An Orange County, Calif. court reinstated the defamation lawsuit filed by former Angels clubhouse manager Bubba Hankins, who was fired in March 2020 for providing “sticky stuff” to pitchers during his time with the team. Hankins sued the Angels and MLB for defamation, alleging that both parties made comments that damaged his reputation and made it impossible for him to get a job in baseball.
The suit was dismissed in January 2021 by Orange County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey T. Glass, but a panel of three judges overturned that decision on Wednesday, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Hankins, who worked for the Angels in various roles for 38 years, contends that it was common knowledge that pitchers throughout baseball used foreign substances to improve their grips on the baseball. He said last season that he had provided substances to many prominent pitchers, including Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole.
Daily Cover: ’Sticky Stuff’ Should Be the Biggest Scandal in Sports
MLB began a more stringent policing of sticky substances midway through last season, incorporating in-game checks by umpires of both pitchers and position players.
“I was thrilled, and Bubba is as well,” Daniel L. Rasmussen, an attorney representing Harkins, said, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “The appeals court recognizes that this case deserves to have its day in court, that it was premature to dismiss it at an early stage. Bubba hasn’t won his case or anything — he’s just starting — but he gets a chance. He deserves a chance to prove his case and to see what a jury thinks about it.”
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