The Yankees expect to have A-Rod on Monday against the White Sox because they believe he will be suspended under the Joint Drug Agreement and not under the CBA, as MLB had previously threatened (Update: Joel Sherman is now reporting that the Yankees have been informed he will be suspended tomorrow and Selig will not use the CBA. A-Rod will play tomorrow if he appeals). Joe Girardi was able to tell reporters he has Alex penciled in for tomorrow because a player suspended under the JDA is entitled to an appeal and an automatic stay of the suspension whereas the stay does not exist under the CBA.
What's curious is the duration of the suspension. The JDA contemplates specific lengths for specific offenses: the first is 50, second 100 and a third is a lifetime ban. Alex Rodriguez has never failed a drug test under the Joint Drug Agreement. We don't know the details of MLB's evidence—only that there are "volumes" of it—but if MLB suspends A-Rod for 100+ games under the JDA, the numbers will have been fudged.
This is exactly the clumsy sleight of hand to be expected from a wannabe charlatan like Bud Selig. He will continue to hammer away and "concentrate people" on the case against A-Rod because the case against MLB is just as dirty. Pay no attention to that returned-scuzz-money check behind the curtain! And it's easy for Selig to accomplish because no one can suspend him. Alex Rodriguez can't turn around and threaten to expel Bud Selig from his Park Avenue office for the rest of his life. The player is always put in the position of having to react to what baseball does and A-Rod has become the commissioner's white whale. Selig wants a lifetime ban and, realizing the CBA option was impractical, is trying to do it in the most spineless way possible. And he's got all-too-willing allies in the media and the majority of baseball fans.
How else to explain this quote from A-Rod' on Friday being described everywhere as "explosive" or as an "outburst"?
"I will say this: there is more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field. That's not my teammates and that's not the Yankee fans."
For the sake of argument just assume that he is not completely full of shit and is not the phoniest guy in the world (and let's be clear, no one thinks A-Rod is innocent of what he's been accused, either). This is the most sensible thing a person could possibly say in this position. It is obvious that several parties would benefit greatly from Alex Rodriguez never playing another game of baseball. How is that explosive? It's explosive because everyone already hates him. For being aloof, for being excessively paid, for not being an aloof, excessively-paid winner like Derek Jeter.
In Alex Rodriguez, then, Bud Selig has found the biggest fish in the smallest barrel any doofus has ever had the good fortune of finding. So it's reported that Selig became incensed with A-Rod's camp, cut off negotiations and will suspend him for this year and next. Never mind the hardline approach from just a few days ago when Bud was going to ban him for a lifetime, or use the CBA so he couldn't appeal. Those threats were all empty and now A-Rod is the unreasonable party for pointing out that two plus two equals four.
There is no rational or justifiable reason under the JDA to suspend Alex Rodriguez for the arbitrary length of this season and next. Selig has so thoroughly bungled this entire process that it's fitting his final act is to just smash the two agreements to come up with one punishment he thinks he can sell. That will be his legacy after this ridiculous investigation and resulting circus.
Bud Selig: The only man in America who didn't realize an A-Rod suspension sells itself.
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