Above image: Alex Rodriguez. Image by Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com
A new year tends to start with well-meant resolutions; goals we’d like to achieve that we haven’t; issues we need to work on. I’m trying to be less confrontational, and kinder to people. I’d like to think I’m already not a dick, but there’s always room for improvement. You don’t have to be a saint, just don’t be an asshole, because that can only make your life harder, regardless of the talent you might have.
My friend Todd and I were discussing Alex Rodriguez’s 162 games suspension last weekend. His wife heard our conversation and asked why he was going to miss the whole season. We paused for a second, I was trying to find the best way to state something along the lines of “alleged repeated PED use.” Todd just said: “For being an asshole, basically.” We chuckled a bit, but I couldn’t help thinking that was an important part of Major League Baseball’s decision.
I’m not trying to justify MLB’s suspension. I think the 214 games sanction from 2013 was also ridiculous, and expected the appeal to give him a Ryan Braun-like suspension. The rules, after all, are pretty clear: 50 games for a first offense, 100 for the second, and a lifetime ban for a third one. MLB claims it’s also because A-Rod tried to impede their investigation, yet when Melky Cabrera created a fake website to pretend he ordered a supplement fraudulently spiked with testosterone that caused his positive drug test, he still got a normal 50 games suspension, with no added penalties.
This is about more than the suspicions of previous PED use, or A-Rod’s 2009 confession. It’s bigger than BALCO and Biogenesis. Even bigger than the ridiculous contract the Yankees gave him and are now desperately trying to get rid of. The dude’s just not liked. People are a lot less likely to give you a break if you’re a jerk. Put it this way: This wouldn’t happen to Derek Jeter. Not only because The Captain is unlikely to get caught doing steroids, but because people like Jeter. They like who he is, on and off the field. They respect his poise, personality, leadership and post-season success. A-Rod’s? Not so much.
And I’m still rooting for Rodriguez in his lawsuit against MLB and the players’ association. This is definitely a witch-hunt. It’s an example Bug Selig is trying to make of someone he doesn’t like, to protect his legacy as commissioner of baseball and his holier-than-thou stance against PED users.
It’s going to be a long year for A-Rod. A lot of time to reflect, while he watches his Yanks on TV, hopefully thinking, “I wonder if I could have handled this differently…”