Source: AP (via Yahoo!)
Every player on the 40-man roster signs a standard Unified Players Contract that includes a morals clause, paragraph 3(a), that reads: ``The Player agrees to perform his services hereunder diligently and faithfully, to keep himself in first-class physical condition and to obey the Club's training rules, and pledges himself to the American public and to the Club to conform to high standards of personal conduct, fair play and good sportsmanship.''
The Orioles believe Ponson violated that rule, but their bid to terminate his contract will almost certainly meet resistance from the player's union.
They've tried to do sort of the same thing before in regard to his weight, but Ponson's off-the-field problems this season are a whole other story, and they had a lot more ground to stand on with this one.
Neither the team nor Ponson's agent are making any comments currently.
As for what this means for the team, nothing right now, really, but it means next year we aren't tied into his contract and he's not going to be a factor anymore. Ponson was a terrible pitcher this year after bombing pretty badly last season, the first of a three-year deal he signed after the 2003 year. He has legitimately been one of the very worst starters in baseball for two years after a solid 2003. As ESPN's Jeff Brantley put it, he was signed to be the first starter, and he pitched like an eighth starter.
I said before that the day Ponson was no longer a Baltimore Oriole should be celebrated with great gusto. We were teased with the Padres deal that Nevin rejected and the Rangers deal that never came through. Now, he's gone. I don't want to make it sound like he doesn't have some serious personal issues, which he may or may not, but I'm glad he's not a member of the Baltimore Orioles anymore, in all ways. I won't miss him, and if he ever pitches against the Orioles I'll root for them to completely demolish him. I was never a Ponson fan and, quite frankly, I'm thrilled that I'll never be forced to half-heartedly root for him again.
When most players leave the Orioles or are traded or whatever, I'd wish them good luck. But I wouldn't mean it in this case, so I'm not going to pretend to wish Ponson well in his professional life.
This is the biggest piece of good news to come out of the Baltimore Orioles in about two and a half months.