SBD/January 22, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLBPA Members Reportedly Wanted To Kick Rodriguez Out Due To Lawsuit Against Union

Several MLBPA members aluded that A-Rod may face beanings if he plays again
MLBPA player reps "overwhelmingly agreed" that Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez "should be kicked out of the union during a 90-minute conference call the day he sued the MLBPA," according to sources cited by Passan & Brown of YAHOO SPORTS. However, union leaders said that they "could not legally pursue" Rodriguez' expulsion. Sources said that following a roll call of players listening in on a Jan. 13 conference call involving about 40 players and MLBPA BOD members, "the first player to speak asked bluntly: Can we kick him out of the union?" A source said that "not a single member defended Rodriguez ... in a forum where there are frequent disagreements." While many players "allowed for Rodriguez to fight his suspension as he saw fit, they were incensed he would turn on his 'brothers,' as one player termed the membership." The player said, "What made guys incensed is he would bring a suit against the union." A player on the conference call later said of Rodriguez, "When he gets up to bat, you can hit him and hit him hard. That's what I'd do. He sued us. Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz screwed up. You know what? They owned up to it. They took their medicine." Passan & Brown noted the last instance of the MLBPA "blacklisting players was during the 1995 player strike, when several dozen replacement players -- scabs, in the eyes of the union -- subsequently were denied licensing money and union voting privileges for the remainder of their careers." Barring a "change of thought, Rodriguez will not suffer such consequences, beyond the ill will of the union and its members" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/21).

HIGH & INSIDE: Dodgers Special Advisor to the Chair Tommy Lasorda said Rodriguez "should have got more" than a one-year ban since "he’s trying to ruin the game." He added, "If I'm pitching and I know that guy up there is using that stuff, I'll hit him right in the mouth." Former MLBer Rusty Staub said of Rodriguez' suit against the MLBPA, "I thought the thing he did with the players association was pathetic." Staub when asked if he thought other former MLBers shared that opinion said, "I would think many." In New Jersey, Pete Caldera notes Lasorda and Staub made their comments "prior to the annual Baseball Assistance Team dinner to raise money and awareness for ex-players in financial need -- many of whom preceded the union’s establishment" (Bergen RECORD, 1/22).

KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE BIGGER PICTURE: FOXSPORTS.com’s Ken Rosenthal writes MLBers “should worry less about A-Rod suing them and more about how A-Rod was brought down.” The “antipathy for Rodriguez among his peers is secondary to the larger point" that MLB's investigation into the Yankees' All-Star was a "fastball under the chin to the union, if not an outright beaning.” The MLBPA “got knocked down, particularly when it declined to fight baseball’s lawsuit against Biogenesis,” and it now “needs to get back up.” The union “should agree to increased penalties only if baseball sets up different tiers of punishment for those players who use PEDs deliberately and those who can prove their usage was inadvertent” (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/22).
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