I am no friend of A-rod. I also have detest how hard it is for baseball contracts to be voided based on the behavior of players. Simply put, the "value" ascribed from a player is based largely upon skill and public discourse. Think I'm kidding see what happened to Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong on the endorsement side (where actions outside of the golf course did matter...at least for some time).
That said: I am beginning to wonder if MLB's case is not as strong. At a minimum I am beginning to question their competence.
Which brings me to the Dempster hitting A-rod. MLB has established precedent that where a pitcher attempts to hit a player (as was clearly the case here) of 10 days suspension. Yet in this case MLB doled out a 5 game suspension which they knew was zero games based on the Boston Rotation. I suspect Joe Torre is behind this (as he has influence here)...
as an aside...I am one of the few Yankee fans who believed that after 2004, Torre should have been fired, after 2007 he should have sent the Yankees a thank you letter for offering him a one-year performance based opportunity. Had Girardi managed the Yankees from 2004 on I am convinced we would have 3 championship banners since 2003...why - because Girardi did not let the "fame" go to his head (as was the case with Torre), that and Girardi can manage a bullpen!
If I'm A-rod's lawyers, I am delighted to see MLB show a double standard here. In front of that arbitrator, I am going to demonstrate in this one small example how it has a vendetta against my client, and that any punishment being issued is based upon this same bias. Mark my words, this will be brought up by A-rods lawyers.
IN A WORD THIS WAS PLAIN STUPID!
If I were the commissioner, I would have called the discipline committee, and reiterate that any punishment sent down would have to be the same as if Mariano Rivera were hitting in an NL park and such pitcher deliberately tried to hit him (3 or 4 times).
THIS ALSO ANNOYS ME FOR ANOTHER REASON:
I want A-rod's contract to be bought out. If MLB has a strong case, specifically the corrupting influence on other players, as well as the leaking of players in the course of an investigation, this alone is significant grounds for breach of contract...combine that with some of the public discourse including the bizarre and very public assertions that the Yankees deliberately failed to disclose the seriousness of A-rods hip injuries (as well as other setbacks in his latest comeback); the Yankees have a strong case to sue for breach of contract.
If you look at past baseball contracts, where the players have lost is not based upon conduct in their everyday lives, nor is it based upon PEDs (for that the suspensions provide the relief)...where teams have been able to void contracts are actions a player may take against teammates or management.
One example involves an Ex Yankee- Shawn Chacon - Chacon got in a heated argument with Houston's GM and shoved him. No major injuries here. In the end he was released and the remainder of his $2 million contract was voided. Point being shove someone off the field, your contract is safe, do it on the field and your in trouble. Now - A-rod did not physically assault anyone on the Yankees. That said...if the Aribitrator finds that he disclosed the private medical information of other Yankees (e.g. Cervelli), and also had the corrupting influence involving other players that we have seen in the press...such actions are ON THE FIELD so to speak, and would constitute grounds for voiding his contract.
The Yankees have repeated that they want to see the process through. What they are really saying is that they will pounce at the best time, while in the interim, let A-rod's mouth and his lawyers PR games dig their own grave (in my view A-rods legal representation has been very poor; partly because the client is more about the media attention and instant gratification).
In the end MLB's pathetic response, only gives A-rod's legal team a much needed break. In my view a big one! To the extent this was guided by Torre, once again shows he was an overrated manager (a manager is a decision maker I realize I am mixing baseball and other management issues - but they do apply), who was lucky that he had a guy like Rivera, ownership (who he would later blast) who was willing to spend to win, and a core of young players which produced two first ballet Hall of Famers (Jeter and Rivera), with two others who are just misses (Pettitte and Posada), and another multi-Allstar in Bernie Williams!