Tommy Lasorda once thought Alex Rodriguez was one of the few clean sluggers in baseball. Not any longer. Now, the former Dodgers manager and Baseball Hall of Famer says Rodriguez is "trying to ruin the game."
Lasorda, speaking before the Baseball Alliance Team (B.A.T.) fundraising dinner yesterday at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, said the 162-game suspension given to A-Rod by an arbitrator wasn't enough.
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"He should have gotten more," Lasorda said.
Rodriguez initially was given a 211-game suspension by Major League Baseball for violating the league's drug policy and interfering with an investigation into his relationship with the Biogenesis clinic. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz cut the penalty to 162 games on Jan. 11.
Two days later, a lawsuit was filed in federal court against the MLB Players Association for breach of duty. The suit also accused former MLBPA head Michael Weiner of failing to properly defend Rodriguez. Weiner's memory was honored at the B.A.T. dinner Tuesday night. He died of brain cancer in November. A-Rod is also suing the league.
Several players reportedly wanted Rodriguez kicked out of the union after he sued it, but lawyers said it was not allowed.
Former Mets player Rusty Staub said before the B.A.T. dinner that Rodriguez's action against the MLBPA is "pathetic" and he believes many former players agree.
"He's done a lot [wrong]," Lasorda said. "I've always had great admiration for him. I knew him before he graduated high school. When he was hitting those home runs, I thought at least this guy is doing it legitimately. Of course, we found out he wasn't. I just think it's bad."
Lasorda wouldn't finger MLB commissioner Bud Selig for not doing enough to combat the Steroid Era. But he's "disappointed" in baseball because of its players' rampant cheating. Rodriguez and others who have been caught taking performance-enhancing drugs don't belong in the Hall of Fame, Lasorda said.
"That's a tremendous gift to you to be able to be put in baseball's Hall of Fame," he said. "To be put in there, you gotta represent that for the rest of your life as a Hall of Famer. When somebody breaks the rules, they don't belong in it."
Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers from 1976-96, doesn't think Rodriguez should continue to fight his suspension. He said when he played in the '50s, PEDs weren't even on the radar.
"We never heard of steroids," Lasorda said. "Half the guys couldn't even spell it."