Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig brought finally brought the hammer down this week and handed out suspensions to 13 players for violating the league’s anti-doping rules for taking performance enhancing drugs out of that sleazy south Florida clinic, Biogenesis.
Besides Alex Rodriquez, who received a stiff ban from the game for 211 games, other notable players receiving suspensions include the Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta, San Diego’s Everth Cabrera, Texas’ Nelson Cruz, and Yankees’ Francisco Cervelli. Every player who received a suspension on Monday, besides A-Rod, was given 50-game suspensions.
None of this was very shocking. We all knew it was coming,and that Selig was going to make an example out of these rotten, drugged-up bad apples before his tenure as commissioner was up. What is somewhat surprising, as the story unfolds, is that every player besides A-Rod is accepting the suspension and moving on. Some of them have already apologized and said, frankly, that they were stupid for making the decision to cheat.
What’s not so surprising is A-Rod’s continuing denial of wrongdoing.
A-Rod, who seems to live in a different universe from ours, will appeal his 211-game suspension. Mind you, this 211-game suspension is the biggest suspension ever levied by Major League baseball has ever levied, so A-Rod may have an argument when it comes to that piece of history.
Frankly, though, it’s A-Rod’s continued denial of something we all know is true – everybody knows, and I mean everybody knows, that he’s been juicing. He was also difficult to deal with throughout the investigation, doing his damnedest to keep evidence out of Selig’s hands. Back In April, the New York Times reported investigators believed A-Rod had associates purchase documents from the Biogenesis Clinic, in an attempt to shield incriminating evidence.
Now Selig has decided to make an example out of this player who goes well beyond just being a pain in the ass to sociopathically placing himself on a high-altitude pedestal.
Officially, it was announced in a prepared statement Monday A-Rod was being disciplined “based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years” and “for attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the…commissioners’ investigation.”
Now, I’ve always been a deny ‘til you die kind of guy. Never admit that you’ve done anything wrong or illegal until somebody really proves it, at which point that you must plead guilty and beg for mercy. Lose face. Do whatever you have to do to get your punishment reduced or removed completely. And now is the time for A-Rod to plead for mercy. Unfortunately for him, his head is too big and he still believes he’s done no wrong.
A-Rod is, however, appealing the commissioners’ suspension, and will be able to play until a professional arbiter sits down and handles the appeal. I have no idea whether or not this tactic is going to work. He may be able to get his punishment reduced to 50 games. He may not. If I were his agent, I would have him sit down tonight with the media and get into a beg-for-mercy plea that, in the long run, could help him in the appeal process.
Here’s what I would tell A-Rod to say, if he were paying me:
“Baseball’s investigation has found a dark side of me that maybe you didn’t know about, and I am here to clear the air and prove to you that I am capable of making an apology. Yes, I used performance-enhancing drugs. Yes, I went to that sleazy Biogenesis operation and took whatever they would feed me. But here’s the deal. I am getting older. I’m banged up. I’m not the player I used to be. I still want to be the greatest baseball player to ever live, but my body and mind are letting me down. I can’t see the pitches like I used to. I am guessing at the plate on every at-bat. I am getting old and it hurts. I know that many of you feel the same way. Like the Republican Party, I’ve lost my edge and I don’t see it coming back. I did what I had to do to get back on top of my game and like what any good American would do, I cheated and I am sorry. Please have mercy on me, Mr. Selig: a 50-game suspension is bad enough, but a suspension that lasts through next season is a death sentence for me. Please, please have mercy on me. As you can see, it’s a very emotional time for me and my family. Please respect my privacy as I work through this period of apologizing. It’s not something I am accustomed to.”
If A-Rod were to come out and say that, hell, that speech may even end up enshrined in Cooperstown some day, right? OK, so A-Rod is never going to come out and give some sort of speech like that, but who knows? Maybe he’ll take me up on it.
Regardless of how A-Rod’s appeal goes, we all know what’s really at work in all of this. A-Rod has that ungodly lucrative contract with the Yankees. For something like $114 million, A-Rod has been nothing but a bust for the New York, and the Yankees would like nothing better than for A-Rod to screw up enough to void that contract. Secretly, the Yankees are rooting for Selig in all of this. A ban though the end of next season will undoubtedly void that contract and they’ll be able to go blow that money on some other washed-up athlete in pinstripes.
A-Rod knows all this, of course, and he’s secretly putting together his own investigative case to prove that the Yankees are behind the extended suspension with Selig. A-Rod wants his $114 million, and he’s ready to go to the mattresses for it. I can’t say I blame him. He’s washed up; he’s lost all his value.
The weird part in all of this, especially in his appeal process, is that A-Rod will be taking the field for the Yankees and doing his best to help them win some games. Underneath it all, he’s building a legal case against the team he’s playing for. You can’t dream up a script that’s better than that.