Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Putting the Squeeze on Tejada?

ESPN continues to flood the zone on Miguel Tejada, now with added legal flavor from its legal eagle, Lester Munson:

Tejada's age, what he said when he signed his first baseball contract and what he has told Major League Baseball ever since raise legal questions about his immigration status in the U.S. They also raise the possibility that any deceit might be added to a perjury investigation of Tejada -- an investigation requested by a congressional committee looking into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
Munson then runs a Q&A, the first two Q's of which are A'd this way:

(1) while "it is technically a crime to lie to immigration authorities . . . [i]n most cases, a false birth date or a one-letter change in the spelling of a name is not enough to file charges"; and

(2) As a result of Tejada's lies about his birth date and the spelling of his name "investigators have additional leverage over Tejada and could lean on Tejada for additional information about drugs and other players. If he is not forthcoming, the agents would say, he could face perjury and immigration charges."

Forgive me if I'm being obtuse, but I don't follow Munson's logic here. If Tejada is unlikely to be prosecuted for lying about his age and name spelling, how exactly do those lies allow investigators to credibly threaten him with deportation or to otherwise put the squeeze on him? Miguel Tejada has made millions of dollars over the past few years, and my guess is that when he meets the would-be squeezing investigators from point #2, he'll have a sharp lawyer with him that will tell him that their threats are virtually empty due to point #1.

Not that Tejada isn't in trouble anyway. As Munson points out in the remainder of his article, Tejada already faced a load of pain as a result of the steroids stuff alone. Indeed, it doesn't seem to me that the age-flap ads much of anything to the mix apart from the attenuated question about his overall credibility should he decide to take the stand in his own defense in some future prosecution.

Call me crazy, but in light of the de minimus de minimis [thanks Mr. Ridges!] impact the age thing has on Tejada's legal problems -- and the fact that the rest of the article is a rehash of the trouble we already knew Tejada was in -- it strikes me that the whole purpose of Munson's piece is to repackage some in-the-can Tejada content as a means of further promoting the big E:60 show tonight.

I know. Perish the thought.

(link via Jason at IIATMS)


Pete Toms said...

Stop pushing my buttons about this! Every time I swear I'm not gonna comment anymore on PED shit...DON'T GET ME STARTED.

This is a great example of what is completely wrong and unfair about steroids / PEDs in MLB. If you turn up in the MR ( which is nothing but a compilation of information from federal investigations ), you could be in trouble. ( Tejada & Clemens the most notable examples ) And so if your steroid dealer / personal trainer avoided federal investigation you're probably ok.

WHAT IS FAIR ABOUT THAT? It's completely random who is smeared forever and who gets off unpunished.

The players got screwed. Management approved of everything they did, both in collective bargaining and in the day to day operation of their workplaces.

And as for his age....piss off. Everybody knows that pre 9/11 / age gate ( how many of you followed the " age gate " list on BA post 9/11 when the govt cracked down on ID requirements for the foreign players? How many names, IIRC in excess of 100? Santiago Casilla changed names and aged I think 2+ years. ) How long have we known about this lying? WE DON'T CARE, we accept it as part of the schtick, part of the gamesmanship.


tadthebad said...

pete, I agree that select players are getting screwed...and I have no problem with it at all. One could similarly make the case that the criminals locked-up in this country are no worse than those criminals who never got caught, but I wouldn't support letting the unfortunate ones out. A healthy amount of chance is certainly involved in both instances. Ultimately, it was the offending players who decided to knowingly cheat and I have little sympathy for those who could not anticipate the potential fallout. I've never bought into the theory that everyone but the players is at fault simply because they went right along with the prevailing culture (not that pete is suggesting that). There is plenty of blame to go around as far as creating the PED culture, but the decision to use rests with the offending player(s). Age discrepancy means little to me as far as potential prosecution, although I'm all for accuracy in public record documents in the interest of Homeland Security.

I was also puzzled by the Munson piece. Perhaps he meant that the age/name discrepancy could be used as leverage against an unadvised Tejada?

Pete Toms said...

At the time of my rant I didn't know that Law wrote about the "age" thing today. He too notes the govt crackdown on false documents 5 years ago which changed a lot of player ages.

Law also writes about Tejada and some clubs that got burned acquiring players who were significantly older than they thought. I still think it's all in the game though, do your homework or suffer.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that Tejada did not lie on his immigration docs or his drivers license application. ESPN.com may just be speculating to pump up its television programming.

Anonymous said...

Derek Jacques at BP, citing the Houston Chronicle says Tejada did not lie on his immigration docs.

William said...

Here is a link to the Houston Chronicle article: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5708800.html

According to this story, Tejada's green card and driver's license list his correct birth date, which suggests that he has been truthful with the government in reporting his birth date.

Now, I'm still in shyster school, and not a full-blown shyster yet... but it would seem to me that Tejada wouldn't face any additional charges from the government -- even the relatively toothless ones Munson mentions -- if he was truthful in reporting his information to the government. The Astros could possibly have a contract claim against him if they wanted to go down that road, but I fail to see how government investigators could use these allegations against Tejada.

William said...

The link seems to have cut off in my last post:

Click here to read the story

Pete Ridges said...

It's "de minimis". De takes the ablative, as I learned at the school around the corner from Andy McCluskey's house...

Craig Calcaterra said...

Thanks Pete. I fixed it.

Andy McCluskey's house? Coronado or the UK? If the former, there's a chance you know my brother and that would be . . .odd.

Pete Ridges said...

No, I'm afraid it was Meols, UK, a place famous only for the song Red Frame White Light (about a public telephone). But I'm sure that the standard of Latin teaching is excellent in Coronado too... I went to school near McCluskey's house, and he to the school across the road from mine, but we never met.