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Ron Kaplan Headshot

How to Make A-Rod Sympathetic

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Say what you will about Alex Rodriguez -- hate him for his arrogance, disdain him for his ego, be jealous of his salary, etc. -- shouldn't he nevertheless be accorded the same due process as anyone else? I guess that concept doesn't apply to pro athletes.

There has been a lot of chatter on social media about the latest 60 Minutes feature on Rodriguez. My non-scientific analysis reveals the majority of the comments came down on his side of Rodriguez and against MLB for "buying testimony."

Believe me, I'm not an A-Rod apologist, but I've yet to hear anything from anyone I consider unbiased coming down against the ballplayer. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, seeking to cement his legacy as he heads for retirement, simply sits back and invokes the "for the good of the game" clause as justification for whatever he wants to do.

(On the other hand, we frequently hear about how the Commissioner and the owners turned a collective blind eye when all those home runs were being hit and putting fannies in the seats.)

Looking at the 60 Minutes segments raises a number of red flags:

  • Bosch comes across as an idiot and a weasel. He's basically saying, let's break the rules, but by doing it the right way. If he didn't get caught, he'd still be doing it; that's probably one of the few truths coming out of his mouth. That and the notion that he never thought about the integrity of the game, and justifies the PED because of the exhaustive nature of the game.
  • Editing. Always an issue. What was not included and why (other than time)?
  • Dragging the information out of Manfred, who may not have offered that MLB paid for the incriminating documents had not the reporter put it on him point blank. On the issue of threats made against the safety of Bosch:

Q: Are you saying that Alex Rodriguez and/or his associates were involved in threatening to kill Tony Bosch?

A: The individual that was of greatest concern to Mr. Bosch was a known associate of Mr. Rodriguez.

Q: Do you think Rodriguez knew about the threats to Bosch's life?

A: I don't know what Mr. Rodriguez knew. I know that the individual involved has been an associate for Mr. Rodriguez's for some time.

Maybe I'm just reading into things, but note that Manfred doesn't actually say Rodriguez et al. were involved, just that Bosch was worried. So I guess that's good enough and justifies MLB's dropping their lawsuit against Bosch and picking up the tab for his security and legal fees. Certainly seems like he worked out a great deal for himself.

And as for Manfred serving on the arbitration panel? That seems fair.

Joe Tacopina, Rodriguez's lead attorney, also comes across as a bit oily, but he's just doing his job by defending his client. A lot of people seem to want to put him on the spot because a) he's an attorney and b) he's A-Rod's attorney.

There's a lot of circular accusations. MLB says A-Rod never testified that he didn't do the crime-of-the-month; the ballplayer's people say he walked out because he wasn't allowed to confront Selig. But Rodriguez immediately running to appear on WFAN's Mike Francesca program to vehemently deny any wrongdoing kind of reminded me of Rafael Palmeiro's appearance before Congress.

Whatever happens, it's gonna be more fire for the furnace when it comes to A-Rod's proposed memoir.

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