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Did A-Rod’s team pay supporters to protest at his hearing?

Alex Rodriguez YankeesA-Rod is one of the most despised figures in baseball, yet the man somehow still has fans. But he may not have quite as many supporters as the amount of protestors at his MLB hearing would lead you to believe.

Scores of supporters have been outside MLB’s offices on Park Avenue in New York this week while Alex Rodriguez attends his hearing for his 211-game PED suspension. Many of the supporters are holding signs slamming the New York Yankees and MLB. The effort reportedly is being led Hispanics Across America (HAA).

The New York Daily News has been all over the protest, and their suspicions are high. For instance, they cited a tweet from a protestor who claimed he was getting paid to be there and having meals provided. The person supposedly later claimed they were just joking. Another protestor was holding up a sign that called Yankees president Randy Levine the devil, but the person holding the sign admitted they didn’t know who Levine was. Sure, that sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually pretty easy to rope people into holding up a sign and supporting a cause despite not knowing all the details of the matter. I wouldn’t expect all HAA members to know the inner-workings of the Yankees, but I would expect them to follow instructions from an HAA leader who tells them to hold up a sign.

And then as Jimmy Traina pointed out, all the signs are written in the same handwriting.

Now I’m not qualified to say whether or not the protestors are fakes, but I certainly wouldn’t put it past A-Rod and his team. This is the same guy who tried to have one of his people buy the Biogenesis records to keep MLB from them. Do you really think he’d be above paying people to protest outside MLB’s offices to make it look like he has fans? Neither do I.

Alex Rodriguez reportedly claiming he was unaware Biogenesis drugs were banned

Alex Rodriguez YankeesNew York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is reportedly claiming he unknowingly took substances that are banned by Major League Baseball. According to the NY Daily News, Rodriguez and his lawyers have been presenting a case at his arbitration hearing that is based on the idea that the 37-year-old believed the drugs he obtained from Anthony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic were perfectly legal.

Bosch, however, has been telling a different story. The Biogenesis founder has reportedly validated documents obtained by the MLB and shared text message and email conversations he had with A-Rod about the drugs. MLB is now trying to determine why Rodriguez would have been so secretive about obtaining the substances if he believed they were legal.

Rodriguez’s attorneys are supposed to cross-examine Bosch on Wednesday, during which they will undoubtedly attempt to attack his character and credibility. The Daily News claims A-Rod’s attorneys will look to prove that the only reason Bosch has cooperated with MLB’s investigation is because he was paid and told he would be dropped from the lawsuit if he did.

In arguing that he took supplements he believed were legal, A-Rod is not entering unchartered territory. The defense is the same one that Barry Bonds used when he claimed he had no idea that the cream and the clear provided to him by BALCO were steroids. Roger Clemens argued in his case that he believed trainer Brian McNamee was injecting him with B-12 vitamin shots.

The defense is pathetic, but it has been known to work. Baseball’s drug policy takes intent into consideration and allows players to be absolved of wrongdoing if they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were unaware they were using performance-enhancing drugs.

The hope is that common sense will come into play. There’s no logical reason Rodriguez would have allegedly paid Bosch so much money and gone out of his way to keep their meetings a secret if he thought the substances he was using were legal.

UPDATE: A-Rod’s camp has denied the report from the NY Daily News.

Alex Rodriguez tells his lawyers to stop threatening New York Yankees

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAlex Rodriguez is hoping for the best possible outcome in his appeal of a 211-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use. He has hired an All-Star team of lawyers than includes top New York criminal defense attorney Joe Tacopina. Since Tacopina came on board, A-Rod’s situation has become about far more than his alleged involvement with Biogenesis.

Rodriguez is trying to prove that he did not interfere with Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis investigation and that he should be treated as a first-time offender, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There have also been reports that he will sue MLB if the suspension is not dropped altogether. Tacopina has even accused the Yankees of trying to sabotage A-Rod by withholding medical records and trying to keep him from playing.

Rodriguez (supposedly) wants those reports to stop.

