Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig plans to hear the appeal of Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers this week in Milwaukee. Rogers is facing a 20-game suspension for shoving a cameraman during a pre-game confrontation in Arlington.
He has had multiple opportunities to display genuine contrition for the incident between him and that cameraman. Rogers was wrong that day. We should all agree on that. Some people believe Rogers was not the only person who was out of line that day. Maybe he was, maybe he was not. He did apologize publicly and that is good. He should have. It was difficult to take the man at his word. He waited a week to do it. It is difficult to take him at his word because the apology was staged. Rogers’ actions following his press conference/ apology have also undercut his credibility and made it difficult to believe the sincerity of his contrition.
Rogers chose to appeal his suspension. He has every right under the rules of baseball to appeal the suspension- but he did not have to do it. He could have decided to put this sordid mess behind him. He could have released a statement saying while he believes the punishment was too harsh, he wanted to bring closure to the situation by beginning his suspension immediately.
He could have appealed the decision but skipped the All-Star Game. I believe Selig would have trimmed that suspension had Rogers voluntarily taken himself out of the game. It would have been an act of contrition rather than a performance of such. He did not want to skip the All-Star Game because at age 40 it might well have been his last opportunity to be apart of one. It is precisely that reason Selig might have given Rogers a break.
The Rangers need Rogers. He is their best picture. There have been reports Rogers has been ill-tempered all season because he is unhappy with his contract and wants the Rangers to extend it. The shoving incident put a serious dent in his chances for an extension. Choosing to serve his suspension immediately and thereby getting back on the field sooner might have been the kind of goodwill gesture that Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks would have noticed.
The All-Star Game is a celebration of baseball. Baseball needed a celebration atmosphere on the heels of the steroid scandal. Rogers’ absence could have let the game be about the game by removing the ugly sideshow he brought with him. He could have allowed the focus to remain on Bobby Abreu and the brilliant show he put on as part of the Home Run Derby.
Rogers still thinks this all about him. He passed on these opportunities. He appealed the suspension. He accepted his All-Star invitation and pitched (poorly) in the game. Then he did the unthinkable. Rogers got in to a verbal confrontation with another cameraman. This incident took place at a police station- a police station where Rogers was being booked. Rogers was being booked for assaulting the cameraman that started this entire mess. At least he has learned his lesson.
Reduce his suspension? I hope Selig increases it.