DOES A-ROD HAVE A POINT?
Regardless of how it turns out, when the last shoe finally hits the floor in Major League Baseball’s Biogenisis scandal no one should feel sorry for Alex Rodriquez. But he may have a point. While he still stands to make millions of dollars, A-Rod will be among fourteen players who’s suspensions will reportedly be made public at noon today. While most of the suspensions are for fifty games, A-Rod will reportedly draw 214 games, which would encompass the remainder of this season and all of next. Primarily due to the length of his suspension, A-Rod will reportedly appeal. The Yankees have reportedly been told by Major League Baseball that A-Rod will be allowed to play while his appeal is heard, a process that could take 45 days. The appeal must be heard within 20 days of the filing, the arbitrator then has 25 days from the first day of the hearings to issue his ruling. That could extend past the middle of September, at least two weeks into the NFL season, not a scenario commissioner Bud Selig should be happy about, NFL regular season games being played while the focus in his game is on the latest drug scandal. If Selig had a way to put the issue behind him, or at least on the back burner, he wouldn’t hesitate to do so. He has one power that would enable him to do that, the “Good of the Game” clause that allows him to keep a player off the field while an appeal is being heard, but that does not encompass drug actions, only those that violate labor terms of the players agreement. In this case it was speculated that, due to the length of the proposed suspension, Major League Baseball had more on A-Rod than just using the Biogenisis products, much of that speculation centering on recruiting other players for the lab or obstructing the investigation. One would believe if there were evidence of either, beyond possible testimony from Anthony Bosch, the founder of the Biogenisis lab and a far from credible witness to rely on without corroboration, Selig would leap at the opportunity to keep the hearing process from playing out amid the public sideshow that having A-Rod on the field game after game is likely to become. If he has the evidence and doesn’t invoke the “Good of the Game” stipulation, Selig is operating against the best interests of baseball. If he doesn’t have that evidence, why does A-Rod, who, like the others being suspended, is a zero time offender, the 2003 positive tests not counting against any players record, face nearly four times the penalty of the others? That’s the reason for his appeal, that he feels the commissioner is out to get him, even hinting he may be in collusion with the Yankees, who would love to irradicate as much of his contract as possible. If that were true, that the Yankees are part of a conspiracy, that would be all the more reason for Selig to rule that A-Rod cannot play while the appeal is heard. The Yankees wouldn’t have to pay him for those games, a saving of at least three million dollars. Even if he has no evidence against A-Rod, Selig, who’s working hard to preserve his own legacy as he prepares for his retirement, at the very least has created an illusion that A-Rod is worse than all the other offenders and has turned all of baseball against him. It’s an illusion that may well be deserved, and we’ll know as the other shoes begin to drop, but, as paranoid as he may be, A-Rod may have a point. At least he has a question that deserves to be asked, and answered. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.