Sports Commentary 10/17/13
A-Rod…The Saga Continues…..
MARKED CARDS AND A STACKED DECK
Let’s put this up front. We all hate Alex Rodriquez. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much.
We all want to see the Yankees third baseman get his comeuppance in this hearing into his appeal of a 211 game suspension, for what we aren’t quite sure. Major League Baseball has yet to make that clear. As I like to remind Red Sox fans, who hate A-Rod because he became a Yankee only when their team wouldn’t ante up another three million dollars so they could have him, at the moment A-Roid, as they like call him, has been found to be no more guilty than their own David Ortiz. They are the two players who’s names were released off that supposedly confidential list of players who tested postitive for performance enhancing drugs when they agreed, under a guarantee of anonymity, to take part in testing to give Major League Baseball an operative percentage of players using substances.
Major League Baseball, however, feels it has enough evidence of other wrong doing by A-Rod to suspend him for 211 games, when, under the terms of the drug policy, if he has tested positive again, it would officially be his first time and he’d only face a 50 game suspension. If Major League Baseball had overwhelming evidence that A-Rod had violated more serious stipulations of the standard collective bargaining agreement they could have presented it at the time A-Rod filed an appeal of the suspension and prevented him from playing while the appeal was being heard. A-Rod continued to play, the hearing into his appeal was delayed until after the end of the regular season.
A-Rod fired the first salvo going into the hearing, filing a suit claiming Major League Baseball and, specifically, commissioner Bud Selig, were out to get him for the sake of preserving Selig’s legacy as he announced his upcoming retirement.
The center piece of the first week of the hearing was the owner of the now closed Biogenisis anti aging clinic in Miami, with which A-Rod allegedly did business, Tony Bosch, all dressed up with only one place to go, to the hearings, to testify on behalf of Major League Baseball. At the moment we don’t know, what, if any, actual evidence against A-Rod he presented. We do know that an exoneration of A-Rod or a sizeable reduction of his penalty will be bad for Selig and baseball, in terms of image and as a hit to their drug program. That brings us to yesterday.
Following a recess after a Friday session in which the opposing counsel had to be separated to keep them from coming to blows, the hearing resumed in New York with a new baseball witness, Major League Baseball chief operating officer Rob Manfred, who will testify for as long as it takes, including what is sure to be a blistering cross examination by A-Rod’s side. When he’s done testifying on Major League Baseball’s behalf, Manfred will return to his other role in the hearings, as one of the three arbiter’s who will rule on A-Rod’s guilt or innocence as it pertains to the charges against him.
The players association is also represented on the panel, along with a third party, but the players association isn’t testifying on behalf of either side and, by all accounts, isn’t happy about A-Rod filing the appeal in the first place. At the very least Major League Baseball could be represented on the panel by someone who is not a witness against the accused, someone who isn’t listening to arguments against his own testimony when listening to post hearing arguments on behalf of disposing of or reducing the penalty to Alex Rodriquez.
In court this kind of deck stacking would never be allowed, recusal of certain parties would be the least of the remedies. Perception is a dangerous thing and the perception coming out of this hearing may very well work on A-Rod’s behalf when his own filings go to a true court of law.
With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.