The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check + Readers Responses 8.10.13
Mr Rodriguez vs Major League Baseball
Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez is a Major League Baseball Player. He also happens to be an American citizen. Mr. Rodriguez’s treatment by MLB makes it hard to swallow that his employers are fully aware of this. It appears, in fact, that MLB considers one of its signature employees a faulty product it’s recalling.
And for that this space is openly imploring Mr. Rodriguez to take immediate legal action against MLB, so it can explain its motivation for threatening to deny his right to work based on circumstantial evidence that he broke any of the collectively bargained rules agreed to by the league and its Players Association.
And, as a result of this proposed legal action, this space hopes once and for all that MLB’s ridiculous exemption from the United States’ anti-trust laws be ceased, so its $9 billion enterprise can finally be litigated like every other business in this so-called democracy.
The current MLB “investigation” resembles more a witch hunt against one particular player than satisfies the grounds in which that player can be harassed with the threat of suspension. Such a suspension, whether it is the reported remainder of this season and all of next, never mind this insane nonsense of banning him for life, will cause adverse career ramifications for Mr. Rodriguez.
This is not some mere penalty handed out by a game. This is a man’s life and livelihood at stake and if it is to be impinged in any way, then there needs to be just cause. There is not.
In order for MLB to suspend a first-time offender for a maximum of 50 games, that player must fail a random blood test. MLB does not have a positive blood sample from Mr. Rodriguez. What MLB has is the testimony of a drug dealer and a vague list of clientele from a Miami biogenesis lab, which the league sued this past March for selling illegal substances to a handful of its players. In less specious terms, under the agreement MLB has with the Player’s Association, it has no grounds to perpetuate these actions against Rodriguez.
Yet the man the sports types call A-Rod, a cute nickname which reduces him to a figure from a children’s game and not an American citizen that provides him protection under the Bill of Rights, is currently the subject a dubious investigation for being linked with the lab in question. I merely use the word “dubious” to point out that while there has been a lot of unsubstantiated jabber about a preponderance of evidence piled up against Mr. Rodriguez, much of it has yet to surface, and the league, which is oh-for the courts in its long and sordid history, fails to engender any benefit of the doubt.
Moreover, this is a league well versed in the practice of leaking harmful information on an employee it wishes to besmirch preceding a suspension. In fact, MLB has done this once before to the very same Mr. Rodriguez. This ham-fisted but effective burying of a player’s reputation queers public opinion and riles the sports writing world (where nearly every speculation has something of a 17 percent success rate), making the subject guilty in the court of public opinion before any actual evidence is revealed.
In 2003, MLB conducted its “anonymous” testing of hundreds of players for steroid use; a test the league promised in collective bargaining with the Player’s Association to keep sealed. For reasons only known to MLB, in 2009, Mr. Rodriguez’s name happened to wind up in the notebook of a reporter working for the most prominent sports magazine in the nation. When Sports Illustrated got a hold of this illegally leaked information, Mr. Rodriguez had to eat shit, call press conferences, and deal with the fallout.
This leaking method was especially efficient on A-Rod, who, while he could not be suspended since no rules had yet to be put in place, was branded as an actual offender by proxy.
There was a time not long ago when Alex Rodriguez was arguably the best player in the majors and well on his way to perhaps being the best to ever play his position. He was an exceptional shortstop; a defensive master, and a high-average, run-producing machine with immense power. He plied his trade in Seattle, Washington and then Arlington, Texas, where he became a star. In 2003, he morphed into something of a celebrity icon when he was traded to the NY Yankees, the most famous professional franchise in the biggest city on planet earth. It was here where he became notorious for appearing with the TMZ set.
This put an already intolerable celebrity big ticket athlete on the shit list of a majority of the Americans, who, while worshiping the rich and famous, and harboring a love-hate fascination with New York City, tend to hold same with deep seated jealousies. Mr. Rodriguez was our specially packaged asshole; much of it, truth be told, due to his Herculean self-inflicted narcissistic idiocy. He’s a dumb jock; a muscle-headed pretty boy dickhead; none of which is even remotely illegal or pertinent to his first run-in with MLB, which was merely a media circus since before 2005 it was not even a rules violation for players to use PEDs.
In fact, one could argue that MLB not only ignored the use of PEDs, but in many ways, encouraged it, as did the sanctimonious band of feckless sports writers who made good livings sending sonnets to press about Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa’s famed home run chase in 1998; when both were most likely jacked to the tits on every steroid known to modern man.
MLB commissioner, Bug Selig, forever tarnished with presiding over the longest and most wildly uncontrolled abuse of PEDs in modern sport, subsequently reaping billions in revenues for MLB and its owners, finds he can no longer handle bad steroid press on his watch. Back when the homers produced by PEDs were pulling his sagging sport out of distant third place behind the NFL and the NBA, neither Selig nor his giddy owners could ever have dreamed the level of shock and awe produced from human parade floats making a mockery of baseball’s sanctified record books. This turned Daddy Warbucks into Captain Morality, and so now Selig wants desperately for there to be a symbol of steroids that has nothing to do with him.
