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This Dodgers chart of ‘suspected criminals on our payroll’ seems bad

There’s a lot of information to unpack in SI’s new bombshell about the Department of Justice investigating Major League Baseball’s foreign operations. We should probably start with the Spreadsheet of Criminals.

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Department of Justice is opening an investigation of Major League Baseball and how teams recruited international players, according to Sports Illustrated. The FBI is in possession of a “thick dossier of documentation” that is being used in the investigation, with a lot of SI’s reporting revolving around the Dodgers organization.

They have literal receipts.

The trove of evidence — the material that largely persuaded the bureau to launch an investigation — includes videotapes, photographs, confidential legal briefs, receipts, copies of player visas and passport documents, internal club emails and private communications by franchise executives in 2015 and 2016.

I thought having receipts was just an internet thing.

This is a dense story that I’m clearly unqualified to unpack, but there’s at least salacious finding here that absolutely needs all the attention we can give: Someone in the Dodgers’ organization kept a spreadsheet that graded employees in Latin America on how much of a suspected criminal they were.

“On a scale from one to five, with one being an innocent bystander and five being a criminal overlord, just how much of a criminal is this employee?” seems like a very bad spreadsheet to have! It seems like it’s a bad spreadsheet to have if you own a restaurant or automotive supply store, and it seems like a bad spreadsheet to have if you’re a florist, chemical engineer, or submarine captain. It’s a bad spreadsheet!

More than anything, though, this graph speaks to just how normalized the corruption is with regards to the international market. Someone with a collared shirt probably thought this spreadsheet and bar graph would be of some use to the whole endeavor. No big deal, just some quick and dirty grades for our edification. Just a simple bar graph. Just doin’ my job.

My job of ranking the criminals on the payroll. Which is totally normal.

This probably just the beginning of what’s likely to become a huge story, and more information will likely follow. For now, though, I’ll just focus on the fact that a Dodgers employee created a little TPS report about “CRIMINALS EMPLOYED”, put a cover sheet on it, and likely shared it with his superiors. Even if we were mostly aware of just how corrupt the international market always has been, this is still a stunning, remarkable piece of evidence that shows just how normalized and institutionalized this kind of corruption really is.