“I’m shutting it all down, I’m shutting it all down,” he told reporters before Wednesday night’s game, via the NY Daily News. “The focus is to be back on the field. There are so many great stories going on in baseball, and for us, we really just want to focus on playing good baseball, and 100 percent have all the questions be about baseball. If there’s any question in the future that are not about baseball, the interview will end at that moment.”

A-Rod is a distraction. The Yankees are 9-5 in games he has played since he returned, but his teammates and coaches would obviously prefer to be able to focus on baseball rather than deal with the drama of Rodriguez being intentionally beaned by opponents.

“I think it’s the best thing to do for all of us, to focus on the game,” he said. “We’re in the middle of a pennant race. I want to put all the focus back on baseball. … I think the most important thing for us now out of respect to my team, and my manager and my coaches, we’re in the middle of a very important pennant race. We’re playing pretty well right now and we want to keep the focus on the field.”

How convenient. Tacopina would not have gone public with any accusations against MLB or the Yankees if A-Rod didn’t authorize it. Now that most of the dirty laundry has been aired out, Rodriguez is trying to look like the peacemaker who is committed to helping his team win. It’s a bit too late for that.

David Ortiz disagreed with Ryan Dempster hitting Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez Ryan DempsterBoston Red Sox fan favorite David Ortiz came to the defense of Alex Rodriguez on Wednesday in the wake of the New York Yankees slugger being drilled by Ryan Dempster. Like many others, Big Papi felt that it was wrong of Dempster to intentionally target A-Rod because of his 211-game suspension and alleged PED use.

“I didn’t like it. I don’t think it was the right thing to do,” Ortiz told USA TODAY Sports. “But we don’t all think alike, and the guy who did it, Dempster, is a great guy. It’s not that I didn’t think it was right because Alex and I are friends, because once you cross the white lines, everyone’s on their own.”

Ortiz said the biggest problem he had with Dempster’s stunt is that it put a man on base and energized an opponent in a game that the Red Sox would have loved to win.

[VideoRyan Dempster hits Alex Rodriguez intentionally]

“We’ve got Tampa right on our heels, and that pitch woke up a monster in the Yankees’ team at that moment,” he continued. “You saw how the game ended up. CC (Sabathia) was throwing 91 (mph) and started throwing 96. Alex later hit one way out there. You’re talking about a good team that you can’t wake up. But we learn from our mistakes.”

That is certainly a valid point. The Red Sox are currently a game ahead of the Rays in the AL East standings, and they dropped a game on Sunday night after losing to New York thanks in part to an angry A-Rod homer. But Big Papi probably should have stopped there.

[Read more...]

Brian Cashman’s alleged mistress Louise Meanwell says he knew about Yankees’ PED use, misled investigators

Brian-Cashman-Did-Not-Want-Rafael-SorianoNew York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman could become very familiar with the inside of a courtroom over the next several months. For starters, there is the ongoing Alex Rodriguez saga that is sure to involve everyone within the Yankees organization, as well as their grandparents and first-born children. Cashman is also dealing with his alleged mistress, Louise Meanwell, who is being brought up on charges related to stalking and extortion.

And now, it appears that the two cases have become intertwined. According to the NY Daily News, Meanwell has filed court papers demanding that A-Rod’s new lawyer Joe Tacopina be removed from his case because she uses an attorney from the same firm.

Tacopina’s partner, Stephen Turano, is representing Meanwell in the stalking and extortion case. Meanwell claims to have shared details with Turano about her alleged conversations with Cashman, during which she says the Yankees GM told her he “knew of Yankee clubhouse steroid use by various Yankee players by name” and “was ambivalent to the use of performance enhancement drugs so long as nothing came back to the Yankee organization.”

Meanwell also claims Cashman told her that he misled investigators who were looking into former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens’ alleged performance-enhancing drug use.

