If you haven't been paying attention to the Alex Rodriguez circus in New York this week, then I have only two things to say. 1) You've been missing the juiciest slab of soap-opera to unfold in the city that never sleeps since Carrie Bradshaw hung up her stilettos. And 2) I don't blame you in the slightest, because much though I am enjoying the spectacle of seeing the Yankees thoroughly embarrassed by association, it's a saga that - much like Sex and the City - has gone on, well past the point where it ceased to be more than background radiation. Still, events of the past few days are worth a recap. Thanks to SB Nation for additional reporting.
and MLB resumed their grievance hearings on Monday, as he continued his appeal of a 211-game suspension out of the Biogenesis scandal. There had been a delay: a scheduled interview of Rodriguez with Major League Baseball on Friday was called off, due to A-Rod having the dreaded "flu-like symptoms." Things rumbled along for the first couple of days. Questioned on Tuesday was Dan Mullin, the senior vice president of MLB’s department of investigations. Rodriguez's camp has accused him of having sexual relations with a Biogenesis employee, and paid over $100,000 to acquire a cell phone which allegedly contains "suggestive" text messages from him.
It was Wednesday when things erupted, Rodriguez apparently highly-upset that independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz wouldn't compel Commissioner Bud Selig to testify. The defense wanted to quiz Selig about the decision to go after Rodriguez, in the absence of any positive drug test. However, that didn't happen - MLB pointing out that Selig has never testified in any such hearing - Rodriguez told baseball's COO Rob Manfred that he is "full of shit."and left. In a statement issued later that dau, Rodriguez said, "The absurdity and injustice just became too much. I walked out and will not participate any further in this farce."
"Not participate" clearly didn't mean "going home and staying quiet." Instead, Rodriguez headed over to WFAN where he vented, at quite some length, to Mike Francesca. He accused Selig of being on a witch-hunt for Rodriguez: "He's retiring... and to put me on his mantle on the way out, that's a hell of a trophy." He also seemed more or less to give up on the entire process, saying "I'm done. I don't have a chance. Let the arbiter decide whatever he decides. I'm sure Selig and whoever will be the beneficiaries of that decision." He denied point-blank any wrong-doing, but a body-language expert reckons Rodriguez was telling porkies during the interview.
Reactions around the sports pundit world ran the whole gamut. Jeff Passan said A-Rod "is nothing more than Jose Canseco, convinced that the black helicopters are real, that Rob Manfred aimed at him from the grassy knoll, that a grand conspiracy exists and he's not going to put up with it anymore. He took his ball and went home Wednesday to the fiefdom of A-Rod, where nobody is out to get him. And that makes sense. He's the only one who lives there." But ESPN's Jim Caple took a much more charitable tone towards the embattled slugger, and put the case for the defense:
Major League Baseball IS hosing A-Rod. No, I don't believe he's completely innocent, but league rules are clear that a first-time offense for PED use is punishable by a 50-game suspension. Because A-Rod's first proven use of PEDs was before this rule went into effect, this would be his first offense (if indeed he is guilty). If baseball wants the players to obey the rules, the league must follow them as well.
If not, Selig absolutely has an obligation to testify in this case.
Of course there was also Peter Gammons, comparing A-Rod to the Boston bombers, but I think we all should draw a veil over that unfortunate parallel. I think there's something to be said for both sides here. It does seem like an awful lot of time and effort has been spent by MLB to "get A-Rod," and one senses this effort might be connected to Ryan Braun skating away from his 2011 NLDS positive test. But given Rodriguez is the sole player to have appealed against the suspensions resulting from the Biogenesis clinic, it seems fairly clear that something dubious was going on. And his history is such, that I have a sense justice is probably being served here, if not the letter of the law.
So have this week's events done anything to change your opinion of Alex Rodriguez?