Commissioner Bud Selig is prepared to levy a lifetime suspension on New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, while suspending about eight others before the weekend, two people with knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.The people were unauthorized to speak publicly because no announcement is expected until Thursday or Friday. Rodriguez, according to his attorney, David Cornwell, will appeal any suspension, regardless of the severity. The other players are expected to receive 50-game bans, and most are considering accepting the discipline without appealing, according to one of the people.
If you’re an A-Rod hater, and there are any number of reasons to find the Yankees’ current third baseman supremely irritating, it might be attempting to celebrate this attempt to expel him from baseball. And if you’re a Yankees’ fan, you might be relieved that Selig is doing Brian Cashman’s work for him, and finding a way for the Yankees to cut bait on Rodriguez’s salary. But as Travis explained earlier this week, we all really need to resist that impulse. He wrote:
If baseball tries to ban Rodriguez for life — a practice that occurred primarily before the MLBPA was formed and was usually only upheld when players were accused of associating with gamblers or conspiring to fix games — it would likely be inviting another fight it probably can’t win and that would risk bringing 20 years of labor peace to a crushing end. Baseball players might not like A-Rod — some may even be arguing that he and Braun should have their contracts voided — but I doubt they’d enjoy giving up most of their contract and bargaining rights to owners, either. And while the union might not love the idea of defending Rodriguez, it also can’t allow MLB to make up the rules for punishing drug users as it goes along if it wants to keep its credibility as a union. There is a process, one the union made considerable efforts to craft. It can’t just toss it out the window now because an unpopular player is the one facing punishment.
Selig’s move to suspend Rodriguez will be just the beginning of a protracted battle. And as much as we might be tempted to side with Selig, I think Travis makes strong case that we have to rise above our impulses.