After Monday's gotcha moment on the set of the "Today" show, the attorney for Alex Rodriguez said he is preparing to return fire at Major League Baseball, perhaps as early as Wednesday, with a letter of his own that may suggest even wider boundaries for the public release of information crucial to the 211-game suspension.
Joseph Tacopina did not sign MLB's original letter, a two-page confidentiality waiver, handed to him by the show's host Matt Lauer in one of the stranger moments of the increasingly bizarre events that began with Bud Selig issuing A-Rod's suspension on Aug. 5.
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Tacopina's next step, apparently, is to again push MLB on the confidentiality issue, with Tacopina still saying his goal remains to have all of the information in the A-Rod case exposed before the arbitration hearing. Tacopina repeatedly has questioned that evidence, which does not include a positive test for PEDs, and insists the suspension is solely based on witness testimony and not any scientific proof of misconduct.
It already has been reported that MLB paid for the Biogenesis lists that were central to the investigation and has promised to pick up any legal costs incurred by Anthony Bosch, the alleged PED clinic's founder, should that come into play. Tacopina has attacked Bosch, accusing him on the "Today" show of "peddling drugs to high school kids."
Even so, Bosch has been reliable enough to help convince 12 players to accept 50-game suspensions and Ryan Braun a 65-game ban. It's unclear what Tacopina has in mind for his retaliatory strike against MLB, but he did say he "wants to call their bluff" after Monday's letter.
Otherwise, Tuesday was relatively quiet after an aggressive media tour by Tacopina a day earlier, when he appeared on the "Today" show, followed by spots on ESPN and CNN's "Situation Room." With Rodriguez's arbitration hearing still weeks away, the back-and-forth between the two sides likely will continue. To what degree may depend on what happens with the confidentiality provisions involved with baseball's joint drug agreement and collective bargaining agreement.
In Monday's letter, which was written and signed by MLB's executive vice president for economics and league affairs Rob Manfred, the offer was made to drop much of the confidentiality involved with Rodriguez -- for both sides. That letter, obtained by Newsday, said in part:
"We will agree to waive those provisions as they apply to both Rodriguez and the Office of Commissioner of Baseball with respect to Rodriguez's entire history under the Program, including, but not limited to, his testing history, test results, violations of the Program, and all information and evidence relating to Rodriguez's treatment by Anthony Bosch, Anthony Galea and Victor Conte."
But Tacopina balked at the letter, telling Newsday it was a "cheap publicity stunt" and "theatrical trap" designed to get him to breach the confidentiality clause of the CBA by signing it. After Tacopina cited the need for the Players Association to co-sign the document as well, Manfred responded by saying he would gladly add another signature line at the bottom and also expected the union to cooperate with such a request.
That put the ball back in Tacopina's court, but it doesn't seem likely to stay there for very long. Not after what both sides have been serving up the past few days.