption is the reason they were able to get away with disaffiliating dozens of clubs in time for the 2021 season, well, you can do the math there.

Now, I’ve said on many occasions that the chances of the Supreme Court overturning the exemption are almost nonexistent, as retroactive liability is in play whenever SCOTUS makes a change like this, which means MLB would be opened up to countless lawsuits for all their past, previously allowed, antitrust behavior. Of which, to save time and space, you can be sure there is a lot of. MLB’s exemption is over a century old at this point, so, those kind of things rack up over time.

However! The more the obviousness of these exemption abuses are in the news and in the courts, the greater the chances that Congress, which is not held back by retroactive liability in its decision making, will step in to do something. Now, “the greater the chances” doesn’t mean “definitely will,” but without any noise being made, well, Congress isn’t going to do a thing to get rid of the antitrust exemption. And since minor-league players are now unionized under the greatest MLBPA umbrella, the issue of unionization and recognition and the treatment of those players in the minors can’t be the issue that gets Congress’ attention any longer. Which means this disaffiliation scheme — and you can be sure the PA isn’t off-base in thinking that MLB will go for it again, considering MLB has already tried bargaining their way into permission to do it again — is the proper route to take to attack the exemption and force Congress to do something about it, if anything can force them to do so.

Will it work? That’s unclear, but again, the chances of it working are better than sitting and waiting around for Congress to come to the realization on their own.

Visit my Patreon to become a supporter and help me continue to write articles like this one.