After the events of this weekend, we might all wonder if the truth about the Alex Rodriguez saga will ever come out as this story has taken more turns than a country road. This much we know--the story is far from over.
This past weekend, Major League Baseball decided they would limit the suspension to 162 games--still an unprecendeted number of games when you consider Ryan Braun got just 65 games for failing a drug test AND lying about it so much to the point he poked holes in the testing process that MLB endorses. In fairness to the arbiter, we have not seen all of the evidence and after hearing from a chief witness for MLB on 60 Minutes last night, my hope is all of the testimony becomes public so we can really evaluate it.
But we must not forget one huge by-product of all this--the organization that benefits the most out of this is the New York Yankees who now get the option to go under the $189 Million dollar ceiling that will save them millions of dollars in terms of luxury tax thresholds--not only in this coming year but in future years as well. That is because once the Yankees go under that number, they would become a one-time offender the next time they eclipse that dollar level severely lessening future luxury tax payments.
So you see the rich just get richer. But more importantly, Major League Baseball gets to set an example even though they turned their backs on this problem (as we all did including myself as a reporter) when the long ball helped bring fans back to a sport that missed the 1994 World series simply because of owner's greed. Much like Babe Ruth saved the game after the Black Sox scandal in the early 192o's, Sosa, Bonds, and McGwire saved the sport in the mid 90's.
And for everyone in MLB to ignore that, is just flat out wrong. But lets stick to the A-Rod case. His problems started back in 2009 when it was leaked to the media that he failed what was supposed to be an anonymous drug test merely being used to quantify the issue in terms of numbers but was never to be used to identify individual test results. Yet, A-Rod's name leaked out and MLB never has to bear the brunt of that mistake--only A-Rod did.
I'm not a lawyer but who bears the legal responsibility for that huge mistake? Now, don't get me wrong--if A-Rod used steroids as has been reported he deserved a suspension and if it was deemed he tried to cover up the investigation then he deserved more than 50 games. I certainly think no more the Braun's 65 but lets say you wanted to make a point--100 games would have been just fine.
But 100 games would have hurt the Yankees because they would have had to pay a much bigger portion of his salary lessening the economic benefit for the team. And to me the Braun story deserved far more scrutiny than he got. He actually failed a test (which A-Rod still has not done since CBA agreement), lied to the public and MLB, disparaged the testing process and only gets 15 games more than the other offenders. That needs to be explained by Bud Selig.
Ironically, I believe MLB is opening up a huge can of worms here. A-Rod will take this to federal court and many lawyers I speak to feel that he has little chance of reversing the arbiter's decision. But once that comes to fruition A-Rod might take this public and who knows? He may start to leak names of others he knows about just as Jose Canseco did. He may go to Spring Training (which he can do) and hold court with a media group that would love him to write their stories in spring training when storylines become dull after 3 days.
My first question to A-Rod might be if he did take PED's do he do it in the Yankee dugout or clubhouse as we heard on 60 Minutes last night? If he did, what Yankee employees knew? Other players? Trainers? Coaches? Did he coax Melky Cabrera into taking them? Other players on Yankees or other teams? Did anyone in Yankee organization ever approach him about those rumors?
After all, this Yankee clubhouse in years A-Rod wore pinstripes were filled with steroid users--Cabrera, Pettitte, Clemens just to name a few. I can tell you from covering the Yankees that there is very little that goes in that stadium they are not aware of. They basically know where EVERY reporter is allowed and you mean to tell me nobody knew about any of this.
I am not saying any of this to defend A-Rod's alleged actions and him refusing to testify does cast doubt on his defense but I'd also like to hear testimony from Bud Selig and Yankee brass including Randy Levine who seems to always say more than he is supposed to say.
But what do we hear today from the media? It is a great day for MLB but in reality it is not. This proves that testing process has holes in it so deep you can ride a steroid truck through them. Not many of the Biogenesis clients failed a test and that PED provider insisted last night there are ironclad ways to beat testing. MLB found out about all of this not through a test but a story leaked to the media much like we found out about A-Rod in 2009.
And that leaking will continue. Mark my words--some media member will get more names leaked to them from unnamed sources in the next 12 months and that is the only way we will find out. The testing process is still light years behind the offenders. Even MLB's prime witness said on 60 Minutes last night PED's are part of the game and inferred they always will be a part of the game.
Because remember as MLB commercials said in mid 90's "Chicks dig the long ball." Apparently so do MLB General Managers who still dish out long term contracts to known PED offenders. Like I said, this A-Rod story is far from over.