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TMZ: A-Rod says he’ll sue if MLB doesn’t drop his suspension. Good luck with that, Alex

Aug 14, 2013, 3:28 PM EDT

Alex Rodriguez Getty Getty Images

TMZ has a report that Alex Rodriguez is threatening to sue Major League Baseball if his suspension isn’t overturned:

Sources directly connected to A-Rod tell us he’s prepared to march into Federal court next month … unless the 211-game suspension the MLB slapped him with last week isn’t entirely lifted … According to our sources, Alex will sue for various things, including a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players’ union and the league.

Well, good luck with that, A-Rod, but you’re part of an arbitration process you agreed to when you signed your contract and to which you are further bound by the collective bargaining agreement between you and your union. If you attempt to circumvent that, a court is highly likely to tell you to take a hike and go have your arbitration. Courts favor arbitration agreements — highly favor them — when they are entered into freely and willingly between two sophisticated parties and they are loathe to intervene.

After your arbitration? Fine, appeal to a court. Then they are only about 99.9% likely to tell you to go away as opposed to the 99.999% likelihood of that happening now, but I suppose it’s not nothing.

This would be a totally different situation if Major League Baseball had first attempted to circumvent the Joint Drug Agreement by suspending A-Rod and not allowing him to play during his appeal. Everything the league is doing now, however, appears to be in compliance with the JDA and the CBA. They may have suspended him for too many games — that’s my view anyway — but that’s a dispute to be handled within the system, not by circumventing it with litigation.

  1. pjmitch - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    Note to A-Rod- Go for it.

  2. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    I’ve been saying all along that MLB overstepped their bounds on this suspension, but damn Alex, you are really making it hard for a guy to take your side on this one. I’m sure with all of those fancy lawyers and private investigators you have, at least one of them are calling/texting/emailing you every day reminding you to shut the hell up, am I right?

    • kevinbnyc - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      If not, his GM probably is.

  3. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Oh come on, according to TMZ? That’s like someone bringing up “according to the Onion an abortion superplex is being built in Kansas”. No one would ever fall for that…

  4. rickdobrydney - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Yeah , Craig—- TMZ ???? Jesus, come onnnn…….. what an ugly combo — TMZ rumor drenched in boring legalese—– what has this blog come to ??? —rumors upon rumors upon rumors —-

  5. cur68 - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    ARod doing something dumb? No! I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

    • nbjays - Aug 14, 2013 at 9:18 PM

      Can this become any more of a circus than it already is? Stay tuned…

      • badintent - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:41 AM

        Arodless should carry Alfonso’s bags( and jock which he can’t )

  6. kirbyslefteye - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    I read the TMZ story as Alex Rodriguez plans to appeal the arbitration hearing if it doesn’t lift the suspension, not that he plans to go to court before he even knows if the suspension will be enforced.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      It’s just as hard to appeal an arbitration decision. There is no automatic right of appeal. Arbitrator’s word is almost always final.

  7. natswatcher - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    A Fraud doesn’t have a leg to stand on (especially since the PEDs have caused hip problems). MLB has gone about this in exactly the right way and an arbitrator will only need to rule on the appropriate number of games to suspend him for. Alex is truly a fraud who not only has taken money from other players by cheating but has also taken opportunity from other players as part of an entire generation of mlb players who have cheated! It is too bad that a life suspension can’t be given to make a real example of him and his ilk!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      Yes, without PEDs I am sure he would have spent his career toiling in AAA.

  8. turdfurgerson68 - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Go a-roid, go!

    Use the Fed court to expose the MLB/Yankee collusion; force the team to pay your contracted upon salary!

    Sorry Yankees no luxury tax relief for you. You made your bed with terrible contracts…now lie in it.

    • basedrum777 - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      Turd is right.

      • rje49 - Aug 14, 2013 at 7:30 PM

        Yeah, but that doesn’t sound right

  9. ctony1216 - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    A-Rod’s lawyer told Mike Francesa that MLB violated the confidentiality clause of the JDA/CBA by leaking information to Bill Madden and others. That might be what this is about.

    Not sure if confidentiality is grounds for a lawsuit outside of arbitration, though. But if so, MLB might argue that the Miami Times already publicized the details of the violation, and therefore, there is nothing confidential to protect. Seems like a hail mary pass by team A-Rod.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      JDA specifically says that confidentiality is no longer a thing if the stuff is publicized otherwise.

