Originally written November 25, 2013 on The Other Paper:
Out of the hundreds of mourners attending the memorial service of Michael Weiner, the late executive director of baseball's Player's Association who died at age 51 from a brain tumor, were the two central characters in the midst of MLB's highly-charged grievance hearings — Alex Rodriguez and Bud Selig — newly sworn enemies who almost awkwardly ran into each other at a Paramus, N.J. chapel.Selig left the chapel ahead of Rodriguez, ensuring there would be no bitter exchange between the two, who are embroiled in a nasty arbitration battle over the 211-game drug suspension Selig handed the three-time MVP on Aug. 5. A-Rod’s arbitration hearing ended Thursday, but the slugger abruptly left those proceedings Wednesday after independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled that Selig did not have to testify as a witness in the matter. Rodriguez took to the airwaves Wednesday afternoon to deny using performance-enhancing drugs and to castigate Selig. Horowitz will now render his verdict, which is expected sometime in the next month or possibly in January.Rodriguez, who has sued Selig and MLB and has threatened to even take the union to the courts if the arbitrator’s ruling isn’t acceptable to him, had also taken issue with statements Weiner made in August, when he said he recommended a negotiated settlement for a certain length that he claimed Major League Baseball did not offer. Dozens of prominent names from all areas of baseball were in attendance and, although many former players were on hand at the chapel, Rodriguez was the only active player to pay his respects, and the only member of the New York Yankees organization to attend.In honor of the beloved Weiner’s penchant for wearing Chuck Taylor high-top sneakers, several of the mourners donned the famous basketball shoes for the service. Rabbi Mary Zamore even remarked that “Mike Weiner was known for his informality,” and encouraged the standing-room only crowd to sit on the floor if they wished.After Rodriguez left Weiner’s service, he traveled to the La Marina restaurant in Washington Heights, which hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner for 300 seniors from upper Manhattan and Bronx nursing homes.The Upper-Manhattan hot-spot is co-owned by Fernando Mateo, also the president of Hispanics Across America, the nonprofit group which drew dozens of A-Rod supporters to Park Avenue while Rodriguez’s arbitration unfolded. Rodriguez shook hands and visited with the seniors Sunday, but did not stop to talk with three reporters at the event.
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