Legally, Union Cannot, But It's Clear Rodriguez Has Few Supporters Left Among Players

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s literally Alex Rodriguez against the world. It appears he’s burned every last bridge he has.

According to a Yahoo! Sports report, the Major League Baseball Players Association was so incensed that A-Rod chose to sue the union following Fredric Horowitz’s arbitration ruling it held a 90-minute conference call with members to kick around the idea of kicking the beleaguered slugger out of its membership.

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Only the union didn’t because legally it couldn’t.

However, during the back and forth between the 40 or so members on the call not one player defended A-Rod, and that was quite an indictment considering union members claim they have frequent disagreements on all kinds of issues, the report said.

“That’s what everyone was thinking,” a player told Yahoo! Sports. “We wanted to get on this call and not let him back. [To say,] ‘This is our game and we don’t want you in it.'”

Back on Jan. 11, Horowitz reduced the 211-game suspension Major League Baseball had levied against Rodriguez for his role in the Biogenesis scandal to a full season — 162 games — including a postseason ban.

Rodriguez then turned around and sued both MLB and the MLBPA, claiming the union “completely abdicated its responsibility to Mr. Rodriguez to protect his rights” and “this inaction by MLBPA created a climate in which MLB felt free to trample” on Rodriguez’s confidentiality rights.

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark fired back, releasing the following statement:

“It is unfortunate that Alex Rodriguez has chosen to sue the Players Association. His claim is completely without merit, and we will aggressively defend ourselves and our members from these baseless charges.

“The Players Association has vigorously defended Mr. Rodriguez’s rights throughout the Biogenesis investigation, and indeed throughout his career. Mr. Rodriguez’s allegation that the Association has failed to fairly represent him is outrageous, and his gratuitous attacks on our former Executive Director, Michael Weiner, are inexcusable. When all is said and done, I am confident the Players Association will prevail.”

Rodriguez asked for the court to find MLB violated its agreements with the union, that the union breached its duty to represent him and to throw out Horowitz’s decision.

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According to the Yahoo! Sports report, the MLBPA will defend itself against the wealthiest of its members, a member who, according to the arbitration decision against him, flouted the system for years. As Horowitz wrote in his ruling, “While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for an MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed.”

The report also states that many players had no problem with Rodriguez fighting his suspension as he saw fit, but once he turned on the union, all bets were off.

“It’s beyond disappointment,” a player on the conference call told Yahoo! Sports. “What brought it beyond disappointment was the fact he’s suing the union. Guys understand people make bad decisions, they lie when they’re embarrassed or trying to avoid punishment. Those are human qualities. Guys understand. But what made guys incensed is he would bring a suit against the union.”

Horowitz’s ruling means the Yankees won’t have to pay A-Rod approximately $22 million of his $25 million salary for 2014. However, they still owe him $61 million over the life of the contract, which runs through 2017.

Though his fight to clear his name and exact his pound of flesh continues, Rodriguez last week appeared to have a moment of pause, saying he was relieved to get some time off during the suspension.

“I think that in the year 2014, the league could have done me a favor because I’ve played 20 years without a timeout,” A-Rod said during an appearance in Mexico City, as translated by ESPN. “I think 2014 will be a year to rest, mentally, physically prepare myself for the future and begin a new chapter of my life.”

“It’s a very sad story,” Rodriguez said. “And we hope we can take it out of the newspapers and I hope we can start concentrating on all the good things the big league is doing with all the young players moving forward.”

Has Rodriguez, who famously said he shouldn’t serve a single inning, accepted his fate? Maybe, but it doesn’t mean he’s ready to give up the fight, according to his spokesman.

“This process has been taxing both mentally and physically throughout the past eight months,” Ron Berkowitz said in a statement Thursday. “Alex will abide by the rulings of the federal judge — whatever he decides — and get ready for 2015 should the judge rule against him. He will continue to move forward with his complaint which will help all players against this unfair system.”

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