      • mornelithe - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:11 PM

        And they’d also need to not only track down the leaker, but prove than MLB gave said individual the go ahead to do so. Good luck prying sources out of a reporter. It’s the MLB, not the US Government.

      • dparker713 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        JDA says that the names and the suspension are no longer confidential. Other information would still be confidential (Section 8.D) The only exception is if the player is making false or misleading statements that “could undermine the integrity or credibility” of the program. That’s a pretty high bar and I’ve no idea how they could make that claim in this case.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        JDA specifically says that confidentiality is no longer a thing if the stuff is publicized otherwise.

        Wait a second, how is this logical? If the proceedings are supposed to be secretive, the JDA confidentiality clause can be circumvented by releasing the information to the public? Thus it’s public knowledge so they don’t have to keep it a secret?

      • mornelithe - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        @Church – I think it means if the topic is already being discussed by the media, specific to that issue, then the JDA doesn’t cover it. For example, before the leaks, the biogenesis stuff was all over the news. And I believe even A-Rods connection to Biogenesis had been covered, before then.

        Or it could be as vague as A-Rod commenting on it, that nulls that particular part of the JDA. If it were challenged legally, we’d have a better idea of exactly where the line was drawn, where once it was confidential, and then not.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        I agree, but there’s been zero confidentiality from the beginning. The minute that Biogenesis was in the news, we had “sources from MLB” running off to the NYDN telling them what MLB was going to do. We had guys like banpeds coming in here telling us that 30+ players would be suspended right after the ASB.

        Am I wrong in thinking that the minute MLB decided to move forward with the investigation, confidentiality should have been invoked?

      • mornelithe - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        @Church – Yeah, that’s the thing we don’t exactly know where they draw the line with the JDA on that, so it’s merely speculation at this point as to what MLB/MLBPA qualify as ‘publicized otherwise’. It would need to go to court and be challenged in order for us to be ‘legally’ entitled to the information. And even then, you’d probably have to fight the MLB/MLBPA for release of those records.

      • bigharold - Aug 14, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        “Am I wrong in thinking that the minute MLB decided to move forward with the investigation, confidentiality should have been invoked?”

        Logically it would follow. But, the problem is that the leaks were unattributed and therefore one can only speculate as to who it was the source, .. as it was most certainly from within MLB. And, the NYDN, and otter media outlets will not give up nor can they be compelled give up those sources.

        Ironically MLB sees no point in behaving ethically and following the rules whist enforcing the rules.

  10. protectthishouse54 - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    I don’t come here to get news from TMZ. I doubt others do either.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      News comes from where it comes from. And your predispositions aside, TMZ actually has a pretty good hit rate on sports stories. They’ve broken a great deal of news over the years. Just because they traffic in a lot of gossip doesn’t mean that they don’t also break news.

      • Francisco (FC) - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        After all, they gave us those great Danny Lozano Biopics.

      • delsj - Aug 14, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        Ah yes, the “throw enough crap against the wall & something’s gotta stick” school of journalism.

  11. dparker713 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    I don’t know if a court appeal after the arbitration is so doomed. Yes, courts favor arbitrations greatly, but MLB fired their last arbitrator after one decision did not go their way. If the new arbitrator upholds the suspension, especially given its arbitrary length, I wouldn’t be surprised to see such a case go to trial.

    • jwbiii - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Two, actually. Das overturned Eliezer Alfonzo’s suspension on similar grounds and then he was fired.

  12. sdemp - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    MLB did everything right. . . what a crook of shit. Everything MLB has done regarding this PED scandel is a joke and has A) done nothing to clean up the game and B) brought negative attention to the game with unwarranted suspensions.

    There is an agreement and testing policy in place which should be followed by both parties.

    Anyone who thinks these are the only players using PED’s should go back under the rock they came from.

    • basedrum777 - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      Yes b/c it should be the policy of baseball to suspend no one since not everyone can be caught. Your logic is even better when applied to criminals…. oh wait taking steroids is illegal without a prescription.

