Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 6 of the A-Rod arbitration

By Steve Kallas (posted by Rick Morris)

Alex Rodriguez and his band of lawyers returned to 245 Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday morning to resume his arbitration appealing his 211-game suspension by Major League Baseball (“MLB”).  Another all-day affair concluded with A-Rod coming out of the building at 6:10 and doing his now familiar walk in front of (yesterday) about 60-75 supporters, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

The supporters sported new signs in support of A-Rod, including at least one new one with vicious content (“Bud Selig is a Child Killer”).  Free speech reigns supreme outside 245 Park Avenue.

What’s going on inside (the arbitration, in 2013 America is closed to the public and the media) is very interesting.  Yesterday, according to the Daily News, MLB introduced drug experts and other witnesses to corroborate the previous testimony of Anthony Bosch with respect to A-Rod’s connection to performance-enhancing drugs through Bosch’s former company, Biogenesis.


Next up for MLB is expected to be Rob Manfred, who not only is MLB’s Chief Operating Officer, but also is a member of the three-man arbitration panel actually hearing this case.  The fact that a member of the panel is stepping down from the panel to actually give testimony (apparently as to MLB’s conduct during the A-Rod investigation and other matters) and then returning to the arbitration panel is unusual, to say the least (for one example, does he have to judge his own creditability; hopefully you understand the absurdity of that).  It smacks to this attorney/writer as something that is full of inherent conflicts, to say the least.

While it has been reported that this happens in baseball arbitrations and also that, apparently, Manfred was on the witness list given to the A-Rod legal team, it will be interesting to see if A-Rod’s lawyers object to allowing Manfred to testify.  This (a member of a judicial-like panel stepping off the panel to testify in a case and then returning to the panel) could never happen in a court of law.

While arbitrations have much more lenient standards of admitting evidence, and while, generally speaking, the MLB representative votes for MLB and the Players Union representative votes for the player, it says here that a federal judge, if A-Rod is unhappy with the decision of the arbitrator and decides to try and overturn it in a federal court down the road, would, at a minimum, frown upon such a process.

Three lawyers (including one who is an arbitrator) who were asked about this strange procedure (an arbitrator on a panel testifying for one side and then returning to the panel) all found it bizarre, one saying that it goes against the basic tenets of the American legal system.

This may be a fascinating part of a potential appeal of this arbitration decision to a federal judge (if A-Rod is unhappy with the result).

The arbitration resumes Thursday morning.


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