I, like most baseball fans, am sickened unto death of the PED scandal(s) that have plagued the game lately. The matter of the case of The Civilized World v. Alex Rodriguez is threatening to overshadow the pennant races playing out before our eyes.
This is still the United States of America and a man is innocent until proven guilty. Well, let’s look into that for a moment. The Muckety Mucks of MLB have determined, after interviews and investigations that Rodriguez was found guilty of substance abuse and set forth the penalty for the crime. Everyone else who received a sentence, accepted it and began doing their time.
In an effort to afford the defendant all due diligence, MLB has allowed the Players Association to appeal the suspension of Rodriguez. As Shakespeare would say, “Therein lies the rub.”
MLB has effectively gone beyond the pale. If a player is handed a suspension of 10 or 20 games, then he should be able to appeal the process. When a suspension spans pieces of three season, you may be certain that evidence has warranted a serious infraction of the rules.
Look for a moment at an historical case. Cincinnati Red and MLB all-time hits leader Pete Rose was given a lifetime ban by Commissioner Bart Giamatti for gambling on games his teams WEREN’T involved in. Joe Jackson was handed the same penalty by Judge “I’m King of the Mountain” Landis for his alleged wagering. I can see, in my mind’s eye, Shoeless Joe coming out of his grave with chains rattling and haunting A-Rod just as Jacob Marley did with Ebenezer Scrooge.
I know those cases are different from A-Rod’s but I have to ask you…which is the bigger transgression? Why shouldn’t Rodriguez have been given a life sentence? I know that effectively it is, but why not a literal one?
Why should a player be permitted to suit up and play as though nothing had ever happened? Rodriguez’ legal team are clearly drawing to an inside straight and they know it. Ever since he lawyered up and “released the hounds” his legal captain Joseph Tacopina has become a media whore. On a recent appearance of the Today Show, he told Matt Lauer that he would love to discuss specifics but was unable to because of a confidentiality clause by MLB.
MLB actually sent a letter to Lauer stating that they would waive the clause if Tacopina would. He was dumbfounded and was in a place somewhere between shock and awe.
The suspension will happen, but when? After he gets hit in the grill with a 100 mph fast ball and is deemed unable to play ever again by a physician?
Ryan Dempster of the Boston Red Sox threw all around him before hitting him with a pitch, and didn’t even get ejected from the game. He did receive a meaningless five-game suspension which essentially means no loss of time for the pitcher.
Why would A-Rod wish to place himself in such a perilous position? Almost nobody likes him anymore, and clearly the players don’t want him there. He knows what he did. I would like to think he is sane enough to know he will never see the inside of the Hall of Fame sans a ticket. That is a shame for a man who sports some of the best numbers in history.
Perhaps he can continue the charade long enough to be found guilty of another offense such as problems with the IRS (apologies to Rose), or lying to the government. I don’t think he would be afforded the leniency which the courts gave Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
Nothing, I say nothing he can do will repair or restore his image. He needs to stop filling the coffers of his litigious entourage and realize the inevitability that he will never play again, after his legal wrangling has run its misguided course.
Pete Rose fans, of which I am in league with, still hope and pray that active Commissioner Bud Selig would do the right thing and lift the ban of Rose, and Jackson as well. They both did their playing with their God-given abilities and were not mainlining synthetic power into their bodies.
Well, what do you think?