  13. alan145 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    The federal court can entertain the suit by alleging that too costly and time-consuming to go to arbitration when MLB has no power to suspend A-Rod since he did not fail a drug test. Further,
    A-Rod can allege real purpose of MLB action is to have Yankees save money, as shown by statement of Buck Showalter.

    • mornelithe - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      Woah, Buck Showalter works for the Yankees? When did this happen??

      • alan145 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        Buck complained that the Yankees would save money by a suspension, thereby allowing the Yankees to sign his players.

      • mornelithe - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        I know, I was making a funny. 😉

        Still, the Yankee’s saving money from whatever happens to A-Rod, is simply unintended consequences (until proven otherwise).

        We fans get bothered when the media makes unsubstantiated accusations, shouldn’t have any different reaction to it if it’s not through one of the usual channels.

        In a perfect world, A-Rod would be punished, and the Yankee’s would have to absorb some of that ridiculous contract. But, this world is far from perfect.

      • basedrum777 - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        Why does it make a shred of difference if the Yankees “benefit” from his suspension. They didn’t provide him the steroids nor did they have him not forgive a loan to the steroid supplier causing this whole mess to start. He stuck himself or at least instructed it to happen. This shit is on him. Should’ve been a ban for life.

      • mornelithe - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM

        Well, the Yankee’s signed him to the contract. And many folks in and outside of baseball feel they should have to suffer the consequences….at least to some degree for that signing, and should not be allowed to benefit from this.

        Wrong or right, you can’t really argue feelings.

    • jwbiii - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      MLB absolutely does have the ability to suspend Rodriguez (or Cesar Puello) without a failed test. It’s in paragraph 7.G.2 of the JDA. As I see it, Rodriguez has two grounds to challenge his suspension:

      1) MLB’s case will be based on the testimony and documents from Anthony Bosch and Porter Fischer. Rodriguez’s team could attempt to impeach their testimony. While I think Bosch and Fischer are scum, I think this approach will fail. Ryan Braun has a competent legal team and he accepted his suspension.

      2) The length of his suspension is excessive compared to the length of the suspension he would have received if he had actually failed a test. I think that this approach will succeed and Rodriguez will end up with a 50 game suspension, or something very close to it.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        I like this idea:

        Even if MLB has evidence to justify a suspension, Rodriguez can make several arguments that a 211-game suspension is either too long or too arbitrary. First, assuming Selig claims that 150 of the games were for first (50 games) and second (100 games) offenses, Rodriguez can argue that the Joint Drug Agreement explicitly precludes MLB from punishing for a second offense before giving notice of a first. Specifically, Section 7 of the Joint Drug Agreement states that a player can’t be disciplined for a second or third violation of the policy that occurred before he received notice of his first violation. In this case, all of the conduct Rodriguez is being disciplined for presumably happened before he was given notice of his first violation. So Section 7’s notice requirement might limit Selig to a 50-game first-offense punishment.

        [courtesy of Gabe Feldman, professor at Tulane Law School, director of their Sports Law Program]

        Essentially MLB can only suspend Arod for 50 games under the JDA, and the rest falls under the CBA. With Braun only getting an additional 15 games, I can’t see the all of ’13 and all of ’14 punishments playing out.

      • basedrum777 - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        So what stops them from suspending him for each offense separately immediately following one another? Did I miss something? He’s getting 50 games for taking the drugs, 100 for recruiting other players and an extra 112 (or whatever) for lying about the situation to the league. Done and done.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        So what stops them from suspending him for each offense separately immediately following one another? Did I miss something? He’s getting 50 games for taking the drugs, 100 for recruiting other players and an extra 112 (or whatever) for lying about the situation to the league. Done and done.

        Because it’s the complete opposite of done and done. For one, his suspension isn’t for 211 games, it’s for all of 2013 and all of 2014. So, at the time of the suspension, it was for 211 games if the Yanks didn’t make the playoffs, or 211 + 13 playoff games, or 211 + ’14 playoff games, or 211 and ’13 and ’14 playoff games. How is that not arbitrary?

        Second, there’s almost a non-zero chance that they prove he “recruited” people unless he was dumb enough, to get in writing, checks for bringing people to Biogenesis. Even if he told people about Biogenesis, that’s not recruiting.

