From Maury Brown at BizOfBaseball.com on July 12, 2013:
There are people in sports that we see on television, read about in the paper, or hear their name on radio. More often than not, they are the players on the field, but not always. When important matters hit sports outside the lines, the names “Bud Selig”, “Michael Weiner,” or “Rob Manfred” might crop up.
That’s especially the case now for Major League Baseball. Commissioner Selig will address the media on Tuesday before the All-Star Game, and you can bet the chief topic of discussion will be the Biogenesis PED scandal. It’s possible that as soon as the day after the All-Star Game, Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez could be included in up to 20 players that will be suspended, the largest number of suspensions in the history of professional sports over performance-enhancing drugs.
While the league will announce the suspensions, the players cited will continue to play. That’s because all MLB players have been afforded a grievance process through the jointly agreed to drug program between the league and the MLB Players Association. As part of the appeals process, the cases will be heard by an arbitration panel.
While it is a panel in name, two of the three that sit on it have clear positions that fall in line with the sides in this matter. The league will have Rob Manfred, the Executive Vice President, Economics & League Affairs for Major League Baseball. For the players, it will be Michael Weiner, the Executive Director of the MLBPA. The league will of course vote to suspend, the MLBPA will back the player and ask for the suspension to be rescinded. It is the third person in this—the independent arbitrator—that will ultimately decide the fate of the players named in the Biogenesis suspensions. It is this man—one few have ever heard of—that is the most important person in baseball you’ve never heard of.
As part of the labor agreement, the league and MLBPA jointly select an arbitrator to help mitigate these types of disputes. After Shyam Das was fired by MLB (as was their right to do, just as the MLBPA has the right to do the same) after he ruled in favor of Ryan Braun’s PED suspension being overturned in in February of last year, Fredric Horowitz was tapped to replace him.
Originally published: July 12, 2013. Last Updated: July 12, 2013.