Alex Rodriguez 162-game ban hopefully ends latest chapter of baseball steroid era and leaves room for Yankees
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 13- There are so many questions that remain unanswered after an arbitrator ruled Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for the 2014 season of 162 games and the post season. Will a federal court take on an appeal process and with $25 million off the books will the New York Yankees spend and go off their $189 million salary threshold?
One thing is certain, this is the harshest suspension leveled at a player during the steroid era. And with this, baseball can move on and hopefully close the last chapter to cheaters and performing enhancing drugs.
Rodriquez will not go down without a fight. He loves the game and we could have seen the last of him in Yankee pinstripes and maybe the last time as an active player. At 40 years of age, after the suspension is served, A-Rod could still be a designated hitter if someone wants to take the risk.
Or, he could just fade away, but the ego and love of the game, let alone A-Rod trying to preserve whatever legacy he has, will not keep him away from the playing field.
Major League Baseball gets a victory here with the suspension, but did they? They are also culprits of the steroid saga. And through all of this, with A-Rod being implicated with obstruction of their investigation, baseball implemented drug testing with players when performance enhancing drugs was out of hand.
Added to the fact, in one defense for Alex Rodriguez, he was never administered a drug test because of the Biogenesis situation. This may have been a word vs. word situation with A-Rod, the other players implicated and the name of Anthony Bosch who headed the Biogenesis clinic.
But one thing is certain. This was a message that was sent to the players and Major League Baseball scored a major victory even though the game has been damaged. Just take a look at the recent vote for enshrinement into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The supposed all-time home run leader, record holders and more have been denied their place up in Cooperstown because of their alleged involvement with steroids.
The following is a Alex Rodriguez Statement on the Decision of a 162-game ban and it explains something in his defense to continue his legacy: “The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable. This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review. I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me. I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal."
This is a historic suspension. The Yankees have been in the middle of this throughout the entire process of the hearing. A-Rod, notice at the conclusion of his statement, makes reference to returning on the field and helping the Yankees win another championship.
The Yankees have washed their hands with the situation and released a brief statement: “The New York Yankees respect Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the arbitration process, as well as the decision released today by the arbitration panel.”
But, surely the Yankees are looking at this from another perspective. And, perhaps baseball is as well. A-Rod has put himself in jeopardy many times with his admission of using PED’s in the past. Then, he says he did not do what has hopefully closed the chapter with a suspension that was rendered Saturday.
The Yankees, without having to pay $25 million of an A-Rod contract, have more money to spend in their quest to get back to the World Series as they pursue the highly touted right-handed pitcher from Japan, Masahiro Tanaka. Baseball, now that a decision has been made, hopefully will move on. The game for now is clean from further PED issues even though the players association does not agree with the severity of the 162-game suspension.
Players have been sent a message about the risk and ramifications, and they can thank Alex Rodriguez for that because this was a historic suspension and a legacy has been tarnished.
It leaves to more questions about the legacy of Alex Rodriguez and where he goes from here.
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