By Steve Kallas
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After two days of the Alex Rodriguez hearing, as he appeals his 211-game suspension, much has happened both inside and outside the arbitration, which is taking place at 245 Park Ave. (Major League Baseball headquarters) in the heart of midtown Manhattan.
INSIDE THE ARBITRATION
While information is hard to come by, it is clear that MLB is putting on its case-in- chief before the three-arbitrator panel (Fredric Horowitz is the independent arbitrator but MLB and the Players Association each have an appointed arbitrator as well on the panel). According to the Daily News I-Team, which has been on this case since before Day 1, Anthony Bosch, the Biogenesis owner and key witness, entered 245 Park Ave. at 3:15 Monday afternoon and testified on Tuesday as well.
According to the News, Bosch was supposed to have testified about supplying and administering banned drugs to A-Rod and was also supposed to identify an “insurmountable mountain of evidence” (according to The News and “baseball insiders”) that shows A-Rod violated MLB’s drug program in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
A-Rod’s legal team was to have cross-examined Bosch on Tuesday. It wasn’t clear, as of 6:10 p.m. Tuesday when A-Rod left the building to wild cheers (more on that below), whether Bosch had finished testifying.
While a big part of the case, according to many “experts,” is how badly A-Rod’s lawyers can destroy the credibility of Tony Bosch, it says here that the content of the documents is more important. For example, if there really are damaging (to A-Rod) text messages and/or e-mails from A-Rod to Bosch and vice-versa, and these are authenticated by Bosch (or somebody else?) well, the arbitrator can consider this even if Bosch isn’t the perfect witness.
This is not a trial; it’s an arbitration. That means that the arbitrator can consider these documents and give whatever weight he wants to them. If Bosch is not credible, it does not necessarily follow that the documents will not be considered by the arbitrator. And, if someone else can authenticate them, then they may be given more weight even if the arbitrator doesn’t believe Bosch is that credible.
It says here that MLB should be able to establish that A-Rod did use performance-enhancing drugs in 2010, 2011 and 2012 (keep in mind that we, the general public, have not been allowed to see these documents because of the non-public nature of the arbitration). The real battle will be over the never-seen-before 211-game suspension, which seems far out of line to this writer.
The number of games (211) seems arbitrary to this writer – the rest of the 2013 season (at the time A-Rod gave notice of his appeal) plus all of the 2014 season.
WHY MIGHT MELKY CABRERA BE IMPORTANT TO THE A-ROD DEFENSE?
Well, you’ve heard a lot about the fact that MLB is trying to whack A-Rod with extra games because he tried to “obstruct” the investigation. But Cabrera, who served his 50-game Biogenesis-related suspension last season (and baseball announced that’s why he and Bartolo Colon did not get additional suspensions this year), clearly tried to obstruct baseball’s investigation last year (remember the whole embarrassing creation of a website that tried to sway MLB that it wasn’t Melky’s fault; that ruse was discovered in about 10 minutes by MLB investigators).
How many extra games did Melky Cabrera get for his “obstruction?”
Yeah, that’s right, zero.
And it’s unclear (although some have said it’s so) whether Ryan Braun obstructed MLB’s investigation when his lawyers “killed the messenger,” the poor urine collector, when Braun originally “beat the rap.” Maybe that’s why he agreed to 65-games (did he get 15 more for obstruction? We don’t know).
The point here is that A-Rod, to this writer/attorney, has a great defense because we know that Melky Cabrera tried to obstruct MLB’s investigation and still got the first offense 50-game suspension for his Biogenesis connection.
It says here that this will only help A-Rod before the arbitrator.
OUTSIDE THE ARBITRATION
Well, in the public view, in the middle of Manhattan, it’s been a very interesting two days outside of 245 Park Ave. In the mornings, there have been a few A-Rod supporters waving American and Dominican flags and wearing A-Rod #13 jerseys and chanting “A-Rod, A-Rod.”
In the afternoons, it really has been two different reactions on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, there were a dozen or so cameramen and about 10 media people hopefully looking for quotes. There were only a few A-Rod supporters and, when A-Rod and his legal team left the building just before 6 p.m., there was a wave of cameramen, reporters, etc. trying to get to A-Rod. He and his team had virtually nothing to say and were literally whisked away within 20 seconds of coming out of the building.
Tuesday was quite different. Only a few photographers and reporters (no more than 10 combined) were waiting for A-Rod. But there was a very strong A-Rod support group, about 90-100 people, who had signs, flags, chants and A-Rod jerseys. In fact, there were so many of them that they were forced behind police barricades away from the building, apparently so as not to block the busy sidewalk in front of the building (5-6 p.m. on Park Avenue a few blocks north of Grand Central Station on a weekday is a very busy time). Indeed, there were also police barricades put on the promenade leading up to the building, separating the building entrance from the sidewalk (none of these barricades were in use on Monday afternoon).
When A-Rod and his legal team came out a little after 6 p.m., there was pandemonium. You knew A-Rod wasn’t going to be whisked away quickly into his waiting black Lincoln Navigator. He first stopped behind the barriers on the promenade as his fans rushed forward, shaking hands with them. When he tried to leave, after a couple of minutes of shaking hands and signing a few autographs, he went in front of the barricades with a police escort, but was engulfed by well-wishers. It was a madhouse, with everyone trying to touch, speak to, or get a picture of, A-Rod. This writer was in the middle of it and it was a little crazy.
A-Rod then paused for more pictures and was smiling all the time. As opposed to the 20-second exit of Monday, this was a seven- or eight-minute A-Rod rally on Tuesday afternoon/evening.
WHAT ABOUT THE SIGNS AND THE SUPPORTERS?
Nelson Julior, who was organizing the A-Rod supporters, told WFAN that “we are all here to support A-Rod.” He also told WFAN that, beginning on Wednesday, there will be hundreds, “maybe a thousand,” A-Rod supporters in front of 245 Park Avenue. That could very well lead to some police issues as the area doesn’t seem to be conducive to having that kind of crowd during either the morning and evening rush hour on Park Avenue in Manhattan.
The A-Rod supporters came with many signs supporting A-Rod and heavily criticizing the powers-that-be in baseball. Here’s what a few of them said: “Randy Levine, Bud Selig, Resign Now,” “Latinos Stick Together,” “MLB Called Tony Bosch a Liar, Now They Call Him A Witness,” “Randy Levine is The Devil,” and “In The ‘90s Bud Selig Was A Steroids Lover.”
Well, you know whose side they are on.
The arbitration continues on Wednesday morning.
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