viernes, septiembre 22, 2023
InicioActualidadBrian Harkins, fired for providing sticky stuff, settles with Angels

Brian Harkins, fired for providing sticky stuff, settles with Angels

Brian Harkins, the longtime Los Angeles Angels clubhouse attendant who was fired for distributing foreign substances to players, has settled his defamation lawsuit with his former employer, ending a three-year saga that at one point saw the case get struck down in court.

Jury selection for a trial in Orange County Superior Court was scheduled to begin Monday, but the two sides reached a settlement over the weekend. The amount was not disclosed.

Harkins, who had worked as the visiting clubhouse attendant at Angel Stadium since 1990, was fired in March 2020 in the early stages of Major League Baseball’s efforts to crack down on the use of sticky substances that were taking spin rates to disproportionately high levels. For decades, Harkins crafted a blend of rosin, pine tar and “Mota stick” — a type of glue used to grip bats — that was popular among pitchers but violated a memo that emphasized the rule disallowing illegal substances and stated that team personnel was forbidden from facilitating in the use of it.

Harkins’ attorneys initially argued that their client was unfairly cast as a “scapegoat” in MLB’s venture, noting that the entire industry — pitchers, hitters, umpires, coaches, even executives — had long ignored the use of illegal substances because it was widely beneficial for pitchers to maintain proper grip of baseballs that were often too slick when brought into play. Harkins alleged he never sold the mixture as a side business — though he admitted in court to receiving up to $100 from players for it — and said he was never given a copy of the memo, distributed by former MLB executive Chris Young only days before his firing.

An opposition to MLB’s request to dismiss the original lawsuit in January 2021 included text messages from Gerrit Cole requesting Harkins’ concoction, while identifying Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer among those who also used the blend.

The defamation lawsuit was struck down about three weeks later, but the Orange County 4th District Court of Appeals reversed the superior court’s decision in February 2022.

Young and Billy Eppler, the current New York Mets general manager and then-Angels GM who initially informed Harkins of his firing, were expected to either testify or provide video testimony during the case. The two sides were said to be far apart on a potential settlement as recently as the middle of last week, but ultimately made up ground in the final days.

Both sides declined to comment on the situation, instead issuing a simple statement: “The matter is settled.”

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