SPRINGFIELD (WGGB) — Major League baseball makes it official, suspending 13 players today in connection with the Biogenesis scandal out of Florida.
The biggest name on the list — and the harshest punishment — belonged to Alex Rodriguez.
But a defiant A-Rod said he will appeal the ruling and play tonight.
“I can’t wait to see my team mates. I feel like I can help us win. I can help us be a better team,” said Rodriguez at a press conference on Sunday.
Rodriguez says he’ll appeal the ruling, and during that appeal he will be allowed to play.
“His appeal will probably take several weeks to be adjudicated and when it is – everybody is expecting the arbitrator will decide against A-Rod,” said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College, and one of the country’s foremost sports economist.
He’s also authored more than a dozen books on the subject and thinks overall, getting rid of A-Rod is just good business.
“A-Rod next year has a salary somewhere in the order of 21 or 22 million dollars. The Yankees won’t have to pay that because that’s part of the drug agreement if you’re suspended you don’t get paid,” explained Zimbalist.
That will also help the Yankees get below the so-called luxury tax… saving the franchise even more money that then could be used to buy younger and better talent.
“He (A-Rod) was very good until about 2 or 3 years ago and then he fell off the cliff in terms of his performance. Part of it has to do with aging. Part of that has to do with the fact that his body was distorted and ruined in a number of ways by his use of performance enhancing drugs.”
Zimbalist says the drug scandal now embroiling the sport – and one of its most famous players – isn’t a sign that America’s favorite pastime may be past its prime.
Rather, it indicates the leagues willingness to do whatever it takes to keep it clean.
“Baseball has very clearly the toughest drug policy and the penalty policy of any of the professional sports leagues in the United States,” said Zimbalist.
A dozen other players also agreed to 50 game suspensions this morning.
Among some of the bigger names are all-stars Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, and Johnny Peralta.
One player, Gio Gonzalez, was cleared due to lack of evidence, while two others, Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera, had already served their punishments.
There have been 43 suspensions under the major league drug agreement since testing with penalties for first offenses started in 2005.