Jon Heyman has a report in SI saying that Bud Selig has added the pitch tipping allegations in Selena Robert’s book to the steroid inquiry they announced a few days ago. It reads:
Major League Baseball is expanding its investigation of Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez by adding the pitch-tipping allegation spelled out in Selena Roberts’ new book A-Rod to the agenda, people familiar with the inquiry told SI.com.
While MLB is expected to call back Rodriguez himself, as well as others connected to those 2001-03 Texas Rangers teams when the pitch tipping supposedly took place, the expectation to prove any pitch tipping on Rodriguez’s part has to be extraordinarily low.
MLB’s burden of proof in a case like that would have to be extremely high to take action; they’d need either Rodriguez to admit to the charges, or for someone else intimately involved to swear to it. It would seem futile to go over video of the games and try to match up alleged tips and pitches, especially since ex-Rangers teammates have come forward to say they didn’t notice any tipping, and they were there.
A few things. His point about the other Rangers players is irrelevant. This was (allegedly) a pact between two players, done in secret with signals that appeared innocuous. If you weren’t in on the deal, you wouldn’t notice anything.
Now to Baseball and the legalities. People typically dismiss Selig in these matters, citing that he doesn’t have subpoena power. Last time I checked neither does Selena Roberts, yet according to her multiple sources were willing to talk about this matter. Whether she had direct, first person accounts or Shane Spencer hearsay is another matter, and is key to how this plays out. If its hearsay, this all goes nowhere. If its first person, Alex’s career is in grave danger. She won’t give up her sources, but these things tend to leak out, especially when somebody is actively trying to get the information. Given the time frame (01-03), there’s also a good chance that the players involved with Alex in the pitch tipping are retired/out of Baseball now, so putting their own careers in jeopardy may not be an issue for them. Unless they’re Hall of Famers (unlikely) chances are they won’t have much to lose. If they’re a fringe major leaguer who hates Alex for some reason, it could be their chance to get even and make history by ending his career.
Video evidence would need to be corroborated by a witness. By itself it would prove little but it could add support to the claims of an accuser. So its not useless as Heyman claims. The burden of proof would need to be high en0ugh to get past an arbitrator, but not that high to ruin what’s left of A-Rod’s tattered reputation. If Selig was to suspend him, having the suspension overturned by an arbitrator would do little to salvage Alex’s name around Baseball. Alex hasn’t made a lot of friends in MLB, though it would stand to reason that the people he included in this pact would be friends of his. That being said, anyone who would engage in such a pact would either be someone who’s desperate to stay in the bigs or someone of low character. If one person with an axe to grind comes forward, Selig may or may not move forward. Selig won’t hitch his wagon to someone like Jose Canseco. But if he has two or more and they’re credible, Alex’s career is over.
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