A-Rod ruling explained — how arbitrator Fredric Horowitz decided on 162 games

Big League Stew

Now that the 33-page ruling from Alex Rodriguez's suspension appeal has been made public, you can spend your night combing arbitrator Fredric Horowitz's assessment of the Biogenesis scandal until you have legalese coming out of your ears.

Seriously, there's a lot to take in. But here's a PDF version of the ruling, via the Wall Street Journal, if that's how you like to spend your time. (Note: You'll want to skip to page 44 for Horowitz's ruling, the first half of the PDF is A-Rod's lawsuit, which makes for quite a double feature).

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One of the main questions lingering after Sunday night's reveal of the case against A-Rod on "60 Minutes" was how and why Horowitz decided to knock MLB's initial 211-game suspension down to 162 games. It wasn't as simple as just saying, "this guy is done for season," although that's what eventually happened.

• Horowitz decided the facts proved that A-Rod violated MLB's Joint Drug Agreement on three separate occasions with three different substances — HGH, testosterone and IGF-1. Instead of the usual penalty structure most of us know — 50 games for a first offense, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third — Horowitz viewed these as three separate offenses with three separate drugs and thus, they warranted 150 games worth of suspension.

• Horowitz compared a few past cases of MLB discipline when sizing up an appropriate A-Rod verdict. He looked at suspensions handed down to Steve Howe (for using cocaine), Jason Grimley (PEDs with no failed test) and Guillermo Mota (two positive PED tests).

• Using the previous 150-games calculation as a benchmark, Horowitz then focused on a season's suspension rather than a certain number of games. In his explanation, he wrote:

"… No MLB player has been suspended for any substance abuse violation longer than one season ... A suspension of the entire 2014 season and 2014 postseason is supported by just cause. It is recognized this represents the longest disciplinary suspension imposed on a MLB player to date. Yes Rodriguez committed the most egregious violations of the JDA reported to date and engaged in at least two documented attempts to cover up that behavior in violation of the Basic Agreement. A suspension of one season satisfies the structures of just cause as commensurate with the severity of the his violations while affording Rodriguez the opportunity to resume his playing career in the 2015 career."

• None of the objections from A-Rod's camp about Bosch's credibility or MLB paying for documents factored into Horowitz's decision, he wrote, because he decided there was "no basis" in them.

• In conclusion, Horowitz deemed the length of the suspension unprecedented, but said A-Rod's misconduct was too.

"Based up on the entire record from the arbitration, MLB has demonstrated with clear and convincing evidence there is just cause to suspend Rodriguez for the 2014 season and 2014 postseason for having violated the JDA by the use and/or possession of testosterone, IGF-1 and HGH over the course of three years, and for the two attempts to obstruct MLB's investigation described above, which violated Article XII(B) of the Basic Agreement. While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed. The suspension imposed by MLB as modified herein is hereby sustained."

A-Rod's camp is, of course, fighting the ruling in federal court, hoping to get his suspension lifted. In other words, you'll have plenty of time to read all 33 pages of the A-Rod verdict before all this is finally decided.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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