Alex Rodriguez ensured the saga over baseball's longest drug-related suspension will go into extra innings, filing suit in U.S. District Court on Monday in an attempt to overturn the 162-game suspension he received for using banned substances and obstructing Major League Baseball's investigation.
While most experts insist Rodriguez has little chance of getting arbitrator Fredric Horowitz's decision vacated, the show must go on for A-Rod, even if it's in a courtroom instead of on a baseball field.
At this point, we only can hope Rodriguez fulfills his promise to attend spring training in Tampa, Fla., stretching, spitting and stealing the TV spotlight from new Yankees stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. The game's biggest unreality star would automatically become the most talked-about story of the spring, rivaling the "Duck Dynasty" boys and the Kardashians for best unscripted comedy performance.
Rodriguez's magical mystery tour already has given us too many precious moments to count.
First, Rodriguez stormed out of his arbitration hearing last month, claiming the deck was stacked against him when Horowitz wouldn't force Commissioner Bud Selig to testify. His accuser, drug dispenser-turned-MLB witness Tony Bosch, then told "60 Minutes" he not only shot up Rodriguez in a bathroom stall of a nightclub but feared for his life because of unspecified threats by Rodriguez's camp.
Topping it off, Selig, entering his final year as commissioner, came out of hiding for a cameo on "60 Minutes" in what Rodriguez's suit alleges was a "carefully orchestrated smear campaign" against him.
Rodriguez claims he's clean, and he did pass 11 random drugs tests while allegedly taking performance-enhancing substances from 2010 through 2012, according to Horowitz's ruling. Even so, Horowitz believed Bosch's testimony that Rodriguez used testosterone, human growth hormone and Insulin-like growth factor-1 was convincing enough to result in the record suspension, a reduction from MLB's original 211-game penalty.
"The assertion that Rodriguez would have failed those tests had he consumed those PES as alleged is not persuasive," Horowitz wrote. "As advanced as MLB's program has become, no drug-testing program will catch every player. ... While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed."
According to Bosch's interview with "60 Minutes," Rodriguez was told what time he could take the PEDs, which they referred to as "gummies," before games to ensure he would pass a urine test afterward. The idea of A-Rod in a dugout eating something resembling a gummy bear to gain super-human strength is theater of the absurd but believable in this day and age.
The other party involved is the Major League Baseball Players Association, which found itself in the position of defending a player against MLB's actions while the player's attorneys, in turn, were blaming them for failing to "protect (Rodriguez's) rights."
The players union sent out a release Sunday criticizing MLB for having Selig and Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred appear on "60 Minutes" and "authorizing" Bosch to appear on the show, calling it "unfortunate" that MLB "could not resist the temptation to publicly pile on against Alex Rodriguez."
On Monday, the MLBPA was called out in A-Rod's suit for "failing to intervene" to stop leaks and "making public statements to the media declaring Mr. Rodriguez's guilt and stating that he should accept a suspension."
Perhaps the player reps should hold a conference call and select a spokesman who can express their true feelings on A-Rod without the legalese preferred by their union.
The only real choice for that job, of course, is Ryan Dempster.
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