Bud Selig

A-Rod is going to try to put bud Selig and Randy Levine on the stand, but don’t count on it happening

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Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that, when the arbitration resumes next week, Alex Rodiguez’s lawyers are going to try to put Bud Selig and Yankees president Randy Levine on the stand. MLB would probably fight that, though:

MLB would try to block most of the bold-name witnesses from having to testify, particularly Selig. It would contend MLB COO Rob Manfred, who is MLB’s representative on the three-person panel overseeing the hearing, spoke on behalf of the league and its investigation and subjected himself to cross-examination by Rodriguez’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina.

Like any other case, the decision should come down to whether or not Selig and Levine have relevant evidence. In a legal context, though, relevant doesn’t mean “interesting” or “headline grabbing.” It means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.

I seriously question whether Selig has any relevant evidence to provide. He’s the boss, sure, but that doesn’t mean he has actual specific information that cannot be better obtained from other witnesses, such as Rob Manfred or MLB investigators. Bud puts things in motion. Other people do the work and they report it back to him. Anything he has that relates specifically to the drugs Alex Rodriguez took or didn’t take and the Biogenesis investigation in general was told to him.

Of course A-Rod is trying to put MLB on trial here. He’s trying to argue that the whole investigation was cooked up as a means of Selig doing P.R. damage control or saving his legacy or what have you and that, as a result, he should get to grill Selig about it all. Same with Levine and the Yankees trying to end his career and save millions. We’ve heard A-Rod’s attorneys argue this in public before.

And there may be elements of truth to that. I personally think that, even though Biogenesis and A-Rod’s drug use wasn’t “cooked up” by Selig, he’s certainly trying to take advantage of it as a means of putting an end to the PED saga. And I am certain that the Yankees would love to be out from under A-Rod’s contract.  But I seriously doubt that the arbitrator is going to let A-Rod try that case. That’s one for the historians and, if we really stretch things, a federal court to later weigh in on in the event such motives caused MLB and the Yankees to violate A-Rod’s rights. It’s not what this arbitration is about. Or at least what it should be about.

Upshot: don’t bank on Selig getting cross-examined.

Carlos Ruiz leaves a goodbye note for the Phillies

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 26, 2016 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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And then there was one. One player from the 2008 World Series champs, that is. Ryan Howard likely isn’t going anywhere so he’ll be the last one to turn the lights off, but today Carlo Ruiz bid adieu to the Phillies following his trade to Los Angeles.

Lost in all of the emotions the Dodgers are reported to be feeling about A.J. Ellis leaving is the fact that Ruiz was one of the most beloved Phillies players ever, by both his teammates and their fans. Yesterday Roy Halladay penned a heartfelt goodbye to Ruiz, suggesting that he was every bit as essential to his and the Phillies’ success as Ellis has been to Clayton Kershaw (and in pure baseball production, obviously, quite more).

Today Chooch left a message for his now former teammates:

A far-fetched sounding drug test scam

NES TSIONA, ISRAEL - JANUARY 22:  A laboratory technician checks human blood samples before placing the glass tubes on an automated testing line at the Maccabi Health Services HMO central laboratory January 22, 2006 in Nes Tsiona which is located in central Israel. The laboratory, which operates a fully automated system complete with advanced robotics, can test more than 50,000 blood samples a day. The lab is considered one of the most modern of its kind in the western world.  (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)
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Kevin Draper at Deadspin is passing along a story — and that’s not me editorializing; he’s admitting that it’s unconfirmed gossip at the moment — about a major league player paying a teammate $2.5 million to take the fall for him on a drug test. The story came via a tip from someone who, apparently, had a conversation about the drug test scam with a college baseball player who knew the players allegedly involved in the scam.

Here is how the conversation was recounted:

College Baseball Player: [MLB player’s star teammate] paid him to take his blood test. $2.5 million dollars.

Bar Patron: How does that even work?

College Baseball Player: [MLB player] and [MLB player’s star teammate] were getting tested the same day. They traded samples.

Deadspin says that the story is “probably bulls**t” but that some preliminary investigating they’ve done doesn’t disprove it and, to some extent corroborates it. How it’s been supported or not is left unclear and Deadspin couches all of this in a request for more information if anyone has any. Which, OK, fine.

I’ll offer that, on the surface, this seems like a bit more than mere “bulls**t.” It sounds structurally impossible. If it’s a blood test for HGH as the excerpt suggests, the samples are tested back in the lab to make sure they match up with previous samples. Meaning: the lab processing the sample knows if it’s your blood or not. If it’s a urine test, as Deadspin thinks it may have been, I’m not sure how samples could be switched given that urine tests are directly observed by testing officials. Yes, they watch you pee. They’d likely prevent you from peeing right next to your bro teammate, but even if you did, they’d see you exchange little plastic containers of urine with him.

I’m not going to say that this is 100% bull because we can’t really know for sure, but the scenario as described sounds highly unlikely, approaching the impossible. If someone had a story about bribing a sample taker with $2.5 million well, hey, maybe we’re getting somewhere, because that would get you over some procedural hurdles. For now, though, this all sounds like someone passing along a tall tale.

If it is true? Hoo boy, that’d be fun. At least for people like me who write about this stuff.