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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The quality of mercy is not strained: commute the sentence of Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez could have his full season suspension cut in half with the lesson and message in tact.  If only Allen Huber "Bud" Selig, commissioner of the Major Baseball League (MBL) can put aside his personal animosity.

Commutation Doesn’t Equal a Full Pardon
By ADAM LIPTAK Published: July 3, 2007  The New York Times

A commutation lessens the severity of the punishment. A pardon excuses or forgives the offense itself.

Rodriguez has been quiet since he finally gave up his fight against Selig about a month ago.  If Rodriguez continues to stay out of the public eye, Selig could show some magnanimity and reduce the punishment.  Selig could make Rodriguez eligible to play in the first game after the All Star game.  That would mean that Rodriguez would have been suspended a little more that half a season.

Since the eight Chicago White Sox players who took money to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series were made ineligible for life by the first commissioner, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, has any player received a more severe punishment than Rodriguez?
Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis
surrounded by baseball owners as he agrees to be Commissioner of Baseball
November 12, 1920, Chicago Tribune via Wikimedia Commons
I don't see any downside for Selig.  He has won.  Rodriguez has been completely vanquished.  Selig could set his own terms, including a confession, which seems unlikely if Rodriguez does not have his sentence commuted.  Who knows, maybe something like that has already been agreed to.

There are a couple of practical considerations.

1. Would the Yankees want Rodriguez back?  I think they would for two reasons.  Right now they seem headed to having Kelly Johnson and Eduardo Nunez platoon at third base, the position held by Rodriguez since he agreed to switch from shortstop when he joined the Yankees for the 2004 season.  By mid-season the Yankees may need Rodriguez both as a player and gate attraction.

Would Yankee captain Derek Jeter, once a close personal friend when Rodriguez played for Seattle, put his arm around Rodriguez as Pee Wee Reese supposedly did to support teammate Jackie Robinson?  Or would Jeter and/or the Yankees not want Rodriguez to distract from Jeter's final season, which may include a farewell tour?

2, Selig would have to be much more clear and assertive in protecting Rodriguez from vigilante acts by other players.

Coward Ryan Dempster should be suspended 211 games for deliberately hitting Alex Rodriguez.  Monday, August 19, 2013

Ryan Dempster is a coward and thug. Apparently like some other Red Sox players he has chosen to view the Alex Rodriguez situation as a personal affront. With obvious malice and premeditated planning Dempster deliberately threw pitches at Rodriguez multiple times in his first plate appearance in last night's Yankee game in Boston. Dempster just missed the knees of Rodriguez on the first pitch and finally drilled Rodriguez in the ribs on the fourth pitch, all of which were at or near Rodriguez. To his credit Rodriguez merely took his base rather than his revenge. Ironically, Rodriguez was the one who showed class. Ryan Dempster should have been arrested. Ryan Dempster was not even ejected by the umpires. Had Rodriguez retaliated as he seemed entitled to do by charging after Demptster, Rodriguez would surely have been suspended.

Dempster retired this year.  In 2013 Selig procrastinated a few days then slapped Dempster on the wrist with a suspension that cost him one start.  When/if Rodriguez ever plays again Selig or his successor next season must provide much more leadership.

It may not be a coincidence that the original punishment of Rodriguez extended through the entire 2014 season.  Subsequently, Selig announced his retirement effective January 2015.  The banishment of Rodriguez meant that Selig would never have to deal with him again.  The return of Rodriguez would be a problem for the next commissioner.

Asking Selig to voluntarily engage Rodriguez again requires uncommon character, which I have yet to observe in Selig.  Maybe Selig should learn from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice".

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