Spring Training is in full swing, and down in Tampa, the Yankees are getting geared up for the 2014 season without one of their biggest sticks. A-Rod is AWOL.
Ronn Torossian explains…Alex Rodriguez’s Grapefruit League locker remains open – and empty – but the Yankee star has yet to make an appearance in, or out of, uniform with the team this year. However, the disagreement that turned into a PR disaster for the All Star slugger took a step in the right direction for A-Rod recently with the announcement that he has dropped his lawsuit against Major League Baseball.
A-Rod had sued MLB and the players union back in January in a last ditch attempt to get his 162-game suspension overturned. The suspension was handed down after Rodriguez was found to have taken banned substances, and later tried to obstruct MLB’s investigation of the incident.
The substance issues were bad enough, but Rodriguez compounded them first by obstructing the investigation and then filing the suit. Fredric Horowitz, the arbitrator involved in the dispute, shortened Rodriguez’s suspension from 211 down to 162…and any playoff games in 2014.
A-Rod called the move one that was made in “bad faith,” and accused the union of not providing fair representation. The language of the suit caused some fans to accuse A-Rod of childishness, of whining when he should just fess up and take his medicine. And, this being New York, those were the nice things being said. Sure, Yankee fans want to see A-Rod back in a Yankee uniform, but they have little stomach for a season of distraction and complaining from a star that many said they won’t miss in the playoffs anyway.
And the issue could not have come at a worse time for Yankee public relations. Derek Jeter is retiring at the end of this season, and the Boys in Pin Stripes are eager to spend the year saying goodbye. Even still, Bronx born Ronn Torossian – and many other Yankees fans – are upset.