When Alex Rodriguez (and his management team) made the decision to appeal his 211-game suspension following the summer 2013 Biogenesis doping scandal, they probably didn’t expect each moment of the hearings to be scrutinized, reported on, and dissected. But with such dramatic events unfolding at each turn – Illness! Lawyer fights! Heated Accusations! – the media and the public have more than enough fuel to stoke the ongoing scandal’s fire. The latest development in the hearings involving A-Rod and Major League Baseball occurred during Wednesday’s session with arbitrator Frederic Horowitz, after he made a ruling that definitely rubbed the New York Yankees third baseman the wrong way.
The hearings have been fraught with dramatic turns and heated tempers since they began. First, Rodriguez’ lawyer, Joe Tacopina, traded words with Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch’s lawyer, Julio Ayala, and even disparaged Ayala’s wife, although Tacopina later apologized. Next, A-Rod and Major League Baseball traded accusations that each side purchased evidence to either help their case (MLB) or hide evidence (A-Rod). Both actually admitted to shelling out major cash to help their side of the case. Major League Baseball spent $125,000 to purchase documents which may have been stolen from Bosch. Sources close to the hearings revealed the week of October 18 that Alex Rozriguez confirmed during that week’s testimony that he paid $305,000 for videotapes, documents, and affidavits that might incriminate him during the MLB investigation of doping.
All this occurred before Wednesday’s dramatic turn of events, when Alex Rodriguez abruptly left the scheduled hearing after laying some choice words on arbitrator Frederic Horowitz and baseball COO Rob Manfred. What set A-Rod off so much that he reportedly pounded a fist on the table and shouted “This is ridiculous!” It was learning that Horowitz ruled it was not necessary for MLB commissioner Bud Selig to testify. After his dramatic outburst, and before storming out of the hearing, Rodriguez promised that he would not return to the arbitration hearings on the grounds that the entire process was biased against him.
Interestingly, never has Rodriguez denied using the performance enhancing drugs he is being accused of taking from Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic, nor does he deny ties to the anti-aging clinic. Rather, it seems A-Rod’s beef is with the portrayal of him and the New York Yankees and the MLB’s alleged conspiracy to target him for their own gains, an allegation that Yankees president Randy Levine has specifically denied in the hearings.
Alex Rodriguez does not need to attend the hearings in order for them to continue. So, if he sticks to his word to not return (which he has so far), it seems his appeal of the suspension for using banned performance enhancing drugs will be decided without him.