Alex Rodriguez is currently in the fight of his life. For the entire week, he was in a closed meeting in New York with his band of lawyers and with Major League Baseball on the other side. MLB is trying to convince a three-member arbitration panel that Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension from baseball should be upheld. Rodriguez’s team is valiantly fighting back.
Rodriguez, suspended for violating the league’s joint drug agreement and collective bargaining agreement for his reported involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, is fighting back outside of the arbitration process as well.
On Thursday, he filed a lawsuit against MLB and commissioner Bud Selig, saying that Selig and MLB acted improperly in building a case against Rodriguez by intimidating witnesses, paying Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch $5 million for his testimony, all for the sake of taking Rodriguez down.
MLB immediately issued a statement in defense of their investigation of Rodriguez.
"While we vehemently deny the allegations in the complaint, none of those allegations is relevant to the real issue: whether Mr. Rodriguez violated the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by using and possessing numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years and whether he violated the Basic Agreement by attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation."
If Rodriguez’s attorneys are to be believed, MLB clearly acted in ways that would seem to be well over the top in terms of aggressively seeking evidence.
But that wasn’t the only proverbial shoe to drop.
On Friday, a second lawsuit was filed, this one against the New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad. That suit alleges that Ahmad failed to reveal to Rodriguez the results of an MRI of his left hip that was eventually operated on in January.
The MRI results show that Rodriguez had a superior labral tear at the left hip. Ahmad reportedly never told Rodriguez about it, but cleared him to continue playing for the Yankees during the playoffs last year. A clearly ailing Rodriguez finished the postseason batting just .120 (3-for-25) as the Yankees were eliminated by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.
Rodriguez’s attorneys claim that "A-Rod sustained great pain, agony, injury, suffering disability, hospitalization, as well as mental anguish and emotional distress."
Interestingly enough, the Yankees themselves were not named as defendants in either lawsuit.
Rodriguez is without question grasping at straws in a desperate attempt to save whatever is left of his baseball legacy. He’s currently the active home run leader who still have over $100 owed to him on his contract. He stands to lose close to $33 million of that money if his 211-game suspension is upheld.
Sadly, the fans of baseball will have to endure legal wrangling by A-Rod’s team long after arbiter Fredric Horowitz makes a decision on A-Rod’s suspension, a ruling expected to be handed down sometime before winter.
The mudslinging has clearly just begun.
Is it possible that MLB went overboard in their vigorous attempt to bring justice? Absolutely, but they obviously believe that Rodriguez has been doping for years and are doing everything they can to see that the proper punishment is carried out.
Is it also possible that Ahmad knowingly held back information from A-Rod about his diagnosis, and that he was improperly diagnosed by the hospital? Absolutely. But again, on its face it simply looks like Rodriguez is fighting back with lawsuits just to save face.
The court of public opinion has weighed in already on Rodriguez and his PED history. In all probability he will never even sniff the doors of Cooperstown in his Hall of Fame bid.
This is all about money and saving face. And Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to save a little bit of both.