(USA TODAY) -- Major League Baseball and the players association, which previously
had maintained a tone of respect and cooperation through the messy Alex
Rodriguez ordeal, appear ready to get down into the muck with him
organizations issued critical statements about each other today
regarding an appearance by MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred and
by Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch in the news program "60 Minutes.''
the show, Bosch details the extent of A-Rod's involvement with
performance-enhancing drugs and says he shot the New York Yankees third
baseman with steroids and instructed him on how to avoid detection.
a statement released after the arbitrator's ruling was announced,
Rodriguez called the evidence against him "false and unreliable.''
appears on "60 Minutes'' defending the steps MLB took to punish
Rodriguez for his involvement with Biogenesis, the since-shuttered
clinic accused of dispensing PEDs to players. Those steps included
buying Biogenesis documents.
NIGHTENGALE: A-Rod's spotlight has dimmed for good
Saturday, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz upheld most of MLB's suspension
of Rodriguez, reducing it from 211 games to 162, meaning he'll be banned
for the 2014 season and postseason. Rodriguez has vowed to take his
case to federal court.
The players union, which on Saturday said
it disagreed with Horowitz's decision but recognized it as final and
binding, was incensed that Manfred and Bosch would take their case to
the news media. Other juicy bits to come out in the two-part "60
Minutes'' segment include Manfred's belief that Rodriguez's camp
threatened Bosch, and Bosch saying A-Rod would take testosterone
lozenges just before games.
"It is unfortunate that Major League
Baseball apparently lacks faith in the integrity and finality of the
arbitrator's decision and our Joint Drug Agreement, such that it could
not resist the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez,''
the MLBPA statement said. "It is equally troubling that the
MLB-appointed Panel Arbitrator will himself be appearing in the "60
Minutes" segment, and that Tony Bosch, MLB's principal witness, is
appearing on the program with MLB's blessing.
rush to the media is inconsistent with our collectively-bargained
arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and
credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement, in particular. After learning
of tonight's "60 Minutes" segment, Players have expressed anger over,
among other things, MLB's inability to let the result of yesterday's
decision speak for itself. As a result, the Players Association is
considering all legal options available to remedy any breaches committed
A little over an hour later, MLB fired off its own PR shot.
have notified the Major League Baseball Players Association on numerous
occasions that we intended to respond to all of the attacks on the
integrity of our Joint Drug Program,'' baseball's statement said. "Those
attacks continued yet again yesterday with Mr. Rodriguez's statement.
Out of respect to the grievance process and at the request of the MLBPA,
we waited until a decision was rendered to make our response.
is ironic that the MLBPA is complaining about MLB's participation in
this program given that Mr. Rodriguez's lawyer is also participating in
"As to Mr. Bosch's appearance, he is not controlled by
us and is entitled to speak however he chooses about his interactions
with Mr. Rodriguez."
In one of the more compelling exchanges,
Manfred tells reporter Steve Pelley that Bosch feared for his life
because of threats made by an associate of Rodriguez's.
"The individual that was of greatest concern to Mr. Bosch,' Manfred said, "was a known associate of Mr. Rodriguez. ... I don't know what Mr. Rodriguez knew. I know that the individual involved has been an associate of Mr. Rodriguez for some time."
described a scene in which he drew vials of blood from Rodriguez in the
bathroom stall of a Miami nightclub after Rodriguez missed an
appointment to have his blood tested before going on Bosch's doping
He also cited text messages Rodriguez sent before games
asking which substances to take, both for maximum performance and also
to avert detection should he be faced with a postgame drug test.
Rodriguez declined to appear on the show, though he was represented by one of his attorneys, Joseph Tacopina.
jousting both on air and via press release runs counter to the current
air of cooperation between MLB and its players' association.
once was a strained relationship led to eight work stoppages between the
early 1970s and mid-1990s, including the 1994 strike that forced the
cancellation of the World Series.
But the parties established a
much better rapport in recent years, especially after Michael Weiner
succeeded Donald Fehr as executive director late in 2009. Weiner died of
brain cancer in November and was replaced by former player Tony Clark.
union's new leadership is now facing its first big challenge with the
Rodriguez case, and it has the potential to become a wedge between the
players and MLB. The current collective bargaining agreement expires
Dec. 1, 2016.
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