Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz came to this decision because Selig has never testified in a drug appeal’s hearing before.
ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor reported that a person familiar with the case claimed, “But if Bud testified here, he’d be called into every drug case that followed.”
Ok, so the Commissioner doing a live Q & A is not the normal protocol in drug appeals, I get it.
But in A-Rod’s defense, MLB’s Joint Drug Agreement states:
A player who tests positive for a Performance Enhancing Substance, or otherwise violates the Program through the use of possession of a Performance Enhancing Substance, will be subject to the discipline set forth below.
1. First violation: 50-game suspension;
2. Second violation: 100-game-suspension; and
3. Third violation: Permanent suspension from Major League and Minor League Baseball.
Selig suspended A-Rod for 211-games claiming that he violated the joint drug agreement in his connections with Biogenesis of America a Florida anti-aging clinic that distributed banned performance-enhancing drugs, as well as attempting to obstruct the Commissioner’s Office investigation.
Brewers Ryan Braun, who failed a drug test for steroids, denied it and found a loophole to get out of any suspension was punished with a 65-game ban.
Not to mention that there were 12 other players, along with A-Rod named in the Biogenesis case and each of them received and accepted a 50-game suspension last August.
The 211-game suspension is the longest non-lifetime suspension MLB has ever imposed, and seemed harsh from the get-go, considering that A-Rod did not fail any drug tests.
Following the suspension, the late player’s union head Michael Weiner, God rest his soul, immediately acknowledged that Selig’s verdict was irrational.
“For the player appealing, Alex Rodriguez, we agree with his decision to fight his suspension. We believe that the commissioner has not acted appropriately … The union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.”
Following the suspension announcement, Bob Nightingale of USA Today wrote an article in which Selig defended his decision. The Commissioner stated:
“All this business about personal likes and dislikes is just nonsense. You do what you think is in the best interest of the sport, based on the evidence that you have.”
So was not testifying, and basically warranting A-Rod’s dramatic exit good for baseball in Selig’s opinion?
If Selig had decided to testify, and not hide behind convention this soap opera could have been finished because A-Rod would have had to take MLB’s witness stand as well.
The bottom line is when the punishment does not fit the crime an explanation from the giver is not unreasonable but merited.
My goodness, who knew MLB was running a small government over on Park Avenue.