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A-Rod will try to appeal to federal court, but he’s not likely to have success

Jan 11, 2014, 12:26 PM EDT

In the wake of Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension being reduced to 162 games, he said that he plans to appeal the decision to federal court. This is not unexpected, but I also believe that it will be a waste of his time and his money.

Arbitration is chosen by parties for the express purpose of avoiding litigation.  Courts are well aware of this. And in order to not undermine the integrity of arbitration awards, they very, very rarely overturn them.  Indeed, The Federal Arbitration Act provides the grounds for review of an arbitration decision. Such review is limited to overturning awards obtained by corruption or fraud. Or where the arbitrator himself is shown to be corrupted or to have engaged in misconduct of some kind or has shown a “manifest disregard for the law.”  Federal courts do not look at the facts and evidence anew and substitute their judgment for that of the arbitrator.

If there was any doubt about this at all, one merely peruse the trilogy of seminal decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on the matter — Steelworkers v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation Co,  Steelworkers v. Enterprise Car and United Paperworkers v. Misco — and they can see how tall and steep a hill A-Rod has to climb:

Federal courts should decline to review the merits of arbitration awards under collective bargaining agreements . . . The question of interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement is a question for the arbitrator, and the courts have no business overruling his construction of the contract merely because their interpretation of it is different from his.

Collective bargaining agreements are governed by the Labor Management Relations Act. Under the LMRA, review of an arbitrator’s decision is even more limited. Courts cannot look at the case anew to decide if the collective bargaining agreement was followed or if the evidence was misinterpreted. They may only overturn the decision if the arbitrator clearly abused his authority and went way, way out on a limb. It’s hard to see A-Rod making that case here, even if a 162-game suspension seems a bit . . . random. Or, more to the point: calculated to have A-Rod gone for a certain length of time as opposed to reflecting the actual severity of the offense.

So go ahead, A-Rod: sue in federal court if you want. But you will waste your money. You will likely not get any help from the union — which, when MLB made noises about appealing the favorable arbitration ruling Ryan Braun received following his 2011-12 suspension, strongly stated such a move was ill-advised — and, most importantly, you will almost certainly lose.

  1. sweetmelissa1954 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Reblogged this on sweetmelissa1954 and commented:
    accept and move on!

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      Alex, take the suspension and save your money and time.

    • braxtonrob - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:21 PM

      You don’t need to post that you “Reblogged”; it’s not necessary. Please stop doing it.

    • nesuperfan - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      Nobody gives a crap about your reblogging.

    • pjmarn6 - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      My father was a profane but private person. One statement has remained with me all my life. “HOW MANY TOILETS CAN YOU USE AT THE SAME TIME?” I take that to mean how much money does Rodriguez really need? Bring it all the way up to the Supreme Court. His lawyers will still only use one toilet at the same time and Rodriguez will have a few less toilets to choose from.

    • amyekessler - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      my buddy’s mother makes $68 an hour on the computer. She has been fired for 10 months but last month her pay was $15580 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit site… Buzz19.COM

  2. unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    I have a lot of thoughts on Alex Rodriguez these days. I really wish it were otherwise.

    I’ve emptied the contents of my mind to my wordpress blog – if you care to read them just click on the green ‘unclemosesgreen’ about this comment.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      Does it work now? Let’s see.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        Well written, and I expected nothing less. I mostly agree to, except the sympathy part. I feel some pity, but that’s all.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        thanks – i appreciate it.

    • Old Gator - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      One wonders what the final decision would have been if A-Roid hadn’t behaved like such a loudmouthed clown during the arbitration proceedings. If I recall he stormed out bellyaching and whining and flinging insults at the arbitrator and arbitration process like Skynet on a snootful of bad rum. Even if he ever had any chance at a reasonable settlement, he only suicide-bombed himself.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        Self-sabotage is his second-best skill-set. I still can’t help but feel that he’s no worse than a garden-variety ass but gets treated like a serial child-killer.

      • mazblast - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        OG, since you are far wiser than I (and no, that’s not sarcasm), I’d like your opinion on something that just occurred to me. When he stormed out of the proceedings, could Roidboy have been doing it intentionally, TRYING to foul the clear water of the arbitration proceedings? Could he (possibly on advice from his overpaid counsel) have been playing the lawyer’s game of “throw the case in lower court, win on appeal”?

        Or was he just being the petulant ass we’ve come to know and loathe?

  3. President Charles Logan - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    his appeal wont even reach the federal court front door and lobby before it gets shot down.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      The text of Frederic Horowitz’s arbitration decision is sealed. A federal lawsuit would unseal that decision so A-Rod may be willing to file suit for that purpose alone. Once the arbitrator’s decision goes public he could just drop it.

      • President Charles Logan - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        You’re obviously not an Attorney . an Appeal process is pointless .. this is over , it’s done. He’s not stepping onto a Baseball Diamond for a very long time.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        Thank you Mr. President.

      • anxovies - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:35 AM

        The decision will be leaked anyway. The commissioner’s office leaks like a sieve and I give it a week or less before we all know about it.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 12, 2014 at 3:50 AM

        Ah but I disagree – they leak when it benefits them & I don’t think this does.

  4. joestemme - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    FU#K A-Roid!

    • cohnjusack - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      You can go ahead use a “C” there. We all already know what “FU#K” means.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:50 PM


  5. raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    He hets no sympathy from me; I said all along that whatever punished meted out by the arbitrator would be fine with me.

    If he were to ask me, and obviously he won’t, I’d tell him go play in Taiwan or something this year just to go through the routine of getting in playing shape. Then come back next year. At that point the Yankees will still owe him >$60M, and they will find zero trading partners. The Yankees will then have to choose between playing him or paying him to sit.

