162 games. I can safely say that I am surprised by this verdict of suspending Alex Rodriguez for a whole season. As I have said before, I lean slightly Team A-Rod, so I guess I am biased against this, but there are so many questions I still have:
Question #1: Why can’t we see the evidence used in the hearing and why isn’t the arbitrator forced to show it? Whenever the Supreme Court hands down a ruling, they must present a written-out verdict, explaining why they ruled a certain way. I want to see exactly what the arbitrator saw, just so I can have some clarity on the matter. I want to see what evidence he saw. If we had more information, maybe the suspension would seem more reasonable, but for what it’s worth, given the evidence we as a public have received, 162 games seems a bit excessive. This process probably was never meant to be transparent, but I think it would be good if it were, at least a little more.
Question #2: Why didn’t Bud Selig testify at the trial? We, as a country, have granted defendants the right to face their accuser. A-Rod did not get this. He was right to be upset and even said himself that he wanted to face the man who was trying to further run his career into the ground (more so than A-Rod has already done to himself). If you are going to hand down a much larger suspension to one player than all of the other players, I think you need to get up there and explain this. If Selig was forced to testify, A-Rod should testify, too.
Question #3: What are the Yankees going to now? There are still a lot of loose ends here. Obviously, they will have quite a chunk of money to spend, to go after players that will produce more and make them a much stronger team to go all-in on Tanaka. The off-season has been good to New York and they have signed a bunch of great offensive talent, all of whom would probably produce more than A-Rod. New York is coming out of this in a relatively scoff-free manor. The Yankees are probably pleased with the verdict, as they should be. With A-Rod still fighting a legal fight, they will be in limbo for a while, but now they have more flexibility. But remember, he is under contract through 2017.
Question #4: Why wasn’t there such a “witch hunt” when people like Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire were playing? I have no answer to this one, but it troubles me to see MLB glance over this era and then come down so hard on a single player. Because they didn’t do anything about the PED issue then, why on earth are they doing something now? Bonds and McGuire filled seats and McGuire and Sosa’s epic homerun battle entranced everyone. Was that why nothing was done? I dunno. I honestly have no idea what the logic behind all of this is, but I do know that something is very wrong.
Question #5: Why was A-Rod specifically targeted? Again, I have no idea. Unless I can see the documents that were specifically in the hearing, I don’t think anyone ever will. It’s not fair to A-Rod to be targeted in such a way.
Question #6: What should A-Rod do now? Well, he says he will keep fighting. His chances of succeeding in a federal court are slim to none, at best. Would he fare better in front of a jury? It’s anyone’s guess. Should he gamble on it? Should he just accept his suspension? It’s all a mess. A big, big mess. No one can sort it out except for him. Will it be worth it to spend millions of his own money to fight this? I wouldn’t, but I’m not Alex Rodriguez. He no longer has the Union behind him, but I highly doubt that will stop him.
Question #7: What’s his legacy? Beats the hell out of me. We cannot discount all the amazing feats he accomplished. If we still hold Bonds’ records in account, we cannot just throw away A-Rod’s. Will he be in the Hall of Fame? Probably not. Should he be? I’m not sure. His skill is incomparable, or at least, was incomparable.
So, if A-Rod cheated, he should be punished, no question. But with no documents released confirming that he did, I’m stuck. It’s widely known that he did not test positive for PEDs. Let’s face it: this whole thing a mess. MLB is saying one thing, players are saying one thing, writers are saying thing, the fans are saying one thing, and A-Rod is saying one thing. It’s a crazy, crazy mess and I have a feeling it won’t be sorted out any time soon. I can’t say what the next moves should be, but I will say that I truly believe he was unfairly targeted and made out to be an example. I hope I see him in pinstripes this year, but it’s starting to look like that’s just not going to happen. I am accepting that and looking to the future, but it’s hard to say if A-Rod will do the same.
I’m not going to sit here and say A-Rod is not guilty in any of this. It’s clear he has made some bad choices in this whole ordeal, but someone has to play devil’s advocate here. I’ll play devil’s advocate because I am not convinced justice has been done. MLB is guilty. A-Rod is probably guilty of something. There are really no winners here, except MLB’s drug eradication program.