Two of my oldest and closest friends are lawyers in St. Louis. Today they’re both at a baseball game while I’m sitting at a desk reading through a 33-page lawsuit. They find this hilarious. I think it’s a bad swap.
Honestly, the entire lawsuit is worth reading. It ranges from fascinating and informative to bizarre and oddly hilarious (mostly because of the over-the-top phrasing).
I’m far from being a legal expert — and my go-to sources of legal help are sitting at Busch Stadium hoping the Cardinals figure out a way to beat Gerrit Cole — but here are a few details from the suit that give a rough idea what it’s all about.
• Rodriguez accuses the league of seeking “vigilante justice” while ignoring the protocol of the collective bargaining agreement. He alleges that the league “paid individuals millions of dollars and made promises of future employment” in exchange for evidence and testimony. He also says that the league “bullied and intimidated those individuals who refused to cooperate with their witch hunt.”
• The suit goes into detail about some of the league’s alleged tactics, including getting one potential witness kicked out of his apartment after he refused to cooperate, and impersonating police officers to force another potential witness’s car to the side of the road “creating a highly dangerous situation.” The suit claims that the league is paying Biogenesis chief Anthony Bosch a total of $5 million for his cooperation.
• According to suit, the league’s “scorched-earth approach” to the Biogenesis investigation was strictly an attempt to “harass and embarrass Mr. Rodriguez and prevent him from performing his agreement with the New York Yankees and from obtaining endorsement deals.” Rodriguez claims that the League’s ongoing investigation and leaking of information — things that happened after the announced suspension — have impaired his ability to have a fair appeal and “interfered with his ability to monetize both his lucrative agreement with the New York Yankees, and potential endorsement deals.”
• The suit notes that Nike and Toyota have already ended endorsement agreements with Rodriguez, and blames those severed agreements on the league’s leaks and accusations.
• One subsection in the lawsuit’s Statement of Facts is labeled: The Disastrous Tenure of Commissioner Selig. In that section, the lawsuit says Selig “deliberately turned a blind eye” to the league’s steroid use following the 1994 strike, and points out that the Mitchell Report chastised Selig for not doing enough to curb performance enhancing drugs in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The claim is that Selig “had to reinvent himself,” with the suggestion that the Biogenesis investigation is part of the reinvention.
• “Selig quickly jumped at the opportunity to vindicate his legacy by showing that he was tough on (performance enhancing substances), and to harm Mr. Rodriguez,” the suit claims. “…MLB’s true purpose for the Biogenesis Suit was to circumvent the procedures in baseball’s Agreements, and seek “evidence” that would allow MLB to publicly shame and ultimately suspend Mr. Rodriguez and other ballplayers.”
• In some of the seemingly unusual parts of the lawsuit — unexpected in my amateur analysis, anyway — Rodriguez cites Selig’s appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman as a breach of confidentiality, accuses the league of failing to notify the IRS about the money it spent to buy stolen Biogenesis documents, and blames the league for Rodriguez’s part being cut from the yet-to-be-released animated film, Henry & Me.
• Near the end of his preliminary statement, Rodriguez seems to be fighting on behalf of all players:
“The time has come for this egregious misconduct to stop, so current and future players may know that MLB cannot and will not commit willful torts against them, and otherwise trample their rights with impunity.”
• Ultimately, the suit seeks: “An award of compensatory damages from Defendants in an amount to be determined at trial; An award of punitive damages from Defendants for their intentional and malicious misconduct in an amount to be determined at trial; An award of attorneys’ fees, interest and costs, in an amount to be determined at trial; and Such other and further relief as the Court deems just, proper and equitable.”
Associated Press photo