I am sure that most of you have read, by December 10th both sides are to present their summation to the arbitrator. Of course each side will try to sway the arbitrator to their respective side. Then the arbitrator will make his decision based upon the hearing testimony, each summation and past practice.
Past practice? Most of you are probable asking the question what in the hell is past practice? How much weight does it have in an arbitrators decision?
It is the most important issue that an arbitrator considers. He or she is looking for a similar grievance or issue that has been settle. It could have gone thru arbitration or not. In other words a penalty or grievance was received and stood up thru the grievance procedure. That is why past practice is so significant. If there is a similar issue or penalty, that was settled. Past practice is the rule or law of the day.
Here are some of the past practice grievances or issues that will be looked at extensively:
Case #1: Manny Ramirez tested positive during the same trial that baseball conducted with the union's permission in the eighties, as did A-Rod and other players. Manny tested positive officially and received a 50 game suspension. He once again tested positive a second time and was suspended for 100 games. The very first positive test played no bearing on either suspension he received. Why? Because it was a trial and any player participating was not to receive any punishment.
Case #2: Larmar Hoyt had a drug problem. He even had several positive drug tests, Baseball suspended him for one year. When it was appealed in the grievance procedure he receive 60 games.
Case #3: Ryan Braun tested positive and was given 50 games. He appealed that decision and won. Which actually means he never had a positive test. The Biogensis Scandal hit baseball and he received 65 games. He received more than 50 games because of his behavior. In other words his successful grievance where he had lied and hide evidence that would or could have confirmed his guilt. Most would call that obstruction.
Case #4: Steve Howe had a cocaine problem during his career. He too had several positive drug tests. Baseball banned him for life. The arbitrator reduced his penalty to 119 games.
So now what does this mean? When you look at each of these cases one in particular stands out the most. That is the Ryan Bruan case. He did very similar things that A-Rod is and was accused of. One could say he only did it once. The truth is only he knows for sure how long he was using performance enhancing drugs. There is no doubt that he participated in some form of cover-up. How else could he have won his appeal and now be punished for that same offense. Remember technically, since he won his appeal he had no positive drug test.
When one looks at past practice it becomes clear that a previous punishment occurred and was accepted. Ryan's punishment was for similar acts as A-Rod's is accused of. Therefore, I cannot see Alex Rodriguez receiving more than 65 games. He could win totally or receive 50 games. But when you look at a similar issues and the penalty received for those issues. It is apparent that Ryan Bruan's case is the most similar to Alex's case. So I believe A-Rod will receive a maximum of a 65 game penalty or suspension.
One last point A-Rod has already filed other legal action. He could easily ask for an injunction to vacate the suspension if any is received. Then he would be allowed to play until the issue is resolved.