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Sunday Bird Droppings: The pension plan minutiae edition

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Following a New York Daily News article alleging an MLB pension investigation, MLB denied any Orioles wrongdoing.

2020 Grape Fruit League Media Availability Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 158 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2021.

On Saturday, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reported that Orioles GM Mike Elias is under investigation by the league over a complaint about the O’s handling of a pension plan.

The specifics as laid out by Madden are that Orioles director of pitching Chris Holt was one of four coaches listed as eligible to qualify for the MLBPA pension plan. Each team is allowed to choose four coaches in this way, he says. However, Madden writes that only full-time, uniformed coaches are eligible to be included on this list. It is Elias’ responsibility as GM to name the coaches who qualify for the pension, Madden says.

The Baltimore Sun’s Nathan Ruiz reported on the allegation later on Saturday, noting that it was “vehemently denied” by Major League Baseball, which gave the following statement:

Major League Baseball is completely comfortable with the Orioles’ coaching designations for the 2020 season, which are not only consistent with the terms of the pension plan but were approved in advance by MLB and shared prior to the start of the season with representatives from the Major League Baseball Players Association. The suggestion that there is an ongoing investigation that could result in discipline is simply false.

A cursory Googling by an interested observer turns up this link on the MLB website, which appears to be the current document outlining the MLB pension plan. It specifies the following under “Who Is Eligible”:

If you work as a coach, a trainer, an assistant trainer/physical therapist, or a manager after that date, you are eligible to participate in the Pension Plan if a club designates you to participate in the Pension Plan.

This language is clearly inclusive of coaches beyond simply uniformed personnel on the MLB staff, contrary to what Madden says. Trainers and physical therapists do not get uniform numbers, yet they can be designated.

I cannot say that the text has not changed since whenever this was uploaded to the MLB site. Sometimes on the Internet, old links have bad information. In searching last night, I did not find any public document that contradicts it. MLB’s statement certainly seems to show that they find no fault with Holt’s inclusion. Let’s hope that’s the final twist of the story and that we never have to think about this again after today.

Around the blogO’sphere

Beyond this odd pension business, there are slim pickings for fresh Orioles thoughts from the media on the last Sunday in October.

A player that got away is still raking years later (Steve Melewski)
Steve Melewski is referring to Nelson Cruz, although if you are a regular Camden Chat reader, you surely didn’t need a Steve Melewski article to tell you that Nelson Cruz has done a lot of slugging since the Orioles refused to give him a fourth contract year after the 2014 season.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There are a couple of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1983/88 reserve outfielder Tito Landrum, and 1960 three-gamer Bobby Thomson.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Dodge co-founder John Francis Dodge (1864), famously angry basketball coach Bobby Knight (1940), comedian Samantha Bee (1969), author Zadie Smith (1975), and singer-songwriter Katy Perry (1984).

On this day in history...

In 1415, during the Hundred Years War, England’s Henry V led his outnumbered force to victory over the French in the Battle of Agincourt.

In 1812, during the War of 1812, Maryland-born naval commander Stephen Decatur led his ship, USS United States, in capturing the British frigate HMS Macedonian.

In 1854, during the Crimean War, the Allies attacked the Russians in the Battle of Balaclava, an ultimately indecisive battle. An ill-fated charge in the battle became memorialized in The Charge of the Light Brigade poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

In 1944, during World War II, the Japanese navy attacked in force to try to disrupt the Allied invasion of the Phillippines, resulting in a substantial Allied victory in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In terms of total personnel involved, this is thought to be the largest naval battle in history. It was the first battle with Japanese planes engaging in organized kamikaze missions, and it was the last naval battle to feature combat between battleships.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on October 25. Have a safe Sunday.