If you’re a sports fanatic like me then there’s nothing you are more tired of hearing about than performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Biogenesis, steroids, PEDs, HGH, testosterone, etc. are the most annoying terms to enter into sports lingo since LeBron James did “the decision”. In light of the recent suspension of Alex Rodriguez and the fact that I am a die-hard, angry Yankee fan: here is my reaction to the Alex Rodriguez suspension and a rant about PEDs in general.
My first reaction to the Alex Rodriguez suspension was GREAT! I have despised A-Rod since he came into the league to be honest. Back in his Seattle days it was more because I am a Yankee fan and there was a rivalry between him, Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra. Obviously I sided with Jeter as a Yankee fan. That said, I greatly admired his skills and acknowledged he was one of the most talented players I had ever seen-both offensively and defensively.
When Juan Gonzalez somehow won the 1996 AL MVP award, I argued that A-Rod got shafted; which in fact he did. A-Rod was a part of some good Mariners teams in the late 90’s and then fled Seattle for the largest contract in sports history with the Texas Rangers-10 years and $252 Million. This is the contract that skewed all other contracts in baseball moving forward.
A-Rod put up gaudy numbers for a bad Texas team and even won an MVP on a last place team that featured a bunch of known steroid users. Contrary to what the Mitchell Report came up with, the Mets and Yankees were not the only teams using steroids.
The Rangers (formerly owned by President George W. Bush) had a ton of them over the years and boasted some of the best players who are known to have used PEDs. Starting with Jose Canseco to A-Rod, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and Ivan Rodriguez; the Rangers had a Hall of Fame lineup of cheaters.
A-Rod was jealous of Derek Jeter and was tired of losing so he and his then agent, Scott Boras, tried to orchestrate a trade to the Boston Red Sox. I was so happy about this because it would have given me more of a reason to hate Boston. However, that fell thru and for some reason the Yankees traded for him and a portion of his monster contract for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later (Joaquin Arias).
A-Rod continued to put up huge regular season numbers for the Yankees and would go on to become the youngest person to hit 500 homers and then 600 homers. However, his failures in the postseason and his constant off field issues made many Yankee fans loathe him. He also would be linked to, busted for and lie about steroids in 2007, 2009 and other times.
He came up with some cockamamie story about he only used PEDs from 2001-2003 when he was with Texas because of a “loosey-goosey” attitude and how he felt pressure from his massive contract. He said one day he was just at Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona and it just hit him-what am I doing…and he stopped. A clear lie and most reasonable people believe that he has been using all along but didn’t want to self incriminate himself after baseball banned PEDs. His statements were clearly rehearsed.
Fast forward to Monday, August 5th, 2013. After a lengthy investigation, A-Rod is suspended for 211 games for PED use and his involvement and subsequent obstruction of the Biogenesis investigation that had linked him to a PED operation.
Reaction to the Alex Rodriguez suspension was almost unilaterally positive by fans and media. Most peoples’ opinion of him is poor and almost nobody believes a word he says. The problem with A-Rod is he is completely disingenuous. He is nearly impossible to like from a fan standpoint.
His mannerisms are as if he doesn’t give a shit about anyone and he doesn’t even acknowledge essentially, that anything is even going on. He seems to have the Barry Bonds ability to compartmentalize things in his own mind and just carry on as if nothing is happening.
At his press conference Monday in Chicago before his first game back; which was a complete sham; he refused to answer direct questions. He refused to deny using PEDs; which obviously says that he is guilty. Using words like ‘process’ over and over, made him look like a poster boy for ‘I have a lot of money and my lawyers are going to help me out of this’.
Now I am the first to admit that I want A-Rod off the Yankees and I was rooting for a lifetime ban to be honest. However, I know that wasn’t possible legally. That said, I have a few problems with the eventual 211 game suspension that Commissioner Bud Selig came up with.
First, Selig had to know that A-Rod would appeal the suspension as it was done under the drug agreement with the players union that was collectively bargained. As a result of that, Selig overstepped his bounds and in my opinion, there is no way the suspension will hold up in arbitration.
Selig should’ve done one of two things. First, suspended him under the best interest of baseball clause or second; made a deal where there would be no appeal-meaning in the 100-150 games area. With the current situation, the arbitration process will carry on until December and A-Rod will be allowed to play during his appeal process. Additionally, I can guarantee you that the arbitrator, Frederic Horowitz, will lessen the suspension.
So Alex Rodriguez will be allowed to make a mockery of baseball, and receive unlimited attention for likely the rest of this season. My guess is that he will be back playing around the All-Star break next year as I expect the suspension to be lessened to closer to 100 games. Selig had a chance to knock one out of the park here and he blew it.
He suspended 13 other players for their involvement with Biogenesis and he got them to agree to not appeal their suspension but he left A-Rod with no choice but to appeal. We all know he’s guilty but that doesn’t change the fact that any of us would appeal in his situation. He will likely get the suspension minimized and will save himself millions of dollars.
The bottom line is that Alex Rodriguez wins. He wins because to him it doesn’t matter. His legacy is shot anyway. He is never going to get into the Hall of Fame so the only thing left for him to do is to keep playing and collect as much of the $100 Million or so that he is owed by the Yankees; who signed him to the worst contract in the history of sports in 2007. So A-Rod wins-again.
Another thing this Biogenesis nonsense brings to light is that Major League Baseball (MLB) is not very good at investigating. The only reason these suspensions ever even happened is because a small newspaper in Miami broke this story. MLB wasn’t looking for a company like Biogenesis; which there are many others like it undoubtedly. MLB simply reacted but they need to be more proactive. The Bud Selig take a bow tour is really annoying-acting like he did so much here and taking credit for everything. It was put in his lap on a platter and he still screwed it up in my view.
This also brings to light the fact that MLB testing is easy to beat because none of these players ever tested positive for PEDs except for Ryan Braun-who beat the rap in arbitration on a technicality.
We all know that science is always ahead of the testing but this is ridiculous. MLB seems to be making an effort and I applaud that. However, the real problem lies in that the rewards still outweigh the risk.
PED users, even if caught and suspended, are still allowed to play and to make a lot of money. See Melky Cabrera last year. He is suspended 50 games and not allowed to play in the World Series but is rewarded with a 2 year multi-million dollar deal from the Toronto Blue Jays.
So yes he was suspended for 50 games and was publicly vilified but it was soon forgotten. Now he is still living the high life making more money than 99% of people will see in their lifetimes. Biogenesis proves to me that cheating pays off.
I cannot blame these guys for doing it. There is so much money on the line for them, that it almost makes sense to do it. The rewards far outweigh the downfall. If these guys don’t make the Hall of Fame-they don’t care. As fans, we care, but players don’t really care.
It may annoy them a little but do you think Mark McGwire is upset about how rich he is? Do you think Barry Bonds is giving back any of his cars and houses? Do you think Sammy Sosa is giving his millions to charity to punish himself for cheating? These guys are filthy rich and it is because of cheating baseball and I truly think-good for them. They took a risk and to be honest, it PAID off.
We as fans don’t have to like them but what do they care! When they retire, you’ll likely never see them again. Their friends and family will still love them and they will never have to lift a finger to work ever again if they don’t want to. This is the problem that MLB faces.
This is America…and in America (it appears), if you’re not cheating-you’re not trying!