If Bud Selig is indeed on his way out, and there are still plenty of reasons to doubt that, he’s doing it with guns blazing. On Monday, at long last the speculation regarding Biogenesis will end and the punishments will be doled out…maybe.
It seems that over the weekend MLB, and Selig’s office specifically, have let go of their willingness to negotiate with Alex Rodriguez, and at the same time may be backing off of their plans to try and ban Rodriguez for life while hitting him with 3 strikes at once under MLB’s PED policy.
In the process of attempting to to drop the hammer on A-Rod, Selig may be creating an empathetic figure out of a guy whose actions would and should have left him beyond redemption already, Selig has shown himself for the petty bully that he has been throughout his tenure as commissioner, and gave birth to a wave of new conspiracy theories regarding baseball’s favoritism of the Yankees.
First, it’s seems all but clear that there’s no coincidence that at the heart of baseball’s desire to punish everyone involved in the Biogenesis fiasco, is an underlying mission on the part of the commissioner to exact revenge on the 2 guys who have made Selig look dumb in baseball’s “post-steroid era”. There’s Ryan Braun, who long before he tested positive for PEDs and had that violation overturned was routinely lauded by the commissioner, along with Troy Tulowitzki, as proof of baseball’s ability to continue to churn out stars in an era where testing has again “leveled the playing field”. And there’s Alex Rodriguez for whom baseball implemented instant replay to insure that their “fair haired boy” wouldn’t be cost a single opportunity to chase down Barry Bonds and rescue the record book. Neither guy asked to be Selig’s poster boy for post-steroid baseball, but both made the commissioner look silly when placed in that spot and were ultimately found out to be cheating.
Both deserve to be punished, but for cheating, not for leaving egg on the face of baseball and those who run it. And both will be (or are being) punished. But Selig’s attempt to punish Braun amounts to little more than an inconvenience to a player and a team that were already cashing in their chips for 2013. And if reports of what he’s trying to do to A-Rod are true, it seems like little more than a transparent attempt to help the Yankees achieve their stated goal of getting below the luxury tax threshold for 2014 and resetting them from a payroll, and tax standpoint.
It’s hard to believe that the rest of baseball’s owners would be on board with this, considering that they’re the ones who divide and share the payroll taxes that the Yankees have to pay. But if everyone stands to earn more when the Yankees are successful, it may be an indication of where everyone’s priorities lie.
How else can baseball explain the creation of a 214 game penalty? It’s just convenient enough to excuse the Yankees from accounting for A-Rod’s preclusive salary next year without MLB actually accepting the burden of trying to prove 3 seperate violations of the PED policy for a guy who didn’t even test positive for PEDs.
Baseball said Rodriguez lied to investigators, everyone lies to investigators. In Braun’s case that got him an extra 15 games. Baseball says that Rodriguez attempted to destroy evidence. Melky Cabrera created his own evidence and presented it to MLB, for that he got no additional penalty. And baseball accuses Rodriguez of recruiting for Biogenesis, as opposed to everyone just finding their way to Kirk Radomski or Dr. Gallea once upon a time. Maybe the evidence they have will trump these other instances by comparison and maybe we’ll get to see it. I won’t be holding my breath.
MLB ought to take what they can get when they go after Rodriguez or what they’re likely to get is embarrassed…again. That would be a fitting legacy for Bud Selig to leave behind.