It is difficult to elucidate upon my reaction to the suspension of Alex Rodriguez. It was not unexpected, and it never seemed as if anyone was terribly confident that Rodriguez would end up donning the pinstripes this season. And yet I still cannot comprehend the situation as a whole, as I still have so many questions about the suspension. What was the evidence laid before Fredric Horowitz? What was said behind closed doors? What was the relationship between Anthony Bosch and Major League Baseball? What does this mean for future breaches of the JDA? At this point, we do not know the answers to any of those questions - and I am loath to expect that 60 Minutes will provide much clarity. None of this, however, stopped Tamar Chalker and myself from discussing the matter via e-mail. So with a tip of the hat to Bill Simmons, here is a peek behind the curtain, and into the e-mail chain that serves as the staging ground for much of what you see on these pages.
Domenic: I want to write something about Rodriguez, too, but all I've got is "if there isn't substantially more evidence than what we know about, then the system has failed." We don't have enough for me to form an objective opinion. It's all bias.
Tamar: I hear you Dom. I struggle not to view it through the lens of a public defender myself - i.e. Give me some real evidence and not some claims from some guy whose credibility is worth about as much as what I clean out of my cat's litter box. Not to say ARod is any more credible, but still.
Domenic: That's been my struggle - I'm looking for legal standards, when that really isn't what happens in these hearings. This sort of "he said/she said" conflict is borderline nonsensical from that kind of perspective. You put Bosch - a scumbag that has literally been paid by MLB - in front of a judge and jury, and this suspension isn't upheld. But that's the process that was collectively bargained for. Though, I wonder how much should be made of MLB's track record with arbitrators. I mean, they clearly don't want impartial ones - after all, they fired Shyam Das shortly after he overturned the initial Braun suspension.
Tamar: Precisely. I just keep thinking back to the whole Roger Clemens trial. The longer that went on the less sure I was that he was guilty just because of how shady everyone involved was (not that I think he was innocent). They had no choice but to find him not guilty. No doubt it would be the same here if ARod was facing criminal charges. I think MLB learned their lesson and determined they can't let these things get to an actual court, they need to get the players while they are still under their power.
Domenic: I didn't even think of the Clemens trial, but you're exactly right. How in the world can you come to a well-reasoned decision when everyone has an axe to grind, and clear-cut gains to be made by "winning" the case? I do think that the JDA is going to undergo some massive changes that will allow MLB to apply sweeping suspensions like this in 2016. The MLBPA backed itself into a corner with this, and nobody wants to come out disputing the case in the future.
Tamar: Yeah, say what you want about ARod, but he (his lawyers/publicists) made some solid points about the danger of this decision and the problems with this system. Unfortunately I think players are too scared of MLB and fans hate ARod too much for people to pay much attention going it.
Domenic: I agree wholeheartedly. It's a potentially dangerous precedent, but nobody is going to fight it. Well, nobody besides Rodriguez.