    • aboutamoo - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      I would imagine there is language in A-Rod’s Yankees contract that prohibits him from playing for any team in any other league. I don’t believe the arbitrator’s decision voids that contract. He is suspended without pay, but remains under contract to the Yankees.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        You’re right, it wouldn’t. You’re probably right also that there is such a clause, hadn’t thought of–thanks. In which case he should just work out, and keep a low profile until next year.

    • mazblast - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      My understanding is that he cannot play in Japan or Korea, and that probably applies to Taiwan and Italy as well. I don’t know if the Mexican League has an agreement with MLB on this, though.

      Independent leagues are not bound by the suspension, though. I read somewhere that the Long Island Ducks have offered him a contract. He’d be quite a draw as the league’s resident heel.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:26 AM

        Yeah, I figured Korea and Japan were out. There’s not Taiwanese posting system, and no inter league agreement I am aware of however. What I have learned today is that there is a uniform player contract that appears to constrain any MLB player from playing in any other league while under contract. If that read is correct, then all he can do is go to spring training and play either amateur ball or winter ball until next year without putting himself at risk of further discipline, and maybe voiding of his contract.

  6. pisano - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    He should just lick his wounds (that he brought on himself ) and move on. He’s basically finished as a productive player, but the real question is, what will the Yankees do with him when he returns in 2015?

    • cackalackyank - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      raysfan1 has a good point…if it is allowed he should go play organized ball some where…ANYWHERE in 2014. If he sits around and doesn’t train and play it will not matter what the Yankees decide, he will fall apart. I really can’t see the NYY eating 60 million plus to have him go away. But, for now…he needs to STFU and accept the arb ruling.

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

        I agree, lay low and just dedicate yourself to baseball, I don’t think he can play in Japan but he can try several different countries, what can it hurt to try, I’m sure there is a team somewhere that would love to put his name on their Jersey.

        Best of luck and see you in 2015

  7. broncostevenp - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:05 PM


  8. raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    He hets no sympathy from me in this. I said all along that whatever punished meted out by the arbitrator would be fine with me.

    If he were to ask me, and obviously he won’t, I’d tell him go play in Taiwan or something this year just to go through the routine of getting in playing shape. Then come back next year. At that point the Yankees will still owe him >$60M, and they will find zero trading partners. The Yankees will then have to choose between playing him or paying him to sit.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      Weird, not sure how this posted twice.

      How about a delete comment function if we can’t have an edit function?

  9. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    I wont say I predicted it – because I did not. But I foresaw this as an outcome – 211 came from “end of 2014” (if you recall, it was actually 214,but a mandatory 3 day waiting period knocked it down tp 211). So the arbitrator effectively said “sure, end of 2014 sounds good to me”. Bud could have spun this as total victory, but he already went on record saying 211 was the right number

    I did say it somewhere…and caught heat for it too….

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      I felt like it would be reduced to 100 games. I’m keeping my ticket because A-Rod said he would appeal. Stewards’ inquiry!

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        I recall you predicting 150, which I would call correct at this point.

        All I ever said number wise was 50 games, and I would wear Yankee underwear for a month. yea, I am relieved :)

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        Well heck, I’m going with your memory then!

    • umrguy42 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      I know several of us have pointed it out every time “211” got thrown around (got really old, tbh). But yeah, I thought the same thing might be a possibility.

  10. sailbum7 - Jan 11, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    A-Roid screwed himself when he actively tried to interfere with the investigation. He is upset that the arbitration did not go his way so now he is whining again. His lawsuit will go nowhere. Arbitration agreements are designed to prevent the cost and time involved with lawsuits. By agreeing to arbitration the parties are basically agreeing not to sue. As the article says, the standards required to be met to even get this into a courtroom are daunting and I just do not see A-Roid being able to meet that high threshhold. Both the league and the players union will fight this going to court because it would set a horrible precedent that could cripple the entire arbitration process and agreement. A-Roid needs to quit whining and accept the well deserved penalty he has received, thanking his lucky stars that they did not ban him for life.

  11. lostsok - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Alex Rodriquez biggest mistake was letting his agent push for the most possible dollars, instead of staying in what was–at the time–a great situation. Had he simply signed a decent, multi-million dollar contract to stay in Seattle…and played his best with his God-given ability instead of juicing…he would be a beloved player in that city and one of the best all-around players of his generation.

    Instead, he’s much richer…and will be remembered as a pariah that damaged baseball.

    Money truly is the root of all evil.

    • mazblast - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:12 PM

      Money is not the root of all evil. IIRC, the Bible (if you believe in that book) says, “THE LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (it is not spelled out as to who scored the 10).

      • semperfiguy1011 - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        You beat me to it maz, but you are indeed correct. The love of money is the root of all evil. That being said, A-Roid is done. You accept the arbitration, you agree that it is binding. He should shut up and move on. You don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. He is pissing into the wind trying to appeal this.

    • rufuskillerdog - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      Please do not take this the wrong way, i am not trying to offend, but that is a very naive statement.

      A Rod was given the opportunity by the combination of his talent and the stupidity of the Rangers, to become the highest paid player by far in all of sports. And you say he should have turned his back on literally hundreds of millions of dollars?
      Who does that outside of a sappy hollywood movie?
      No one.
      No, Rodriguez did not make a mistake chasing dollars, he made a mistake chasing history

  12. omniusprime - Jan 12, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    About time one of these cheating steroid users gets punished. A-Rod should have gotten the full 211 game suspension but a while season is still good punishment. Time for A-Rod to accept his punishment like a man, not some corrupt republican who thinks he can do anything he wants with no worry of prosecution. I still thin they should have given him a lifetime ban and no way to ever enter the hall of fame..

  13. 4d3fect - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Let the billable hours begin!

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