As the 2013 World Series winds down and the victorious Boston Red Sox continue to celebrate their exciting win, another well-known baseball player is hoping for a victory of a different kind. The arbitration case between Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball has begun, and it seems both sides are firm in their positions. Out of all the players who received suspensions from Major League Baseball over the Biogenesis doping scandal, only New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez appealed. He was facing down a 211 game suspension for his alleged part in the Biogenesis case, the toughest punishment handed down by MLB for any player involved in the investigation. The MLB maintains that Rodriguez tried to obstruct their investigation into his use of performance enhancers, including HGH, while Rodriguez, through his attorney Joe Tacopina, stands firm that he did not do drugs and did not block the investigation. During the start of the arbitration case, it looks as though this might turn into a heated he said/he said situation.
In fact, A-Rod’s attorney has already been angry enough to almost come to blows with the lawyers representing Tony Bosch, who was the founder of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic and allegedly supplied illegal performance enhancer cocktails to Rodriguez and other major leaguers. At the start of the hearings, it was Bosch who was put on the stand and it seems he had a lot to say. When Tacopina learned druing a break in the testimony that Bosch may have a few more hours to a whole day on the stand, things got ugly between Tacopina and Bosch’s lawyer Julio Ayala. Tacopina made derogatory statements about Ayala’s wife, also representing Bosch, and alleged that a criminal investigation into Bosch would land the beleagured former businessman in jail. Even though it seemed a physical altercation was imminent, with Tacopina lunging at Ayala, both men were restrained and the next day Tacopina apologized.
In the latest round of hearings, it’s Rodriguez and Major League Baseball who are getting heated. The MLB spent $125,000 to purchase evidence against A-Rod to help their case, a move they feel okay with despite the fact that the documents they purchased were stolen from Bosch. In fact, the entire transaction reads like a gritty crime novel: the MLB’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred testifies that they made two cash payments to Biogenesis for the documents, which turned out to be stolen from Biogenesis founder Bosch. In a lawsuit he brought against his employer, Major League Baseball, Rodriguez states that the cash was handed off in a bag at a meetup in a Florida restaurant. MLB alleges that there’s more evidence against A-Rod that the player purchased himself for over $300,000 intentionally to hurt the MLB investigation, a claim A-Rod denies.
It may take a while to untangle the whole story here and wade through the accusations, alleged misdeeds, and indignent anger on both sides of the table, but the fact remains that the entire scandal came about because someone down the line did wrong. Was it Bosch, who provided illegal drugs to players? Was it A-Rod, who violated the MLB players agreement if he did in fact use drugs, and then further seal his fate by purchasing evidence, and then leaking it to Yahoo Sports to implicate Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli? Or was it Major League Baseball itself, seeking to make an example out of a superstar player in the hopes that it would help clean up the rampant doping that was allegedly going on?
It seems the only course is to let the story play out in court and hope that the arbitrators can dig through the real evidence to locate the truth.