        Finally, there’s zero chance the league gets away with “extra 112” for lying. As I mentioned above, Braun got 15 games beyond the additional 50 game suspension, and he’s been lying about it from the beginning. How Arod gets 7x the penalty for the same offense is arbitrary as well.

  14. bills399 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    hate to break it to u guys (and no sarcasm meant) but media like TMZ and the Enquirer are actually some of the only unbiased investigative media left. For example, most papers will not be investigating and scandals having to do with democrats, TMZ and tabloid papers don’t give a damn, they will investigate anyone. and as of late have been spot on

    • dondada10 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      They’re essentially fueled by the social media, which has proven to be the strongest medium.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      For example, most papers will not be investigating and scandals having to do with democrats

      Gee, I wonder which papers you read if you haven’t seen any scandals involving democrats, thus giving TMZ some credibility…

    • aceshigh11 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Ah, another reactionary paranoiac who mindlessly parrots the tired and discredited, 30-year old “liberal media” canard.

    • ahrmon - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      “most papers will not be investigating and scandals having to do with democrats” said someone who has no idea what they’re talking about.

  15. benjamincharlesparho - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:21 PM


    • clemente2 - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      Will you capitalize your capitals?

      • basedrum777 - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:35 PM

        Would’ve been more poignant if he had NOT capitalized the first letter of each sentence…

      • nbjays - Aug 14, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        No, clemente, he will likely revert to bold text… maybe even underlined.

  16. rathipon - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    “The wheels of justice grind slow”

    I wonder if putting it into Federal Court isn’t simply a delay tactic. A-Rod’s best days are of course behind him. The longer he can delay being suspended, the more time he’ll have to actually play at a high level in Major League Baseball. I think maybe he feels like being a productive ballplayer will somehow restore to some extent his legacy. He’d rather take a suspension later than now.

    So how does it play out? A few adjournments and it could easily take 6-8 months before the court throws out his case and sends it to arbitration. Maybe more. And from what we’ve heard, it takes quite a while to schedule arbitrations in these cases. Assuming he files the Federal Court action in a month he could still be playing in June or July of next year before his hearing takes place.

  17. mvp43 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    A-Rod has money, but MLB has more………

  18. senioreditor2 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    MLB better hope that he doesn’t get his day in Federal Court. He may not win on the issues but what he might obtain in Discovery could help prove collusion or worse?

  19. crillbill - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Baseball lives in fear of losing their anti trust exemption.

    Adolph Selig will not play by the rules of others.

    • datcrazybok - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      How does one manage to break Murphy’s law, yet misspell Adolf?

      • crillbill - Aug 14, 2013 at 6:26 PM

        It’s actually correct either way.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 14, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        And you meant Godwin’s Law, not Murphy’s Law.

  20. datcrazybok - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    If every American contributes a dollar, we can raise 300 million dollars approximately. I say we divide that 300 million dollars between the next 30 pitchers who face A-Rod. They’re only available for their compensation if on the very first pitch they wind up and throw the baseball as hard as they can straight into his ear-hole. 10 million a-piece for 30 pitchers. I say it is worth it.

    • clemente2 - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:02 PM


  21. poprox13 - Aug 14, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    In other news, Richard Simmons is still gay……

  22. jcmeyer10 - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I feel like even if A-Rod wins, it will be a Pyrrhic victory.

  23. candlestickkid - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Dear Mr. ARod,

    Please, just go away.

    Former Fan (when you were young, in Seattle)

  24. cackalackyank - Aug 14, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    I don’t really see a law suit here. I think A-rod should pray that the arbitrator sees a classic over reach with the length of the suspensions, and reduces it to a 50 for the lie, 50 for the recruiting, and 50 for the violation situation. I think that would be best case scenario for him. Save the $ and do not file the suit…because he is losing about 25 million in pay no matter how you slice it. I think it would be much nicer though if the $25 mil had to be paid into a fund that would be used to educate young athletes and their coaches about the down sides of steriods/peds. Cutting off the “win at all costs” mentality where it starts is the best antidote to this stuff …and thats coming from a Yankee fan. I want my team to improve…but not because they overpaid a narcissistic fool who had it all going for him and royally f****d up.

  25. JJT - Aug 14, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Aw, give A-Rod a break, everyone! After all, he’s fighting for his life, and stuff…

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