SBD/August 8, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Selig Discusses MLB Suspensions As MLBPA Files Appeal On Behalf Of Rodriguez

Selig often thought of Bart Giamatti while coming up with A-Rod's suspension
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday delivered his first public comments since the suspensions of 14 players in the Biogenesis investigation and said it "has been very stressful for me," according to Pat Borzi of the N.Y. TIMES. Appearing at the RBI World Series at Target Field, Selig said, "You asked the question; I’ve got to give you an honest answer. It’s been tough." Borzi notes Selig "appeared relaxed and jovial except when questioned" about Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez. He did not indicate "whether baseball would negotiate further with Rodriguez," who formally appealed his 211-game suspension yesterday. Selig said, "He has a right to do what he’s doing. My own personal thoughts on the subject are not relevant, because he has the right to do it." The commissioner said that he "received overwhelming support from owners, players, trainers and baseball officials, with many calling him to say so." Selig: "You can’t say we ignored this. There was a big debate Monday and Tuesday: is this a good day or a bad day for baseball? It’s not even a question -- it was a good day for baseball, because we faced up to the problem. Nobody’s hiding it. Nobody swept it under the rug. We did what any social institution should do. And I really appreciate the player comments, and there have been a lot of them." Selig said of the length of the suspensions, "I’m comfortable where we are. Whether we need tougher penalties is something we’re going to talk about in the future." He added, "The great majority of our players who have done this well and clean don’t like being tarred with this" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/8). MLB.com provides a transcript of Selig's remarks (MLB.com, 8/8).

PLAYING DURING THE APPEAL: In N.Y., Ken Davidoff notes Rodriguez by appealing the suspension is "increasing the likelihood he will be in a Yankees uniform for the duration of this season." The next step will come when MLB and the MLBPA "meet and determine a date for the hearing" (N.Y. POST, 8/8). The GLOBE & MAIL's Tom Maloney writes both MLB and the MLBPA "may have incentive to encourage a settlement" in Rodriguez' case. While the process is "confidential, so was baseball's investigation and it sprung widespread media leaks" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/8). CBSSPORTS.com's Jon Heyman wrote MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner "shouldn't be blamed here." The union is "cooperating to try to rid the game of drugs under his watch, and he should be commended for that after years of stonewalling from the previous union leadership" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/7).

BAD SHOW: An Albany TIMES UNION editorial stated it is "pathetic" to watch Rodriguez behave "more like a crafty criminal defendant than a once-awesome ballplayer." The editorial: "Baseball isn’t a court. The niceties of civil liberties and due process, so essential in the real world, have a more limited application. It’s credibility beyond all suspicion that needs to prevail, not guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That means a demonstrable absence of cheating on the scale that steroids and other drugs allow" (TIMESUNION.com, 8/7).
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