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Cuban's Sour Grapes

August 12, 2013 - Al Stephenson
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban appeared on a late night talk show and had some harsh words for baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Cuban suggested that baseball's treatment of Alex Rodriguez was awful. He suggested two things that caught my attention. One was the fact that A-Rod should not be singled out because he is a star of the game. The second was that baseball already had a drug policy in affect and it should be used. That would mean a 50 game suspension for a first offense and a 100 game ban for a second.

A-Rod, Cuban pointed out, was being singled out and Bud Selig was making it personal. Boy oh boy, where do I start.

Cuban should be aware of the fact that the best players in every professional sports league get special treatment, though its usually preferential and beneficial treatment. The stars in the NBA do not often foul out. The best players in baseball have a little different strike zone than the rookies. It has already been established that all players will not be treated the same. When it comes to discipline, I too think they should be treated the same and I believe that is what Cuban is referring to. That is not the case here and it brings his second point into play.

We are not talking about positive drug test results with these guys. We are talking about an investigation. The 50 or 100 game suspensions do not apply here. What does apply is that major league baseball has done an exhaustive investigation into drug use and the evidence shows players cheated. Ryan Braun was given the option of accepting a season ending suspension that amounted to 65 games. He jumped on it. An admission of guilt. You bet.

The other players including Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz were also given season ending suspensions. They too agreed to the punishment. The only one who didn't take the deal was A-Rod. Why not? Well his ban was for the rest of this season and all of next. Why was his suspension so much longer than the others and why is he appealing it? Let's see if we can't see what Mark Cuban may be missing.

Alex Rodriguez admitting to using PED's while playing for the Texas Rangers. Now evidence seems to be showing that he is still using them. Evidence also seems to show he has recruited other players to do the same. Evidence further shows that A-Rod tried to thwart baseball's investigation. Is A-Rod being punished because he is a star and baseball is trying to send a message that players need to clean up their act? If baseball is willing to go after one of the games superstars, they surely will punish anyone...

Personally I think it is convenient that it is a star that is being punished because it does send a message, but that's not what is happening here. A-Rod has committed a litany of sins and his punishment is covering all of them. Thus the length of his suspension. The punishment is coming from Selig's ability as commissioner to act on what is best for baseball, not the negotiated drug policy.

It's personal because A-Rod has made it so. He is appealing because if he accepts the terms of the punishment his career is all but over. Who would want him in 2015? He will be 40 with two bad hips. He is getting what he can by appealing, both in financial terms and career statistics. There are many who believe his stats should not count anyway, but he added to his home run and RBI totals just yesterday.

As for Mark Cuban, he has twice tried to buy a major league franchise and was twice rebuffed. Is it possible that he is speaking out more out of sour grapes than personal beliefs? You can decide.

The view from my seat suggests that this saga will go on and on as the appeal process runs it course. If it all leads to players no longer cheating then the wait will be worth it and major league baseball will survive and flourish.

A-Rod will do neither.


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