Put aside, for just a minute, whether you believe Alex Rodriguez used performance enhancing drugs or not.
With tons of circumstantial evidence yet no failed drug tests, most can debate on either side.
But there's a deeper core to this story. The A-Rod saga is troublesome for the way baseball has handled this case.
It's great that baseball wants to clean-up the game and get PEDs out of the sport. That's not the issue. It still should be a fair process that treats all players the same.
Sorry, but it just doesn't seem that way.
On Saturday, the arbitrator in this case reduced Rodriguez's unprecedented 211-game suspension to 162 games, the entire 2014 season and the postseason.
A-Rod, the New York Yankees' third baseman, hoped to get off without a single game missed. He said he was innocent.
Throughout this whole story, you got the feeling that MLB was out to get A-Rod. Officials wanted to catch a big fish. The sport couldn't get Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens or Mark McGwire during their playing days. Hence, this was its chance.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig came off as a guy who wanted to improve his legacy. After all, this PED scandal happened under his watch.
Selig had a stake it in. When that's the case, it's hard to imagine a guy will get a fair shot. Selig wanted a trophy on his way out of his gig, and he made sure he got it.
Like him or not, A-Rod didn't get a fair shake from Selig.
If A-Rod would have, he would have received the same 50-game suspension that 11 of the 12 other guys caught in this Biogenesis scandal got. Ryan Braun got 65 games.
The Braun case is especially troubling because he escaped a failed drug test on a technicality, only to get caught in this scandal, too.
MLB seemed to let Braun skate, putting all its energy into bagging A-Rod.
For sure, A-Rod's camp would have accepted the same penalty Braun got to put this behind him. But it wasn't offered.
Baseball went for the jugular. MLB didn't want A-Rod just suspended, but wanted to end his career.
It's hard to understand when people talk about degrees of an offender. If you steal $100 or a million dollars, you're a thief.
You're not less of a thief for stealing less money. A thief is a thief.
Guys who have been caught for PED use are still playing in the game after their suspension. Why didn't MLB want to give A-Rod the same opportunity?
The confusing part is that MLB and the players' union agree on penalties. You get 50 games for first offense, 100 games for second offense and a lifetime band for a third failed drug test.
Where did 211 games or a full season ban come from?
The players' union denounced the suspension in a statement. "The MLBPA strongly disagrees with the award issued today in the grievance of Alex Rodriguez, even despite the Arbitration Panel's decision to reduce the duration of Mr. Rodriguez's unprecedented 211-game suspension."
The union, however, said the process was fair. A-Rod, however, believed the deck was stacked against him.
A-Rod is still willing to fight and hopes to get an injunction in federal court to step in and stop this punishment.
And you can't blame him, in fact. It's more than the $25 million dollars he will lose in salary this coming season.
A-Rod says he's never failed a drug test given by baseball. He continues to say that he never used PEDs.
Here's A-Rod's statement after announcement:
"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."
It's hard to be mad at A-Rod for wanting to fight. You have to stand up for being treated fairly, like everyone else.
It just doesn't seem like that has been the case here. For sure, he was a target and MLB was going for big-game hunting. A-Rod has the fat stats and even fatter paycheck. He's the guy they wanted to use as the poster boy for the scandal.
By the way, isn't McGwire wearing a uniform and the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers?
MLB has to be fair. It isn't.