Alex Rodriguez
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Alex Rodriguez’s advice to Astros: Show some remorse

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Alex Rodriguez knows a thing or two about being involved in a cheating scandal. In 2013, the three-time MVP was suspended by Major League Baseball for 211 games for his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal. The punishment was eventually reduced to 162 games, keeping him out of action for the entire 2014 season.

Rodriguez, now an analyst with ESPN, spoke about baseball’s latest cheating scandal involving the Astros and stealing signs with technology. His advice to the Astros? Show some remorse.

The full segment from A-Rod, via ESPN:

I think the one thing that really has upset the fans is: You cheat, you win a championship, there is no suspension, and then there’s no remorse. And the last one I think is probably the worst one because people want to see remorse. They want a real, authentic apology and they have not received that thus far. And I can just tell you this, Matty [Matt Vasgersian], from a guy who has made as many mistakes as anybody on the biggest stage, I served the longest suspension in Major League Baseball history. It cost me well over $35 million. And you know what? I deserved that. And as a result, I came back, I owned it after acting like a buffoon for a long time. I had my apologies, and then I went dark. I wanted my next move to be contrite, but I also wanted to go out and play good baseball and change my narrative. The way you change your narrative is you have to be accountable. You’ve earned all of this negative talk. You’ve earned whatever comes your way, including whether it’s hit by a pitch or negative press. You have divorced yourself from having the ability to protect yourself.

Insightful stuff from Rodriguez, who has completely revitalized his public image and reputation since his 2014 suspension. While some may never forgive him for cheating, he rebounded well enough to not only join ESPN’s broadcast booth for the most prestigious regular season baseball program, Sunday Night Baseball, he also worked as a broadcaster for FS1, joined Shark Tank as a cast member, and hosted a show on CNBC.

The Astros have responded to their many follies with arrogance. Few members of the 2017 team have expressed any kind of regret for breaking the rules, excepting Ken Giles. They should heed Rodriguez’s advice if they want to move past this scandal and begin to rebuild their reputations.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: