I can just imagine all the groans as yet another piece on Alex Rodriguez takes up space on the internet that can now be considered to be wasted, especially on a Detroit Tigers blog that has nothing to do with the New York Yankees or Mr. Rodriguez himself. But I would like to talk plain baseball, not just Tigers baseball. Considering that every memeber of the Tigers are a member of the MLBPA, I think it's still relevant. As spring training rapidly approaches to the tune of a minute per every minute, these last few weeks have been highlighted by either Masahiro Tanaka or Alex Rodriguez. Tanaka is a relative unknown. We won’t know until later today or tomorrow to find out if he landed with the Los Angeles Dodgers or not*.
*The Yankees paid through the nose for Tanaka, as we found out on January 23... So there's that
The other story represents a sad tale of destruction of the reputation of an asshole who happens to be one of the greatest ballplayers of all time. Considering that I love this sport, I also have great admiration and respect for those who play the game, especially at an elite level. Perhaps one would easily give into temptation to punch Alex Rodriguez in the face due to the extraordinary ease it takes to dislike him, but I simply can’t deny his accomplishments in the game. Quite frankly I am still in awe whenever I see highlights of his epic postseason in 2009. I may not respect his character, but I respect him as a player.
That’s why I feel pity for the man when he finally hit rock bottom as the Player’s union sought to kick him out allegedly with near unanimous approval, legal implications be damned as far as they are concerned. The MLB’s witch hunt to protect its image in the wake of the Biogenesis scandal, the general media and Baseball medias’ shameful reporting of notes that should have legally been kept confidential, and the Player’s association succumbing to their own emotions regarding such an inflammatory issue has to this point utterly destroyed a career that should be greatly respected. The union lashing back at Alex Rodriguez’s lawsuit would appear to the ever-craving-for-sensationalism-eyes the final nail in the coffin.
I think the MLBPA is acting like a bunch of fools. Let’s not forget, Mr. Rodriguez, in order to take his case to federal court, was legally required to add the MLBPA as a defendant in order to fight against Bud Selig’s kangaroo court. It’s not as if he was so delusional that he thought he could seek damages from the player’s association for not putting much effort into representing him. If what is stated in Rodriguez’s lawsuit is true about the MLBPA’s conduct concerning his representation in his appeal, the MLBPA deserves heaps of shame for the potential damage done not only to Alex, but to all the players that the MLBPA represent. At most, they do deserve a slap to the face for their actions. A great humiliation is certainly required to alert the MLBPA to act in protection of the players’ interests that have been certainly trampled on in this farce.
I completely understand that the Players want to make it open season on A-Rod when he ultimately returns to the diamond. However, let’s use some common sense here; believe it or not this guy is trying to defend the rights of the players. I don’t believe Alex Rodriguez is completely innocent, but the MLB’s conduct in this situation has been that of a thug and a bully; conduct that has clearly breached the CBA and the JDA, and is clearly criminal, having obstructed investigations by the State of Florida and potentially obstructing federal investigations into Anthony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic. Perhaps standing against the Yankee’s third baseman was the media-savvy thing to do in order to obtain good PR. But it set a dangerous precedent when it allowed the Commissioner and the MLB to violate Mr. Rodriguez’s and his arbitration hearing’s rights to confidentiality repeatedly. They allowed the MLB to hand down an unprecedented punishment that does not adhere to either the Collective Bargaining Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement based on shoddy circumstantial evidence that any second rate novice lawyer could easily have thrown out in an actual court of law. If the PA refuses to protect Rodriguez on these matters, then they have essentially allowed the genesis of a precedent that gives the office of MLB the ability to run roughshod over the CBA and harm its own image via shady and potentially criminal practices in order to punish those they subjectively deemed needed to be punishment "for the integrity of the game."
I refuse to believe for a moment that any side in this is an angel. But let it be clear, the victimizing of Alex Rodriguez is unwarranted. It is not based on any credible evidence, but vivid narratives founded on shoddy evidence. This whole situation has created a dangerous environment for the players and could end up having legal ramifications for baseball that could likely hurt its image worse than the strike of 1994. And unlike then, such legal matters could scar it for good. Baseball doesn't need this. Baseball doesn't need Bud Selig going on witch hunts to protect the public image of baseball that he allowed to be hurt by overlooking the use of substances that have been identified as ‘performance enhancing.’ We don’t need Alex Rodriguez suing everyone, and subsequently making a mockery of the sport, because his rights outlined by the CBA have been blatantly been infringed upon. Shame on everyone.
The worst of this all is that the damage has been done. Alex Rodriguez is now a villain. The hopelessly inept and agenda-driven BWAA will never allow him into the Hall of Fame. Unlike players such as Barry Bonds, who will be remembered for their accomplishments, Alex Rodriguez will only be wrongfully remembered as the man who tried to destroy baseball. His amazing accomplishments will be forgotten and never given the respect they deserve.
‘Tis truly a wonder the havoc that the destructive forces of anger and blind, irrational hatred can wreak on the poor souls who have incurred their wrath. There are very few individuals who truly deserve this, but Alex is not one of them. I leave you with a tidbit of Rodriguez’s career, something I hope we can give proper respect for.