The New York Times reported last night in less explicit fashion that Major Baseball League (MBL) commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig blinked in his game of chicken with Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod will not cop a plea but will appeal his suspension, which means that he can play for the Yankees against the White Sox in Chicago tonight. The Times reports that the players union finally showed some backbone and told MBL officials that it would fight any attempt to use extraordinary means to discipline players, meaning Rodriguez.
OK. It's on. Hopefully at least some of the other players will fight, too.
One thing that makes all of this so sad is that it is all so unnecessary. The players did not need to continue to tempt fate. The MBL could have simply looked the other way. Sometimes you just let it go.
Once joined, however, the natural instinct, especially for competitors like these payers, is to fight, even if you do not have any principle involved. They are fighting for the right to flaunt the rules. Not very high minded.
For Selig, why play the bully? Why pick on Rodriguez to such an extent that he becomes, if not actually sympathetic, then at least understandable. Nobody likes to be pushed around. Nobody. Even when wrong. By overcharging and grossly suggesting various baseball death sentences, Selig provided Rodriguez with some credibility.
Rodriguez works as hard as any player, including teammate Derek Jeter. Rodriguez should not be punished for receiving a lot of money from multiple MBL teams. Rodriguez honors his contracts. His current team, the Yankees, should do likewise.
Before executing Rodriguez, Selig should state how many games the following players were suspended during his tenure as commissioner:
And does Selig apply anything close to this steroid policy regarding other illegal substances to himself, MBL employees, and team owners? How about past transgressions? Read Nolan Ryan, who runs the Texas Rangers baseball team in Dallas.
Have any players of note since the eight 1919 Chicago White Sox players, including Joe Jackson, been given a baseball death sentence? And for the umpteenth time: those White Sox players took money to intentionally lose the World Series!
Steroid users paid money to improve their performance and that of their team.
One group tried to lose, the other tried to win. That fundamental difference is what makes the threat of a baseball death sentence so revolting. Selig is a bully of the first order and good for A-Rod for standing up to the bully.
Also for the umpteenth time, cheating on the field has been tolerated all along and it's much worse than taking some drugs to improve performance. Whitey Ford and Gaylord Perry made no secret of their actions. Perry even wrote about his cheating during his career, promising to stop. Years later he was voted into the Hall of Fame. For those who say that steroid use is different: grow the heck up.
Oh, and go check NFL players.