Bud Selig simply needs a scapegoat, since Barry Bonds beat his system and then Roger Clemens went to congress and pissed on him. Whether they or Mr. Rodriguez are actually guilty of PED use is not at issue. They probably were and he probably is, but there are rules in place to cease this behavior, and none of these applies to his case.
So it’s Mr. Rodriguez’s turn to be the scapegoat and he should not take it. He needs to sue baseball for threatening to deny him the right to earn a living. Most of all, Mr. Rodriguez needs to put before a court the atavistic anti-trust exception that MLB has enjoyed for a century of its outside-the-law practices. He must break the backs of these tyrants and force baseball out of the shadows of American business practices.
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of the Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus” , “Midnight for Cinderella” and "y".
READERS RESPONSES August 10th 2013
Your fight on this issue over the years has been inspiring. (DOWN GOES DOMA – Issue: 7/3/13) And this latest column had just the right amount of defiant ecstasy over the historic Supreme Court ruling that was way overdue. But there is still much to be done on Civil Rights in this country. There is an attack on women’s reproductive rights going on in the south and voter suppression in almost all the states. This is but one issue that needs to be addressed and I notice you don’t hit those as hard.
Also, I believe you have to be more involved on the ground. I happen to know that you often turn down speaking engagements and appearances at rallies or protests for marriage equality and this is disappointing. You have pointed out in print in the past you feel that “taking it to the streets” is a waste of time and only clogs up movements, but how do you explain the original Civil Rights movement or the protests against the unjust Viet Nam War and even the latest TEA PARTY or Occupy Wall Street movements that produced press and put the onus on those causes. The TEA PARTY has all but taken over the majority of one of our political parties in this country and sent dozens of lawmakers to Capitol Hill.
To celebrate the legal ramifications of systemic bigotry is one thing, but it must be put in motion to challenge the now illegal activity of a vast majority of our states.
Having said all that, there has not been a more vociferous and challenging voice than yours for this just cause and for that I applaud you and only hope we can see you on the front lines.
Thank you for standing tall on this most pressing issue to many of us. When people vote against the rights of another citizen in many ways they are destroying the fabric of our founding fathers, who put in place watchdog measures for a future they would and could not imagine, even the groundwork to one day allow this country to abolish slavery and allow women the right to work and vote as equals with men. No one, and I mean no one, I have read outside the gay community or even the left-wing political underground movement has had a more eloquent stance on same sex marriage. This is a great victory for the gay community, America (whether it knows it or not) and progressive freethinkers everywhere.
Enjoy this. These victories sometimes come but once a lifetime. At least it seems like that for me. My voice, my individual voice, feels like it has been give volume; true, lasting, binding and American volume.
And so has yours.
Congrats…I know this is big for you…I’m now 100% aligned with you on the termination of DOMA. ( my thoughts on this issue have ‘evolved’ similar to Obama )
Now, if we can just get the IRS to get rid of the marriage penalty…seems to me that married folk have the exact same argument vs single.
Well said. And at the same time, I just wish the Supreme Court had the decency and courtesy to uphold the Constitution and protect us from ObamaCare.
Elizabeth Vengen Esq.
This just proves there is no compromise on the left. The left in this nation knows they are at war with the traditional fabric of this nation. There can be no compromise, only victory. Marriage did in fact mean something. Now we change definitions and meanings to meet the political movement of the day. The left wants gays to be called married so they get the media and Hollywood hard to work at influencing opinion and almost 40 years after Toms Hanks worked in drag we now have "equality". It seems the only people still allowed to be offended are Christian Conservatives. Why wasn't Civil Union good enough? It gave gays all the property rights, tax benefits and estate transfer remedies they sought. Why wasn't that good enough? It wasn't good enough because it didn't give them what they wanted while slicing another tear into the traditional American fabric.
As for your short argument, it is another wrong argument. When I was in the service, I wanted to be one of the President’s 100. These soldiers are better known as Tomb Guards. Yes, I wanted to be a guard at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. Well, after clearing all of my schools, I inquired only to find out that the minimum height for this job was 5'8. So under the lefts belief I should sue instead of do what I did which is respect the tradition as it is greater than myself and remain in the 101st Airborne Division.
I finally figured out how the left continually wins. They are more fired up yet patient than the right. The American Left understands the long game and can wait us out and then push on when we tire of the fight. I still question where does it end? What will be the last fabric to shred and send this Republic tumbling to the ash heap of history?
I assume you are a homosexual, and if so, why is it that you must impose your lifestyle on the rest of us, or more to the point, the majority of America. It is an unnatural sinful lifestyle and like any crime, one against nature and against the moral parameters of any society, it should be shunned. Of course you may live the life you wish, as long as you don’t harm anyone like the Catholic priests who hide behind the altar to attack children. It is horrifying to even think of it. But to push it on the people of this nation, who have built it on Judea-Christian values, is wrong. I am sorry if you think I am a bigot, or label me one in this disgusting column of yours, but this is how I feel. And I have every right to voice it as you do.
You are wrong about this and you should be ashamed for your words and your deeds and your personal life that his heaved on us through your confessions here.
The moral fabric of this nation dies a little every time judges try and overturn the will of the people and the will of the people is that marriage is sanctified between a man and woman and nothing can change that. Ever.
Egypt: James Campion
Egypt is bipolar; even in its geographical location. Trouble is inevitable.