NEW YORK — It was hardly a surprise that Alex Rodriguez’s lawyers went to federal court in Manhattan on Monday to try to halt his seasonlong doping suspension. What was intriguing was the degree to which the legal filing they made to vacate the suspension targets Rodriguez’s union, contending that it “abdicated its responsibility” to defend the New York Yankees’ third baseman as baseball moved to suspend him.
The filing, as expected, also singles out Major League Baseball and accuses Fredric Horowitz, the arbitrator who ruled Saturday that Rodriguez should sit out all of the 2014 season, of a “manifest disregard for the law” in arriving at his decision. It says that Horowitz, who reduced the original 211-game ban baseball imposed on Rodriguez in August to a full season of 162 games, did not display impartiality as an arbitrator and refused to consider evidence Rodriguez’s side presented in its efforts to have much, or all, of the suspension overturned.
But it was the strategy to go after the players association — described by legal experts as a necessary step for Rodriguez to build his case that he was not adequately represented — that stood out and underlined just how many opponents Rodriguez has accumulated in seeking to remain on the field.
Among other things, the filing accuses the union of failing to intervene to stop the leaking of “prejudicial information” by Major League Baseball and of failing to stop what it described as the “abusive investigative tactics” baseball used to obtain evidence against Rodriguez. The filing also says the union provided only perfunctory help during Rodriguez’s arbitration hearing.
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Three pages of the filing single out statements made by Michael Weiner, who died Nov. 21 after four years as head of the players union. The filing is directly critical of Weiner, contending that several statements he made last summer had the effect of prejudging Rodriguez’s guilt and “corrupted the arbitration process.”
Monday evening, the players association responded to the filing’s harsh words with a toughly worded two-paragraph statement. In it, the union’s new head, Tony Clark, said Rodriguez’s lawyers’ claim that it had failed to adequately represent Rodriguez was “outrageous.” And he described the criticism of Weiner as “gratuitous” and “inexcusable.”
Remarkably, the union had risen to Rodriguez’s defense just 24 hours before, accusing baseball officials Sunday night of “piling on” by participating in a piece on the Rodriguez case that ran on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
• The Chicago Cubs are introducing a mascot for the first time in the team’s long history.
Drawings released by the Cubs on Monday show a young bear wearing a Cubs jersey and a backward blue baseball cap. The mascot is named Clark; the team plays at Wrigley Field, located at Clark and Addison streets on Chicago’s North Side.
• Former Mariner Wladimir Balentien, who broke Japan’s season homer record last year, has been arrested in Florida on domestic violence charges, police said Monday.
Court records show the 29-year-old Balentien is facing a felony false imprisonment charge and a misdemeanor battery charge in a weekend confrontation at his wife’s Miami-area house. An attorney for Balentien’s wife, Karla, said Monday that the couple, married for about six years, is going through a divorce. Balentien is an outfielder with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows and hit 60 homers last year, breaking Sadaharu Oh’s longstanding record of 55
• Outfielder Dayan Viciedo and the Chicago White Sox have agreed to a $2.8 million one-year contract and avoided arbitration.