COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - Bud Selig knows that many people believe the 211-game suspension he issued to Alex Rodriguez was excessive, including A-Rod himself, as indicated by his appeal.
The commissioner of Major League Baseball doesn't care.
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"It's not difficult for me at all," Selig said Thursday at the conclusion of the owners meetings. "I spent many, many hours thinking about it. Trying to be fair, trying to be logical and rational. And one thing you learn in his job after 20-something years, I wouldn't second-guess it today at all.
"I know why I did it, and what I did. I thought it was eminently fair then and I think it's eminently fair today."
Major League Baseball suspended 13 players on Aug. 5 for their alleged involvement with Biogenesis, with a dozen accepting their 50-game punishments. But Rodriguez held out to appeal after receiving a 211-game ban for what Selig described then as "his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human growth hormone over the course of multiple years."
Selig also has accused Rodriguez of "engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the office of the commissioner's investigation." With such extensive charges against him, MLB issued a separate news release that day for A-Rod, whose penalty far exceeded the 65-game suspension Ryan Braun agreed to July 22.
Still, Selig denied this was any sort of personal attack on Rodriguez as some have presented it to be.
"I can't control what other people say and do," Selig said. "I have a job to do and the job is to protect the integrity of the sport and enforce our program and that's what I'm going to do. It's no more involved than that and that's exactly what it is."
As for Rodriguez's appeal, which is not likely to be heard for at least another month due to the complicated nature of the case, Selig insists he's not worried about being the public face of the prosecution.
"It's part of my job and part of my life, I guess," Selig said. "I'm very comfortable with what our people have done -- very comfortable. We're proud that we have the toughest drug testing program in American sports, but to have an effective program, it has to be enforced aggressively and should be. I made a commitment to a lot of people and a lot of entities that we would do everything we can to clean up this sport. We have, we will and we'll continue to do so."