Alex Rodriguez's lawyers rest their case, frustrated with process, MLB
With yet another blast at commissioner Bud Selig and the arbitration process, Alex Rodriguez's legal team rested its case as the player's appeal of his 211-game suspension ended. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz is expected to render a decision by early January.
Rodriguez didn't attend Thursday's hearing.
Lead attorney Joe Tacopina said he had no more to offer in the appeal. "We're not going to participate in a process that's obviously a fait accompli," he said. "We're absolutely shutting down. We'll wait for the decision -- which we all sort of expect based on what's gone on here -- then we'll take it to a real jurisdiction."
At stake for Rodriguez, 38, is a large part of the remainder of his career and about $31 million of the $89 million he is owed by the Yankees.
The 12-day hearing, marked by an acrimonious volley of accusations from both sides, began its final day with Rodriguez's lawyers picking up where Rodriguez had left off Wednesday, when he bolted from that hearing and lambasted Selig during a radio interview on WFAN over his failure to testify in the arbitration.
"We can't go kidnap him in Milwaukee and bring him here," Tacopina said of Selig Thursday. "What we'll do is we'll head to another [court] after this is done. We will be able to depose Mr. Selig one way or another."
Horowitz had ruled on Wednesday that Selig did not have to testify in the appeal, which was filed after discipline was handed out in the aftermath of Major League Baseball's investigation into Biogenesis, which linked Rodriguez and other players to performance-enhancing drugs.
An irate Rodriguez walked out of the hearing and said he was done with the process.
Tacopina said he wanted to release all the evidence from the confidential process but could not make a unilateral decision to do so.
Tacopina said Rodriguez and the legal team's mood is "frustration. How can you call a process fair, even remotely fair, we understand it's not judicial process, but it's supposed to be one that metes out fairness and balance.
"This [Selig] is the individual that single-handedly has said this unprecedented, unwarranted suspension should be handed down to this guy. He needs to be up there explaining what happened . . . Of course it's personal, it's obviously personal. Explain to me how all these other players got 50 games and Alex somehow gets 211."
Tacopina said Rodriguez was ready to testify but "had a change of heart happen when [Selig] decided to bail out and not have the courage to get up and look in the eyes of Alex and explain his decision . . . [Rodriguez] is not going to subject himself to a proceeding that's not a fair one that seems to be an already predetermined outcome. We're not going to do that."
Another Rodriguez attorney, David Cornwell, added, "The real issue with the commissioner's failure to testify is that they failed to carry their burden so we don't have to prove that Alex didn't do it, they have to prove that he did. His failure to testify means they haven't carried their burden."
Jordan Siev of the firm Reed Smith, who is also part of Rodriguez's legal team, said, "The case has been vigorously defended for 10 full days of hearings, the suggestion that anyone has given up is not correct. We are prepared to go in and rest our case on the record that's already been presented. We think MLB has not met its burden and that the case and that the grievance should be upheld and the suspension overturned."
Siev said Selig was put on the witness list in September and "we don't hear a word from MLB until two days ago that they were objecting to him coming into this proceeding. So any suggestion that this was a staged event is completely false."