Alex Rodriguez's lawyer had spat
NEW YORK -- Round 2 of the dispute between Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball resumes Wednesday in Manhattan amid the revelation that Round 1 included a verbal confrontation between an attorney representing the New York Yankees slugger and a lawyer for Anthony Bosch, baseball's chief witness against the third baseman.
According to a source who was witness to the incident, Rodriguez's attorney, Joe Tacopina, and Julio Ayala, one of the lawyers representing Bosch, exchanged words on Oct. 2, the third day of the hearing.
The altercation occurred during a break in the proceedings. Ayala interrupted a conversation between Tacopina and another MLB attorney concerning how much longer Bosch would be on the stand.
Told that MLB might need several more days to question Bosch, Tacopina was quoted by the New York Daily News as saying, "Well, I guess we have all of October, and by then Mr. Bosch will be in jail."
"If he is, he is not going alone," Ayala is alleged to have retorted, prompting Tacopina to "bull rush" Ayala, according to the source. Tacopina was restrained before any blows could be exchanged.
The source, who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com on the condition of anonymity due to the gag order imposed upon the proceedings, did not dispute the exchange.
But according to the source, Tacopina did not incite the altercation.
"Tacopina didn't provoke this thing at all," the source told ESPNNewYork.com. "Ayala instigated it by interjecting something into a private discussion he was not a part of."
According to the source, Tacopina told Ayala, "Keep walking. You're not part of this conversation." At that point, the two men "came together pretty quick," according to the source.
The source said that the two never came close to exchanging blows, and that the situation rapidly defused.
"If it had, this would have been a 'Down goes Frazier!' scenario," the source said in reference to a famous Howard Cosell exclamation during the George Foreman-Joe Frazier heavyweight title bout of 1973, although he declined to say which man would have played Foreman.
Neither Tacopina nor Ayala could be reached for comment.
If nothing else, the incident illustrates the animosity between the two sides as Rodriguez's appeal of the 211-game suspension for alleged PED use in connection with Biogenesis, a now defunct South Florida "anti-aging clinic" run by Bosch, heads into its second week after a one-week hiatus.
Meanwhile, a U.S. District Court judge in Buffalo was hearing arguments on Tuesday in baseball's motion to unseal Rodriguez's grand jury testimony in the case of Anthony Galea, a Canadian doctor who in 2011 pleaded guilty to bringing human growth hormone into the U.S.
Rodriguez was treated by Galea in 2009, and baseball's motion is in response to Rodriguez's tortious interference lawsuit filed against MLB on Oct. 5, alleging improper gathering of evidence in an effort to destroy his reputation and run him out of the game.
Also, in Manhattan, a group known as Hispanics Across America, which staged demonstrations in support of Rodriguez during each of the first five days of the hearing, was scheduled to hold a meeting in midtown to discuss its involvement in the case.
The hearing before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, at the Park Avenue offices of Major League Baseball, resumes Wednesday morning with Rodriguez's attorneys beginning to present their case for why the suspension should be reduced if not overturned.
According to a source familiar with the proceedings, Rodriguez's side concluded its cross-examination of Bosch on Oct. 4, the last day before the recess, and will present witnesses and evidence for the rest of the week at least.
"There's no way this thing gets done by Friday," the source said.
After all the evidence has been presented, Horowitz is not expected to issue his decision until sometime in November.
"We still have a long way to go," the source said.
Rodriguez was suspended Aug. 5 for alleged violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract. Because he's a first-time offender under the drug program and the players' association filed a grievance to force an appeal, a suspension can't start until it is upheld by an arbitrator.
Rodriguez was among 14 players penalized by MLB this year following the sport's investigation of Biogenesis, which is accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. The others accepted their penalties, including 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun, who missed the season's final 65 games.