There is not a bridge left in baseball that Alex Rodriguez has not burned. From the league, to his team, to the player's association -- in the fight over his steroid suspension, the Yankees slugger doesn't have any friends left. The New York Times' Serge Kovaleski and the Steve Eder report Rodriguez's team of lawyers wrote a letter requesting the player's union step aside as Rodriguez's first line of defense in his appeal against Major League Baseball's 211 game suspension for steroid use: Rodriguez wanted to pick who would represent him on the three-person arbitration panel that will ultimately decide his fate. (Or at least leave the decision up to his impressive, immense, highly paid team of lawyers.) Rodriguez said the union was, in his mind, not doing an adequate job defending him from the league's steroid investigation:
The letter argued that the players association had missed opportunities to challenge baseball officials’ aggressive investigative tactics; that the union had not strongly enough condemned baseball’s “gratuitous leaks” to the news media; and, most pointedly, that Michael Weiner, the union’s executive director, had publicly compromised Rodriguez’s position in a radio interview when he signaled that Rodriguez should have accepted some type of suspension “based on the evidence we saw.” Rodriguez and his personal lawyers have steadfastly maintained that Rodriguez should not have been suspended.
But Rodriguez's effort didn't work: the player's union chose David Prouty, their general counsel, to represent Rodriguez during the appeal process, which began Monday. The letter Rodriguez sent to the player's union was addressed to Prouty. He surely appreciated it.
And so, the 38-year-old Yankees shortstop has very few friends left inside the game he has dominated (when healthy) over the last decade. The league wants to suspend him for more than a full season, setting up a potential comeback when the slugger is pushing 40, for allegedly using steroids. On Friday, he filed a lawsuit agains the league and commissioner Bud Selig accusing them of, among other things, destroying "the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez, one of the most accomplished Major League Baseball players of all time." (His words.) He has also publicly feuded with Yankees executives this year, who he accused of trying to get out from under the remaining $82 million on his contract. (The suspension, if it holds, will save the team $32 million and get them under the luxury tax for the 2014 season.) It's not that Rodriguez is sticking to a "no new friends" policy: he doesn't want any friends at all.