Add another chapter to the Alex Rodriguez saga: while a closed-door hearing to decide the fate of Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension is underway, the superstar-turned-defendant has filed two lawsuits in New York State Supreme court.
The first lawsuit is against the MLB and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who, in the mind of Rodriguez “have improperly marshaled evidence that they hope to use to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez,” according to ESPN.com.
The second is against Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad and alleges malpractice for misdiagnosing his left hip injury during the 2012 playoffs, citing that Ahmad failed to show Rodriguez an MRI of his hip.
The MLB offered a statement on the matter, saying, “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 over a large span of time.”
Rodriguez’s suspension is one of 14 that came in August by the MLB for those allegedly involved in PED dealings with Anthony Bosch and Biogenesis. The other 13, including 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun, have all accepted their suspensions. Rodriguez, on the other hand, seems to have his crosshairs set on Bud Selig in particular.
The initial lawsuit accuses Selig of presiding over a term of tyranny in the MLB, allowing and using the proliferation of PEDs to make the game more interesting and improperly using media outlets like the ‘Today’ show to press their case against Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is the man we all love to hate: he became the most well-paid athlete in professional sports in 2000, has pulled a number of Bush-League stunts on the field (including slapping away an attempted tag), got caught with a stripper while married, tested positive for steroids multiple times and allegedly has two paintings of himself as a centaur over his bed.
All centaurs aside, there seems to be nothing more than a kernel of validity to the lawsuit in itself. Instead of waiting and presenting their case during the arbitration hearing for his PED suspension, Rodriguez and his team of lawyers chose now to sue on the same material and in a different place. Why exactly they chose to do this is not as much a mystery as Rodriguez’s lawyers may want you to believe: Rodriguez is starting a war against Selig and the MLB.
Rodriguez is sending clear signals that, with this upcoming lawsuit, he is abandoning any hope of reaching a settlement with the MLB. Rather, now it’s an attempt to expose and embarrass whatever it is exactly Major League Baseball does behind closed doors.
As the war begins, it forces fans like myself to choose whether we side with the likes of Rodriguez and Braun, or whether we make camp on Bud Selig’s side of things. The answer seems immediately obvious: Rodriguez is tainting the game, showcasing it a lack of respect that has never before been seen. We’ve no choice, then, but to side with Selig. Right? Wrong.
Since Selig took over as MLB commissioner in 1992, baseball has arguably entered its darkest hour. The most noteworthy trend of Selig’s tenure as commissioner thus far has been his continued commitment and continued failure to rid baseball of PEDs. Selig has said multiple times that lack of PEDs was his primary goal as commissioner, dating back to the home run battles between McGwire and Sosa in the late 90’s. Selig’s first action against PEDs was not until the 2004 season, and the punishment was light, even nonexistent for first time offenders. It was not until 2007, when the world-renowned Mitchell Report came out, that the first dent was made in PED use.
The Mitchell Report was a report governed by Selig and run by appointing Sen. George Mitchell to “study” the use of PEDs in the game. The report was a clear witch-hunt and the wide publicity shamed some athletes into remission, or at least further into hiding.
The Mitchell Report was the first splash made in terms of publicizing and punishing PED use but the ripples have long since died out and PED use is far from dead. Big names pop up every year (A-Rod, Ryan Braun and Melky Cabrera are just a few of the larger ones from the 2012-2013 season alone) and Selig can’t seem to do anything about it.
Players have always known that, should they get caught, if they just grit their teeth, apologize and accept their suspension, they’ll come out on the other side having lost very little. And now, with this upcoming lawsuit, we’ll find out just how dirty the MLB and Selig have been playing just to get those suspensions.
It’s with that in mind that I find myself on Alex Rodriguez’s side in this lawsuit. And it’s not because I love A-Rod; in fact, I strongly dislike him. It’s because I love what baseball used to be.
Baseball has not been changing for the better since Selig took office. He and his administration have caused Armando Galarraga to lose his perfect game due to stubbornness on Instant Replay, (a rule Selig created), allowed a 7-7 tie in an All-Star game (a game that determines who hosts the World Series), cancelled the 1994 World Series due to an MLB strike he allowed (which in itself nearly killed baseball) and ruled with a meek fist in an era that needs someone stronger. Not to mention that he gets paid over $14 million to do it all.
I hope for an A-Rod victory not so he can stuff more money in his bloated pockets, not so he can come back to the game and not even so he can clear his name. I simply hope for closure in what has been the worst 20 years of baseball since its acceptance into mainstream American culture. To solve the problems baseball has been having, we need a new paradigm for the game. And new paradigms don’t start with old leaders. It’s time for Selig to go; the integrity of the game of baseball clings to a thread, and we need a new leader to bring it back.