He overcame a broken home, raised his industry’s salary roof twice, helped redefine the way we think about our athletes and, if Major League Baseball’s current allegations are true, repeatedly beat the tests in what professes to be the toughest drug-enforcement program in North American professional sports. Alex Rodriguez has a resume of accomplishments, a narrative that can match up with anyone’s in his field. In his current gambit, however, A-Rod might have found his match. Kudos to him for betting on himself. But I sure as heck wouldn’t bet on him this time. The Yankees’ beleaguered third baseman drew his daily headlines Friday with his boast to ESPN New York in an interview Thursday. Said A-Rod, hours after his arbitration hearing against MLB concluded: “We crushed it. They had nothing.’’ But the more telling quote was this: “The only thing that concerns me is the process.’’ Yup, as ESPN’s Lester Munson pointed out succinctly in a web piece, Rodriguez must be the first baseball player who has decided he has a better shot in an actual courtroom than in an arbitration hearing room. Phase 2 of Operation Save-Rod, that venture into real court, won’t go into overdrive until Phase 1 has completed. Two sources confirmed Rodriguez and the Yankees probably won’t learn the status of the player’s 211-game suspension until early January. Here’s the timeline: 1. Both MLB and Rodriguez have until Dec. 11 to file written briefs to independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, and another 10 days after that to file replies to each other’s briefs. 2. Once Horowitz has received all of that information, he has 25 days to issue his decision. Hence the January projection, and that’s more bad news for the Yankees, who are anxious to gain the financial flexibility of a Rodriguez suspension as they try to get their 2014 payroll under $189 million. Rodriguez’s likely attempt to gain an injunction to block the suspension, should it be upheld or reduced, would further delay the Yankees’ ambitions, even if a judge quickly shoots that down. And you wonder how many high-profile free agents will be left by the time the Yankees are finally ready to fully open their checkbooks. Oh, and to close one other door: There was no massive release of information from the hearing Friday by Team A-Rod, as promoted. There might never be. Team A-Rod could hold a news conference next week. Stay tuned. Back to Rodriguez and his complaining about “The process.” The process that has proven eminently fair to players — too fair, many people on the management side will tell you.
Team A-Rod ready to dive into treacherous waters: a courtroom
New York Post | Nov 23