On February 7 Alex Rodriguez withdrew his law suit against Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. Rodriguez will be suspended for the entire 2014 season. It is finally over and the cheater has lost. Good riddance. After all he got exactly what he deserved; sort of.
In truth Alex Rodriguez had a great legal and moral argument that his suspension was too long. The only problem was that the argument was literally in the truth and A-Rod refused to come clean. He could have captured the moral high ground, if only he had any morals.
The lawsuit was simply a waste of effort, time and money. Everyone outside of Alex and his defense team seemed to know it. Arbitration is put into place to avoid courts. Arbitration decisions are a ruling of law and courts are hesitant to overrule such hearings. Historically, the courts have also not wanted to intervene in baseball at all, despite the few memorable cases in which they have done so. When A-Rod withdrew his law suit it was because he knew he had no chance of winning. Some will spin his withdrawal as “moving forward”, don’t believe it.
The fact is that Rodriguez’ consistent and constant denials were getting him nowhere and he knew it. The jig was finally up, even for him. He was officially caught and no denial was going to make it less true. Indeed his need to be “uncaught” had caused him to impede MLB’s Biogenesis investigation and opened the window for his original suspension. Major League Baseball jumped all over A-Rod’s mistake, giving him an unprecedented 211 game suspension.
Rodriguez had no choice but to fight the suspension. Coming back from hip surgery, the suspension would’ve kept him off of the field for 2 full seasons. That very likely would have been a career ending layoff. So he justifiably fought it. However, he still refused to admit any PED use going into arbitration.
Was it arrogance? Was it blind belief in his law team? Was he sure he could find a Ryan Braun type loop-hole when he went into arbitration?
Regardless of his reasoning he continued to lie. Then when faced with a mountain of evidence against him in arbitration he decided to not testify in his own defense. He knew he couldn’t win. Still he chose to go onto New York Radio to continue to claim innocence. He lost in arbitration and gained no ground in public opinion. 162 games, the entire 2014 season, see you next year cheater!
However what if Alex had simply admitted his guilt? What if he, instead of sticking with his “it’s a witch hunt” madness, just fought the length of suspension? There is a fair chance that he would’ve had his suspension shortened even more then it was.
The breakdown of his suspension, according to the arbitration papers filed by Rodriguez’ lawyers are: three separate 50 game suspensions for 3 PED use violations, and then a mere 12 games for impeding MLB’s investigation. The problem is this makes little logical sense, and differs greatly from precedents set by prior suspensions.
Every player who has failed a drug test has been given 50 games. Every other player suspended through the Biogenesis probe was given 50 games (with the exception of Braun’s 65 games). Are we to believe that Alex Rodriguez was the only guy who used PED’s in multiple seasons? Does anyone believe that any player has been caught after their first PED use? When a drug user is caught buying drugs, he is charged for that specific action. Law enforcement does not look at the tracks on his arm and then decide to give him more time. You get caught, and you pay the cost.
Still, for a moment let’s accept that it is ok to get multiple suspensions for the same case. Why would Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera be given a pass? Their names were in the Biogenesis documentation but were cleared because each had already been suspended 50 games for failing drug tests. Are we to believe that documents only showed PED use for the incidents they were suspended for? Seriously? In the immortal words of the great Ed Lover “C’mon son!”
Lastly, how does someone receive three “first time offense” suspensions? The collective bargaining agreement is pretty straight forward on the subject. First PED violation is 50 games, second 100 games and the third is a lifetime ban. Somewhere out there, twice suspended, Manny Ramirez is asking for a recount!
At the end of the day, Alex Rodriguez is a man who stands alone. He has drawn the distain of everyone in baseball; the commissioner, his team, the entire players association and most importantly the fans. At any time during this process he could’ve simply admitted the truth and saved himself some ill will. Maybe he could’ve saved himself part of the season as well.
The truth shall set you free Alex, the truth shall set you free.