Tacopina has insisted there is no conflict of interest, noting that Turano is not representing Meanwell through their Manhattan-based firm but a separate firm in New Jersey. He also insisted he has never spoken to Turano about Meanwell or her case pertaining to Cashman. However, a legal expert reportedly told the Daily News that a conflict exists even if the two firms are separate.

“The problem is that the lawyer (could) be less than loyal to one client or the other,” the source said.

Whether Meanwell is guilty of what she has been accused or not, her assertion that there is a conflict of interest makes sense. Tacopina has already began digging deep into Rodriguez’s case and has come hard at the Yankees, so the last thing A-Rod needs is to lose him.

H/T SB Nation

Ryan Dempster reportedly told writer he would hit Alex Rodriguez

Ryan DempsterRyan Dempster made it obvious that he was intentionally trying to hit Alex Rodriguez during Sunday’s Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game, but did you realize that Dempster likely had this planned for a while?

Ottawan Citizen sports writer Wayne Scanlan tweeted that Dempster told him he planned to “drill” A-Rod the first chance he got.

“Met Ryan Dempster in Detroit. Said he had issue with A-Rod and would drill him first chance he got. Man of his word,” Scanlan tweeted shortly after the incident.

Scanlan also says Dempster had a problem with A-Rod after getting snubbed by the third baseman.

“A-Rod snubbed Dempster at a public event. Dempster was not impressed.”

[Video: Ryan Dempster hits Alex Rodriguez intentionally]

Scanlan deleted his tweets, but they certainly explain a lot. There definitely seemed to be a personal motivation behind the pitches, and this would explain it.

It’s hard to believe that Dempster threw at A-Rod with such intent and wasn’t ejected, while manager Joe Girardi got tossed for simply arguing with the umpires. And like Girardi said, it’s awfully easy to hit someone intentionally when you don’t have to come up to bat yourself.

Brian Cashman: I’m not comfortable talking to Alex Rodriguez anymore

Alex Rodriguez YankeesThe relationship between Alex Rodriguez and New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is about nothing but business these days. A-Rod is a player on a team that Cashman is in charge of, and there is not much to it other than that. How do we know this? Cashman said it himself over the weekend when he told reporters he doesn’t say more than “hello” to A-Rod these days.

“That’s about it,” Cashman said, via the Boston Globe. “I’m not comfortable talking to him anymore. I don’t want to be distorted. I’m not comfortable talking to Alex because I feel we are in a litigious environment.”

On Saturday, a report was published saying Rodriguez’s lawyer Joe Tacopina is accusing the Yankees of trying to sabotage his client in an attempt to force the third baseman to retire from baseball. Team president Randy Levine has denied the accusations and challenged Tacopina and A-Rod’s camp to “put up or shut up.” Cashman echoed some of Levine’s comments.

“Is it an unusual circumstance?” he asked. “Absolutely. Are any of these people happy with these allegations that continue to get thrown? It’s odd. It’s odd and it’s false, but we still have to go through the motions.”

Cashman was asked about Rodriguez “declaring war” against the Yankees organization, to which he noted that A-Rod’s finger-pointing extends far beyond the team’s front office.

“It’s not just Yankees management,” Cashman said. “He’s putting it at the level of our trainers, at the level of our medical staff … the whole organization.”

While many will argue that Rodriguez has every right to appeal his 211-game suspension (and he does), this has become much more than a performance-enhancing drug case. A-Rod is attacking the credibility of the Yankees.

“He’s fighting an appeal and he has rights to have his say, but clearly, it’s a lot of extra stuff and frustrations and distractions that we didn’t bring upon ourselves, I know that,” Cashman said. “I can’t speak for others, but I know it’s definitely a distraction for me. I’ve got a lot of extra work from this stuff. It’s very frustrating.”

Actually, I’m sure Cashman can speak for others — he just doesn’t want to. The A-Rod drama is obviously a distraction for the Yankees. They were able to overcome the drama that played out on Sunday night to defeat the Boston Red Sox, but stuff like that wouldn’t be happening without Rodriguez around. It doesn’t matter how many home runs he hits, the Yankees would love to wash their hands of A-Rod and move on.