January 15, 2014

A-Rod's Last Stand

Alex Rodriguez had a bad weekend. He found out early Saturday that Arbitrator Fred Horowitz had only reduced Rodriguez's Major League Baseball suspension down from 211 games to 162. Then, Sunday night on "60 Minutes," the first episode of a multi-part series aired, digging into details of A-Rod's drug use.

The piece included interviews with his former dealer Tony Bosch, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, MLB Executive Rob Manfred, and Rodriguez attorney Joe Tacopina. Neither party came out looking entirely clean. But as the dust settled late Sunday night, Alex Rodriguez got what he deserved.

Rodriguez has a proven track record of lying and deceiving baseball fans. Most notably, back in 2007 A-Rod lied to Katie Couric insisting he had never taken performance enhancing drugs. Two years later he came clean, admitting to three years of drug use with the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003. Now, A-Rod wants us to believe him; believe that because he never failed a test, he never took anything illegal, believe that MLB is out to get him, and Tony Bosch is corrupt. The problem is, Rodriguez has not proven to be any more credible than anyone he is accusing.

There was never any benefit to Major League Baseball having Rodriguez tied into the Biogenesis case. They had already taken down a current star in Brewer's outfielder Ryan Braun. Also, as part of the scandal, MLB had a dozen other players suspended. Singling out, falsely accusing A-Rod, and putting up with what has been a six-month PR nightmare, was more of a headache than it was worth had Rodriguez truly been innocent.

As for Alex Rodriguez's defense, had he really been serious about proving his innocence, he would have taken the stand during his hearing. As noted in the "60 minutes" piece by Rob Manfred, A-Rod was the only player in the history of the drug agreement to not take the stand in his own defense. Rodriguez reasoned that because Commissioner Bud Selig was not going to testify, neither would he. Frankly, it was terrible logic. I believe A-Rod never planned to testify. Instead, he planned to use Selig's lack of testimony as his excuse to not take the stand. Lame and phony, yet so A-Rod.

Rodriguez's camp insists it will try and take this case to federal court. Good luck. All indications are federal judges have little interest in hearing cases already settled in collective bargaining arbitration. As it stands, Horowitz's opinion in the ruling was not released, and if A-Rod sues, the opinion would be made public. Those detailed opinions might only make A-Rod look worse (if that is even possible).

The best thing for the Yankees would be to cut ties with A-Rod, and pay off the final three years and $61 million of his contract. Sure, it's a lot of money to swallow. But, you can't put a price on the peace of mind getting rid of Rodriguez would give the Steinbrenners, Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi, and the players. Let Rodriguez continue to make a mockery of himself and insisting the process is a sham, just make sure he's not doing it in a Yankee cap.

Pete is a lifelong Montauk resident and former sports talk host at 88.7FM WEER. He's currently a Sports Anchor at WCBS 880 and WFAN radio in NYC. He can be reached via email at peterfmundo@gmail.com.

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