A-Rod case: Fascinating, but sordid

A-Rod case: Fascinating, but sordid
January 13, 2014, 8:45 am
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Injured New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) sits in the dugout during the fourth inning of a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

I had vowed to not write anything more about Alex Rodriguez, at least for a while. Then, I watched “60 Minutes’ on Sunday night.

Shortly before the program aired, the Players Association sent out a statement.

“It is unfortunate that Major League Baseball apparently lacks faith in the integrity and finality of the arbitrator's decision and our Joint Drug Agreement, such that it could not resist the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez.  It is equally troubling that the MLB-appointed Panel Arbitrator will himself be appearing in the "60 Minutes" segment, and that Tony Bosch, MLB's principal witness, is appearing on the program with MLB's blessing,” it read in part.

Bosch was hard to watch, hard to listen to. He was in essence defending the use of PEDs when he said that A-Rod had to use them because so many others he was competing with were.

However hard he was to watch, Bosch’s description of how Rodriguez allegedly beat drug tests was important to hear.

To think that Bosch loves baseball as much as he told Scott Pelley was dubious, but he was an important witness to baseball’s case, and factually believable.

The Players Association criticized Rob Manfred for appearing. Manfred, who may succeed Bud Selig as commissioner, had allegedly been overheard at a golf course, speaking indiscreetly about Rodriguez. The player’s lawyers heard about that, but that wasn’t brought up in Sunday night’s interview.

That wasn’t the only juicy detail, which had been previously reported to not be mentioned on the program. MLB investigator Dan Mullin allegedly had an affair with a Biogenesis employee. Rodriguez apparently paid $105,000 to obtain copies of those text messages.

It was also curious to see Selig interviewed on the program. His refusal to be questioned by Rodriguez’s attorneys was the cause of A-Rod’s storming out of the hearing.

While Rodriguez is despised by his fellow players, some have worried about the process.

“MLB’s post-decision rush to the media is inconsistent with our collectively-bargained arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement, in particular.  After learning of tonight's "60 Minutes" segment, Players have expressed anger over, among other things, MLB's inability to let the result of yesterday's decision speak for itself.  As a result, the Players Association is considering all legal options available to remedy any breaches committed by MLB. 

“Throughout this process the Players Association has repeatedly shown it is committed to an effective drug program that is strong and fair.  And as we indicated in our statement yesterday, although we do not agree with the arbitrator’s decision, we respect the process and will act accordingly.  We believe the other involved parties should do the same,” the Players Association wrote.

With last fall’s death of Michael Weiner, the head of the Players Association and Selig’s looming retirement, there will be new leadership when the next contract is bargained in 2016.

Two decades of labor peace have put baseball ahead of the other major sports, and while many players want tougher penalties for drug abusers, there are a lot of questions about baseball’s methods during this case.

As Selig prepares to leave the scene, it probably is an isolated case. He wants to rid baseball of drugs, and Rodriguez is the symbol of wrongdoing, and he wants him out.

Rodriguez is eligible to return in 2015. His onerous Yankees contract will still have three seasons to run, but with his faded skills, which won’t be helped by a year away from major league competition, will he even be a factor then?

Unfortunately, Rodriguez will continue to haunt baseball, and by the way, is there any writer who’d now vote for him for the Hall of Fame?