As I’m sure everybody knows, Alex Rodriguez’s arbitration hearing continues in New York with him appealing against the 211 game suspension handed down to him by MLB.
Like a lot of Yankees fans, I would like to know exactly what evidence MLB have on A-Rod and how they justify his suspension being 211 games (I know it was the number of games remaining in the 2013 regular season and all of 2014 season but I want the actual reasons for why it is so long). On the face of it, A-Rod is a first time offender under the MLB drug scheme. If MLB are claiming obstruction of their investigation and coercion of other players then there are 2 issues:
1) What proof is there? How substantial and reliable is it?
2) Since a situation like this has not been legislated for, who has decided on the term?
Sure, it seemed like a nice number at the time, taking A-Rod out for the rest of the season and all of next but if it is upheld, then surely it would now have an impact on his 2015 season, such as it may be, which seems a bit harsh. If he is going to face a suspension in the realms of this amount of games, surely missing an entire season would be punishment enough? Again though, I come back to the fact that A-Rod is a FIRST TIME offender (assuming they even solid enough evidence to back this up).
I’ll admit, when this first came out, I was shocked and believed that if all of the allegations were true, then A-Rod should have the book thrown at him. Initially, I would probably have backed a full lifetime exclusion from the game. BUT, when I actually sat back and looked at it in the cold light of day, rather than the harsh bright lights of the media, I thought to myself, “Why is A-Rod being treated SO MUCH differently to others?”
This smacks of a vendetta by MLB to get rid of a player who, admittedly, can be prickly and kind of arrogant. A-Rod has always been a polarising figure in baseball, who in England we would describe as being like Marmite – you either love him or you hate him. No matter what you think about him as a person, he is a stand out player. Ok, so the Yankees may have made a mistake on his 10 year contract but that’s hardly his fault – he wanted a long term deal and to be paid well for his abilities. Because, he does not always conform to how MLB want him to behave, they now appear to be taking issue with this. From what I have heard, there is a good deal of delving into A-Rod’s personal affairs in the appeal hearing, which I know is a standard legal practice in order to attempt to sway the decision maker (Judge, jury or in this case Fredric Horowitz) one way or the other. It just does not seem right though to be dragging this up; it has little to do with the case, apart from seemingly trying to discredit A-Rod.
At the end of the day, if A-Rod HAS done something wrong, then he should be punished. There is no way that we can teach kids that you can get away with something, just by appealing it even if you have done wrong. The sticking point is that A-Rod should not be treated any differently to other people and he should receive a fair hearing and if it comes to it, a fair punishment. If Mr Horowitz decides that the 211 game suspension should be upheld, then I hope we are given some justification for the term. In fact, whatever the decision is, I would like it to be transparent so that we can see exactly what evidence led to it and how the punishment has been decided.
A little while ago I made the following declaration, “My name is Clive Barker, I am a New York Yankees fan and I forgive Alex Rodriguez”.
This is not something that I did lightly but as it says, I am a Yankees fan. I feel that we need to forgive A-Rod and accept that he may have messed up. Forgiving him does not mean that we condone him not being punished if he has done something wrong but it does mean that we can move on.
Ultimately, all we are asking for is that A-Rod be given a fair hearing and if it comes down to it, a fair punishment. This would be best for A-Rod, best for the Yankees, best for the fans and best for baseball, which is the key here! Baseball does not need to get dragged through the mud for singling out and discriminating against one player. This would be worse for the game than the whole steroid saga as it is a basic human right to have fair trial and fair punishment. In a way, this whole A-Rod thing, transcends baseball and comes down to fairness and doing the right thing, no matter what!