|Does this look like a guy who's going down without a fight?|
Word on the street is that this will be the week when Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig slams down suspensions on a number of players like the mighty Thor swung his hammer. Everyone is waiting with bated breath...not to be confused with those who ate sardines...for the names and the length of time players will get sent to the "baseball brig".
Bad puns aside, this could be a make or break period for Alex Rodriguez and whatever career he has left. It's been widely reported that A-Rod has been offered a plea deal - accept a suspension for the remainder of this year and all of next year - that if accepted would allow A-Rod to return to baseball in 2015. It would also allow him to collect the $60MM that will still be owed to him by the Yankees. Selig is reportedly ready to ban A-Rod for life if he doesn't take the plea arrangement.
However, the reports of the plea offer were denied by A-Rod's lawyer, David Cornwell, who represented Ryan Braun after the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder failed a drug test last year.
Speaking Monday afternoon to ESPN radio's Stephen A. Smith, Cornwell said that Major League Baseball has not approached A-Rod with a deal and that he is focused on readying an appeal for when Selig announces a suspension.
Cornwell said he believes the next step in the process will be for the union to meet with MLB to discuss the investigation and focus on "particular players" and that union head Michael Weiner previously laid out some groundwork on how the process will take place. Cornwell also said he would not bother to respond to anything reported by any of the media, since it is irrelevant to the appeal process that he is preparing for.
Cornwell also emphasized that the paperwork containing evidenced was stolen by a "disgruntled ex-employee", Porter Fischer of the Biogenesis clinic. Clearly Cornwell will look to discredit Fischer, who has been looking to make a buck by selling the evidence, and the clinic owner Tony Bosch, who is looking to save his butt by cooperating with authorities.
Cornwell added that A-Rod is only focused on getting back to playing baseball, which it looks like he'll do if he does appeal any suspension handed down.
While no fan of A-Rod, it's absurd if Selig is uses him as an example in order to show other potential cheaters that he is tough, especially to those who dare cheat the game multiple times. That being said A-Rod deserves a lengthy suspension if he indeed cheated, but he should not be the only one. As I have said before, Ryan Braun 65 game "sentence" is a joke.
Whatever happens it is time for Major League Baseball and the players union to get things right. Both sides mishandled things from day one- MLB by ignoring the drug issue and the union by refusing to agree to stringent testing sooner.
Times are changing though; the majority of players appear to be fed up with the cheaters as is Weiner. Selig has had enough of players that ignore the warnings or try to finagle their way around the truth.
You can bet there are still players in the league that used steroids in the past, prior to testing and maybe even afterwards, and may try to do so again. You'll never hear them speak up about cleaning up the game. The younger players though want an even playing field. Guys like Chris Davis, who had a breakout season last year and is having a monster season this year, are tired of hearing whispered accusations about possible PED use, because of greatly improved play.
Brace yourself for a long fight.