For a sports journalist, this is the story that keeps on giving. The sad saga of Major League Baseball versus Alex Rodriguez is taking on a life of its own. Sometime this week, MLB is expected to hand out its long-awaited decision regarding the beleaguered superstar. As of this moment (Tuesday, July 30, 2013), we do not know the outcome of that decision. The one thing that is for sure, one of the parties involved, Rodriguez, MLB or even the Yankees, will be very upset on how this tale plays out.
Each of the aforementioned parties has a major stake in this outcome. A-Rod, who could face a lifetime ban for not only his steroid use that violated several terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but for also violating baseball’s code of conduct. The four-time MVP could lose up to $120 million dollars if MLB lowers the hammer on him. Rodriguez has vehemently denied any wrongdoing beyond his admitted performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) use during his Texas Rangers playing days of the early 2000’s. There are several reports circulating out there indicating that baseball has overwhelming evidence that A-Rod has used several forms of PEDs since 2009. As matter of fact, those same reports claim that MLB has more evidence against A-Rod than they had against Ryan Braun, whom they suspended for the remainder of this season.
Now based on the PED provision of the current CBA, MLB considers that A-Rod has two strikes against him, which would warrant a 100-game ban. He tested positive while in Texas and Commissioner Bud Selig has enough circumstantial evidence from the Tony Bosch Biogenesis case to assume that Rodriguez used PEDs since he has donned the pinstripes. The 100-game ban seems to be the minimum that could be handed down. However, there is a sentiment out there that MLB will go for the jugular with A-Rod based on the fact MLB feels that Mr. Rodriguez also attempted to tamper with evidence and intimidate witnesses.
Once again there are reports out there that the Rodriguez camp tried to buy the incriminating documents from the Biogenesis employees. When that did not work, they attempted to bribe and/or intimidate them. This is a clear case of obstruction of baseball’s investigation, which violates MLB’s code of conduct. In this case, Commissioner Selig has the right to invoke any punishment he feels fit as long as it is in the best interest of baseball. Many feel getting rid of Alex Rodriguez is in the best interest of the game.
Although they claim that they want A-Rod’s bat in the lineup, the team has done everything in their power to demonstrate the contrary. Earlier in the season, Rodriguez tweeted out that he was cleared to play. That drew the ire of the Yankees general manager Brian Cushman, who responded with four-lettered rant that was unbecoming of an individual in his position.
After his rehab stint, he appeared to be ready to rejoin the Bronx Bombers. Then a funny thing happened on the road to the Big Leagues. A-Rod complained about a slight pain in his leg. The team sent him to their medical staff for a MRI, which surprisingly revealed a Grade-1 strain. Rodriguez was stunned with the results and subsequently placed on the 15-Day Disabled List, delaying his return to the Bronx. The third baseman then went out and got a second opinion from a doctor that he did not even meet in person. Not only did this act violate the terms of his contract, since he did not request permission from the club to seek a second opinion, it also made A-Rod look like a desperate fool because he was hoping that a doctor who did not examine him would claim that he was fit to return to action based on simply looking at his MRI.
One has to wonder why A-Rod did not follow the normal protocol by going to the Players’ Association and filing a grievance if he felt that the Yankees have an ulterior motive regarding his return. Perhaps Rodriguez feels that MLBPA does not have his best interest in mind, nor do they support him anymore. MLBPA President Michael Wiener has already gone on record stating that the Association will not protect any player who has overwhelming evidence against them as regards to violating the PED provisions.
It did not help A-Rod’s cause when the Captain Derek Jeter hit a home run with his first swing upon his return this past weekend. A-Rod just cannot win!
Once again those same reports circulating out there claim that MLB is negotiating with A-Rod to come to a compromise on the lifetime ban. Rodriguez’s lawyer David Cornwall told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Monday that no such talks have taken place. Regardless of what has taken occurred, we can expect MLB to come down hard on Mr. Rodriguez. This soap opera has more twists and turns than an USA Network episode of Suits.