Today Alex Rodriguez brought out his heavy duty digging equipment with which he will bury whatever may be left of his career. He decided to sue both MLB and the MLB Players Association in Federal Court in order to try to have his 162 game suspension lifted.
A-Rod’s hubris is amazing. It is not enough that he was one of the most talented players of his generation, who had he not used PEDs would have probably been a Hall of Fame player. However, he admitted to using them in 2009 after he had gotten the New York Yankees to buy in to a massive 10 year contract, at the time the largest ever proffered to a baseball player. Despite poor playoff performances and declining productivity A-Rod did not seem grateful to his organization nor his teammates. He suffered injuries that may have been made worse by his PED use.
When he “came clean” it fooled many, including Peter Gammons, a veteran baseball journalist. Gammons said of Rodriguez at the time: “No, I did not know Alex Rodriguez would reveal what he revealed. No, I have never interviewed anyone who drained himself more intensely as he tore off his mask for the world to see.” I hoped that his admission would spur others to come clean and help usher in a new era where the use of PEDs would be scorned by every player. I had great hopes for A-Rod after the admission.
Then within months of his admission he was going back for more. Rodriguez was named as the number one culprit in a major PED scandal and last year MLB suspended him for 211 games, which he appealed with the help of the players association.
The second infraction in which detailed testimony was provided about Rodriguez’s use by the director of the Biogenesis Labs, Anthony Bosch was damming. It showed A-Rod blatantly defying baseball and his team beginning in July of 2010 and continuing through the end of the 2012 season. Those disclosures brought additional distraction and turmoil to the Yankee Clubhouse.
The case went to arbiter Fredric Horowitz, who reduced the suspension to the 162 games of the 2014 season and the playoffs. Before the report was released, Rodriguez’s legal team sought to have a redacted version of the arbitration hearing entered into the record. That has ensured that the entire report was made public. The report is ugly and it makes Rodriguez look even worse. Both the lawsuit filed by Rodriguez and the Arbitration Panel Report are available here: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/ARODMLB01132014.pdf
Rodriguez has consistently shown that he has little or no respect for his fans, his teammates or the organizations that have paid him so handsomely. The lawsuit against Baseball and the Player’s Association was expected by all, but it will backfire. There are rumors that Rodriguez may try to attend the Yankees Spring Training. He knows that by doing this he will keep the attention on him but the blowback will be great, and it will disrupt the time that the Yankees need to prepare for the season.
I think that the courts will uphold the suspension and that it is very probable that Rodriguez has played his last game in Major League Baseball. I for one hope that this is the case. His arrogance, hubris and bold faced lies and narcism make other PED users look positively honorable.
I have written a number of articles about the Steroid Era and PEDs. I am not a hard ass and do not favor banning players when the managers that turned a blind eye for years are going to the Hall of Fame, and the organizations which turned a blind eye in pursuit of profit are not penalized.
That being said, Rodriguez’s case is different. He not only violated the policy of PEDs but he went back to the well in a most egregious manner. His lawsuit and statements by his lawyers only add fuel to the fire that his is stoking around himself. Even those who might be in his corner or at least been sympathetic to him, are being tarred by the lawyer’s statements.
Alex Rodriguez could have been an exemplar player after admitting PED use in 2009. All he did was have to stay clean. But his desire to break the home run record and the 800 home run plateau led him to destroy his career and reputation. In the process he betrayed his teammates, his fans and himself. Mark Twain said “There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it.” Rodriguez has no ability to conceal his vanity, it is on display for all to see.