Another kind of choking

There's a proper way to set a table for dinner, to address the Queen of England, to break up with your girlfriend. And according to Major League Baseball, there's also a proper way to handle a player who tries to choke the air out of a team official.

Apparently, you don't stop paying him.


Michael Weiner, the general counsel of the players association, said the union planned on filing a grievance yesterday, claiming that the Houston Astros improperly terminated Shawn Chacon's contract a week after the pitcher shoved general manager Ed Wade to the ground and began choking him.

In the real world, you can lose your job if you leave the fryer unattended at a fast-food joint. But Chacon supposedly is entitled to collect a check after trying to separate Wade from his windpipe.


Wade made the mistake of approaching Chacon in the middle of the clubhouse, interrupting the post-game meal, with news that manager Cecil Cooper wanted to see him. Chacon, who had been getting lit up like a jack-o'-lantern, knew what was coming. Wade did not.

Chacon was placed on waivers the next day and, believe it or not, cleared them. Teams apparently weren't in the market for a struggling pitcher with anger-management issues. Go figure.

The union says Chacon is owed the remaining $983,607 of his $2 million salary this year. Paragraph 1 of Rule 7 of the uniform player contract says if a player clears waivers, he can be terminated with written notice if the player "fails, refuses or neglects to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the club's training rules."

As far as we know, Chacon was in decent shape.

The movie A League of Their Own taught us that there's no crying in baseball. If the union has its way, we'll also learn that there are no deep breaths in the Astros clubhouse. And no recourse.