By Steve Kallas
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Alex Rodriguez and his band of lawyers returned to 245 Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday morning to resume his arbitration appealing his 211-game suspension by Major League Baseball. Another all-day affair concluded with A-Rod coming out of the building at 6:10 and doing his now-familiar walk in front of about 60-75 supporters, signing autographs and posing for pictures.
The supporters sported new signs in support of A-Rod, including at least one new one with vicious content — it read “Bud Selig is a Child Killer.” Free speech reigns supreme outside 245 Park Avenue.
What’s going on inside is very interesting. (Arbitration hearings, in present-day America, are closed to the public and the media. On Wednesday, according to the New York Daily News, MLB introduced drug experts and other witnesses to corroborate the previous testimony of Anthony Bosch with respect to A-Rod’s connection to performance-enhancing drugs through Bosch’s former company, Biogenesis of America.
ARBITRATOR ROB MANFRED EXPECTED TO TESTIFY ON THURSDAY
Next up for MLB is expected to be Rob Manfred, who not only is MLB’s Chief Operating Officer, but is also is a member of the three-man arbitration panel which is hearing this case. The fact that a member of the panel is stepping down from the panel to actually give testimony — apparently as to MLB’s conduct during the A-Rod investigation and other matters — and then returning to the arbitration panel is unusual, to say the least. For example, does he have to judge his own credibility?Hopefully you understand the absurdity of that). It smacks to this attorney/writer as something that is full of inherent conflicts, to say the least.
While it has been reported that this happens in baseball arbitrations and also that, apparently, Manfred was on the witness list given to the A-Rod legal team, it will be interesting to see if A-Rod’s lawyers object to allowing Manfred to testify. This — a member of a judicial-like panel stepping off the panel to testify in a case and then returning to the panel — could never happen in a court of law.
Arbitrations have much more lenient standards of admitting evidence and, generally speaking, the MLB representative votes for MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association representative votes for the player. But it says here that a federal judge — if A-Rod is unhappy with the decision of the arbitrator and decides to try to overturn it in a federal court down the road — would, at a minimum, frown upon such a process.
Three lawyers, including one who is an arbitrator, who were asked about this strange procedure all found it bizarre. One, in fact, said that it goes against the basic tenets of the American legal system.
This may be a fascinating part of a potential appeal to a federal judge, if A-Rod is unhappy with the result.
The arbitration resumes on Thursday morning.
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