On Chapman, MLB delivered
Right up front, let's get this out of the way. To calculate what the horrors of domestic violence, the physical and emotional toll, should equate to in terms of baseball games, is an impossible task.
There isn't a formula. Instead, commissioner Rob Manfred gathered all the facts against Aroldis Chapman and tried to come up with a verdict that not only fit the evidence, but would stick as a solid precedent for MLB's new domestic-violence policy.
By suspending Chapman for 30 games, Manfred got it right — or as close as he could reasonably hope for.
This wasn't as straightforward as the NFL's Ray Rice brutally knocking out his fiancée on a security camera. Or even the Rockies' Jose Reyes, being arrested and charged for physically assaulting his wife. With Chapman, there were allegations, but the only proven detail was an alarming one — him firing a handgun eight times into a garage wall.
That, plainly, was domestic violence. Despite the police report stating that Chapman's girlfriend showed no signs of physical abuse, Manfred correctly determined she may have been harmed in other ways.
"I found Mr. Chapman's acknowledged conduct on that day to be inappropriate under the negotiated policy," Manfred said in a statement Tuesday, "particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner."
While Broward County chose not to pursue charges against Chapman, Manfred had to operate in less clearly defined margins. In the end, the 30-game suspension was a number that delivered what Manfred no doubt was aiming for — a significant punishment, but one that Chapman wouldn't challenge on appeal. Rather than go through a contentious hearing, Manfred got a public apology from a contrite Chapman, who now goes into the policy as a model first test case.
Did Chapman deserve worse? Maybe. But with Manfred on one side, the union on the other, and an arbitrator in the middle, it's very possible Chapman could have got away with less. Next up is Reyes, and he figures to get considerably more after his trial next month.
Manfred gets credit for navigating through uncharted territory, and Chapman, to a degree, admitted to his egregious mistakes. But there are no winners. The sad part is having the need for a domestic-violence policy in the first place. The best possible outcome is that it never, ever, happens again. — Newsday (TNS)