Alex Rodriguez's ongoing battle against Major League Baseball has taken another bizarre turn, as the suspended slugger has dropped his lawsuit against the league and player's union.
From Jim Baumbach of Newsday:
Well, this is interesting. Docket in A-Rod lawsuit against MLB/MLBPA says plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed the case.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) February 7, 2014
AROD: "plaintiff(s)...give notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed, against the defendant(s)" MLB, MLBPA, Selig— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) February 7, 2014
Today was deadline for A-Rod's side to respond to MLB/MLBPA wanting case tossed. Instead, they've voluntarily dismissed case. Hmm.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) February 7, 2014
A-Rod also has voluntarily dismissed the 'witch hunt' lawsuit against Selig & MLB, according to that docket, as well.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) February 7, 2014
Federal court spokesman confirms A-Rod filed "a notice of voluntary dismissal" today.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) February 7, 2014
A-Rod lawyer Joe Tacopina tells @newsdaymarcus that A-Rod is in fact dropping suits and is accepting his suspension.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) February 7, 2014
New York Post reporter Ken Davidoff also noted that A-Rod won't attend spring training:
A-Rod's attorney Joe Tacopina says A-Rod will not attend spring training.— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) February 7, 2014
The MLB Player's Association responded to the news with the following tweet:
MLBPA: "Alex Rodriguez has done the right thing by withdrawing his lawsuit. His decision to move forward is in everyone's best interest."— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) February 7, 2014
The MLB also released an official statement in response to the news, as shared by Jesse Spector of Sporting News:
MLB statement on A-Rod. Guess they're best buddies now. pic.twitter.com/icF2oNtMHi— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) February 7, 2014
This is certainly a surprising turn of events, especially when you consider that A-Rod made the following comments after he lost his suspension appeal a month ago.
From his Facebook page:
I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.
Rodriguez is not eligible to play at all in the MLB in this upcoming season as he is currently suspended for all 162 games and the 2014 postseason.
Rodriguez was originally suspended for 211 games in early August for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and the Basic Agreement, but decided to appeal the decision and finished out the 2013 season, hitting .244 with seven home runs and 19 RBI in 44 games.
The 38-year-old slugger was just one of many players ensnared in the Biogenesis scandal, but was the only one to appeal the suspension handed out, while other prominent players like Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta accepted the penalty.
You have to think the commissioner's office, New York Yankees and the MLBPA will be relieved to put this long, drawn-out situation behind them.
And for Rodriguez, the chance to sink away from the spotlight and potentially return once this storm has cleared could be the last chance he has to rebuild a severed relationship with fans of the Yankees and the game in general.