New York Post covers 60 Minutes interview.....
A- Rod determined to burn through more of his money by running to Federal Court - where else have we seen someone so dedicated to burning money ?
It's not about the money It's about sending a message
( Is there such a thing as a pyrrhic loss ? If yes , A- Rod has sustained one ! )
It seems we never run out of things to write and say about Alex Rodriguez. Even though we’ve long suspected that some sort of suspension like this was coming, the news of a 162-game ban — plus the playoffs — still sparked plenty of any number of story angles ranging from the practical (what to do at third base) to the theoretical (has A-Rod played his final game) to the hypothetical (what the Rodriguez legacy might have been) to the judgmental (was this a good day or a bad day for baseball). For tomorrow’s paper, I wrote a column about my sense that Rodriguez is clinging to the Steroid Era, almost as if he should get away with this stuff because players in the past got away with it. In this case, unprecedented punishment might be a good thing.
But obviously I’m not the only one writing about the Rodriguez situation. Here are a few links to stories you might have missed.
• The New York Times has a goodquestion and answer about the process that led to Rodriguez’s season-long ban.Speaking of the Times, two of the best in the business were up to their usual standards in writing about Rodriguez today. Tyler Kepner looked atRodriguez’s enduring status as a player who generates attention for right and wrong reasons, and Dave Waldstein explored the ways the Yankees might react to A-Rod salary relief.
• Speaking of Yankees reactions: Wally Matthews wonders if it’s time for the Yankees to simply release Rodriguez and pay his full salary to make him go away. It’s a question far more complicated than simply saying the Steinbrenner family should bite the bullet and get rid of him. That part is much easier said than done.
• ESPN’s legal analyst, Lester Munson, says Rodriguez has little chance of having his suspension overturned in federal court. Munson wrote: “Federal courts are reluctant to review and to second-guess arbitration awards. The rationale for arbitration is that it is a fast and accurate method for resolving disputes and avoids the delays and the expense of conventional litigation.”
• Jon Morosi says that baseball was able to defeat Rodriguez, but it was a “hollow victory at the end of a lousy week for the sport.”
• Mike Vaccaro watched an airport full of people basically mocking Rodriguez as the suspension news scrolled across their televisions, and Vaccaro felt sadness about the whole thing. “People are entitled to cheer this if they want, they can feel good about a posse getting its man, about the humbling of an arrogant star. That’s fine. But some are also entitled to feel lousy about how this turned out, to be saddened what we saw all those years wasn’t what we thought we were seeing, and baseball forever seems to be played in the shadow of the ancillary.”
• And, by the way, if Rodriguez wants to keep playing next year, he has an offer from the Long Island Ducks.
• While working on a column for tomorrow’s paper, I keep coming back to the idea of lessons learned. Baseball’s outside observers — whether fans or media — have become cynical. We’ve stopped blindly trusting what we’ve seen on the field, and we ask more questions now. Baseball’s front office has become aggressive, trying to make up for its lack of action two decades ago. There’s an acknowledgment that the league must do more, and it’s doing that. The Players Association seems happy to let that happen, recognizing that its own integrity is being put to the test, and the players themselves seem to have — for the most part — cleaned up the game. Steroids are no longer a laughing matter met with a wink and a nudge. Then there’s Alex Rodriguez, who seems to have learned nothing. It’s become nearly impossible to believe he’s innocent, yet he can’t believe that world isn’t willing to let him off the hook.
• I have absolutely no idea whether a judge would be willing to step in and block this suspension. It seems as if this process has gone through all of the proper and agreed-upon channels, and I’ve been told the legal standard for blocking the arbitrator’s decision should be incredibly high, but I’ve also been told that it’s impossible for even a legal expert to give a strong and reliable opinion without reading through the contract, the CBA, the details of the decision, etc. In other words, it’s hard if not impossible to get a firm and particularly valuable opinion right away. What we know for sure is that Rodriguez is going to try to go that route. Is it grasping at straws? Seems that way, but after the past 12 months, anything seems possible.
• A source in Rodriguez’s camp has confirmed that he’s planning to be with the Yankees in spring training. It seems unclear whether the league or the team can block him, but the fact Rodriguez wants to go at all says plenty about his handling of the situation. I completely understand wanting to be there — I firmly believe Rodriguez loves baseball and wants nothing more than to keep playing — but he also talks all the time about wanting what’s best for his “brothers” in the clubhouse, and his arrival in spring training most certainly would not be what’s best for the team. Unless a federal judge overturns the suspension, I honestly can’t come up with a reason for Rodriguez to show up that’s not entirely selfish.
• Is there any chance Rodriguez is innocent? I guess, but it’s incredibly difficult to believe it. His name was found in the same documents that other players have acknowledged as being accurate records of PED purchases. I’m sure Rodriguez is right and Anthony Bosch is a sleazeball, but that’s pretty unavoidable in the world of illegal drug trafficking. The fact other players issued similar denials, but ultimately admitted guilt, significantly hurts Rodriguez’s case. As does the fact he’s lied about this exactly same issue in the past. Every time MLB Network airs part of that Katie Couric interview, it feels all too familiar.
• The most interesting part of Rodriguez’s statement: “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.” That’s pretty clearly an attempted rallying cry, meant to generate support form his fellow players, but I can’t imagine it will work. In fact, if contracts become non-guaranteed based on steroid use, I think some players would be all for it. The MLBPA is the most powerful players union in sports, but some of that power could go away if it starts spending too much time defending PED users.
• For their $189 million goal, the Yankees got exactly the Rodriguez suspension they needed, but that’s probably not going to be enough. Getting beneath that luxury tax threshold was going to require a series of dominoes falling in exactly the right way. When the posting system was changed, one of those dominoes went off line. You could argue that the Derek Jeter setbacks caused another badly falling domino, creating the need to spend even more money on infield depth. Bottom line, even with Rodriguez off the books, the goal of $189 million seems like a long shot if the Yankees want to build a team that can confidently contend.
• What to do at third base? I still think the Yankees will go after some sort of right-handed platoon player — Michael Young or Mark Reynolds make the most sense — to pair with Kelly Johnson. I also wonder if the Yankees might be able to trade Ichiro Suzuki and go with only four true outfielders on the roster (Gardner, Ellsbury, Soriano and Beltran) while treating Johnson an infielder/outfielder and carrying yet another infielder to further mix and match at second and third. Might be nice to make a move for an everyday player at one of those positions, but unless Stephen Drew is willing to do it, I just don’t see that sort of answer being available. Pitching is a far more pressing need at the moment.
• If Jeter is willing to play third base — opening the door for Drew to sign as an everyday shortstop — I’m totally on board. I thought that should have happened last year, and I certainly believe it makes sense this year. But the Yankees say that’s not in the cards.