Last Call…For A-Rod Antics

The game of baseball will forever be tainted by the use of performance enhancing drugs (“PEDs”) over the last 15-20 years. A handful of notable names rush to mind when thinking about MLB’s “Steroid Era”; Rafael Palmeiro wagging his finger in front of Congress, proclaiming his innocence, Mark McGwire evading Congressional questioning and repeating ad nauseum “I’m not here to talk about the past,” or Barry Bonds being indicted for perjuring himself to a grand jury regarding his alleged use of PEDs. But the most notorious of all may end up being Alex Rodriguez.  A-Rod refuses to go quietly into the twilight of his career. In spite of the numerous “sincere apologizes” for using PEDs, A-Rod continues year after year to spew his cavalier rationalization of his actions over network television and the sports back page.

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Rodriguez tested positive in 2009 for PEDs while playing for the Texas Rangers. He apologized and rationalized that he felt pressured to continue his high level of play and that he didn’t use prior to his stint in Texas or since then.  However, just a few years later his name was linked to the Biogenesis Clinic in South Florida, along with a number of other Major League players. After a lengthy investigation, Commissioner Bud Selig suspended all the players linked to Biogenesis with various suspension lengths. The majority of players received a 50-game suspension, the mandated suspension the first time a player tests positive. The investigation was believed to have uncovered especially damning evidence, as all of the named players accepted their suspensions without appealing, even though none actually tested positive. Ryan Braun’s 65-game suspension stole the early headlines, due to the history surrounding his positive test in 2011, which he successfully nullified with palsy and weak procedural chain of custody allegations. But when it came to A-Rod, Commissioner Selig took his time handing Rodriguez a 211-game suspension, viewed by many to be a death sentence for a player who turned 38 in July. True to his rationalizing media spotlight loving nature, A-Rod was the only player to appeal the suspension.  As a sign of Major League Baseball’s true disgust the antics of Rodriguez, Commissioner Selig suspended Rodriguez under his commissioner power, not for a positive PED test for 211 games. Commissioner Selig deemed Rodriguez’s intimidating and bullying conduct towards potential witnesses as detrimental to the game of baseball. Rodriguez, however, magically saw the entire ordeal from a different perspective.   In addition to the appeal process, Rodriguez filed a civil lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court alleging that it was the goal of Commissioner Selig and Major League Baseball

“to improperly marshal evidence that they hope to use to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez.”

The lawsuit against Selig and MLB alleges tortuous interference with A-Rod’s contract and that: (1) MLB is paying $5 million to Anthony Bosch, the proprietor of the now-defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic suspected to be a source of illegal PEDs for players, for his cooperation in the league’s case against Rodriguez; (2) MLB has repeatedly violated terms of a confidentiality agreement between the parties by leaking information damaging to Rodriguez to selected news outlets; (3) MLB investigators have bribed and intimidated witnesses and, on at least one occasion, impersonated police officers.

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Continuing on his “justice rampage” (aka bring-as-many-down-as-many-as-you-can) Rodriguez filed a second lawsuit against his Yankees’ team doctor and the New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center alleging misdiagnosis of his left hip injury in 2012. Wow. Overwhelming public sentiment has cast Rodriguez as a villain and these lawsuits have evoked a “rolling of the eyes” response from fans and detractors alike. Public sentiment aside, these are serious allegations that, if proven, constitute egregious conduct by Commissioner Selig and Major League Baseball. The public may be sick of Alex Rodriguez and may not believe a word he says, but the allegations cannot be outright dismissed. Rodriguez’s playing days are likely over, which many fans rejoice in, but Rodriguez has a chance to prove that the process by which MLB and Selig arrived at the 211-game suspension was biased.   The take away here is that even with a homerun case (pun intended), as Major League Baseball has categorized this investigation and its subsequent claims, an entity must still protect itself from the random “scorch earth” retaliatory response elicited from a desperate individual. A-Rod personifies this mentality with his misdirection of the real issues presented and a last gasp at the spotlight. The burden now falls to Major League Baseball and Commissioner Selig to validate their position, in the court of law and in the court of the controversy tired fans of baseball.  

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