This isn't getting nearly enough attention, IMO. The real story here is the actions of the league and the union, yet the only thing anyone is talking about (MLBTV, ESPN, local news, posters here and elsewhere, ect ect) is ARod. If you ask me, ARod is mostly irrelevant. The guy cheated, he's been caught. Great. But there is a much bigger problem than the game's best player being dirty. We've known for a long time that MLB was complicit with steroid use in its sport. Or at the very least that it was willing to turn a blind eye and not even ask how bad it was. Personally, I don't see a difference there. But these allegations about Orza take it to a whole new level. If this turns out to be true, the league itself was actively helping to keep it quiet and to keep its star players out of the spotlight.
Someone needs to answer for that.
The other side of this issue is actually the more interesting one for me, and may be the part that has the longest lasting repricussions is that it seems that the league went back on its word and crossed the union to get a testing program into place. MLB managed to avoid a strike during the last labor negotiations and still got their foot in th door with regards to PED testing and instituting punitive measures. Their motives are up for debate and there's very little reason to believe it was more noble than feeling the public pressure and wanting to try and create a positive spin. But regardless, they got their foot in the door.
You can argue that this actually weakened the union a little and gave the league the beach head they needed to build some momentum going into the next negotiations. I've seen it suggested that the union will sit back, cross their arms and say "Why should we believe a word you say?" and wait for the league to fold to their demands. But now that this is all out in the open, the union can't go back. They can't try to remove the testing program or punative measures. They've actually lost a little of the power they had in the past.
I'm wondering if this will lead to the league muscling their way into a position of more power going forward. I think we're already seeing the maneuvering for position and the first moves in what will likely be a very long chess match leading up to the next labor negotiations. Orza's response to the allegations that he tipped off ARod:
"It makes juicier stuff to suggest there were tip-offs," Orza told the Times. "But there weren't. I don't care about the press coverage. It's irrelevant."
and Arod's response to Orza which was just shown on MLBTV:
"Gene [Orza] was very specific in 2004. We had a meeting in September or August don't quote me on the date... But he said there's a government list. There's 104 players on it, you might or might not have tested postive."
could be seen as the league and the union both jockeying for position on the issue. I think it's going to be absolutely fascinating seeing how this plays out in the next few months or even years. And honestly, if the fans get loud enough, I can see the union's power dwindling a bit by the next labor negotiations.
There will undoubtably be a lot of finger pointing from both sides, but really the union is fighting a losing battle, IMO. We, as fans, mostly want a clean game. And the union has not been on that side of the issue to this point.
Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 09 February 2009 - 05:45 PM.