This is what was missing from all of baseball's previous arbitration hearings: leaks! As Alex Rodriguez makes his case to shorten or throw out his 211-game suspension, the New York Daily News reports A-Rod's defense strategy. It's a familiar one.
According to the Daily News, Rodriguez's lawyers are arguing that A-Rod believed the banned substances he bought at Biogenesis were legal supplements. Which doesn't explain why he needed to get them from a fly-by-night clinic in a Florida strip mall run by a guy who isn't a real doctor, or why he needed so many of them, according to Tony Bosch's handwritten records:
The "I didn't know what I was taking" defense hasn't historically met with much success. Claiming they believed they were consuming legal substances got Roger Clemens indicted on a perjury charge and earned Barry Bonds an obstruction of justice conviction. But this isn't all or nothing—Rodriguez could slash his suspension merely by planting doubt in the mind of arbitrator Fredric Horowitz that he didn't knowingly or negligently do something illegal, even if he totally did something illegal.
Update: Rodriguez's spokesman has issued a denial:
"We cannot provide any details of this hearing as the Chair of the Arbitration Panel has issued an order prohibiting all parties from commenting publicly on the confidential proceedings, but what is being reported is NOT true."