Grey Flannel Auctions recently announced that a rare, authentic Mickey Mantle bat would go up for auction at the end of May. There’s just one problem—the bat in question is corked. A statement from professional bat authenticator John Taube explained it like this: “During our examination of the bat, we noticed a circular area .75 inches wide in the center of the top barrel. The finish in the area has also been touched up to mask the circular area. Alterations of this nature indicate the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork. We had the barrel X-rayed and it confirms that the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork. This is the first corked bat of Mantle that we have seen or heard of.” The suggestion that the Yankee great may have cheated is not sitting well with Mantle’s family. They released a statement, saying, “Our Dad loved, revered and dedicated his whole life and professional career to the game of baseball. The statements and suggestions that Dad used a corked bat more than 49 years ago to cheat at the game he worshiped are false. Let us be clear: Dad didn’t need and never used a corked bat. Mickey Mantle was honest about the way he played the game that he loved and to which he devoted his professional life.” The bat has since been removed from the Grey Flannel Auctions website.
Op-Ed: Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson Contract Woes are a Bad Omen
This isn’t the precedent set by any previous NFL contract negotiation, as far as I’ve seen. However, the NFL is in new territory, with the recent fully guaranteed contract to Deshaun Watson (which, without getting into too much detail, is quite possibly the most ill-informed business decision I’ve seen since Shark Tank turned down Ring doorbell cameras).