When Alex Rodriguez enters the Yankee dugout during the remainder of this season, what do you think he’s thinking about? Do you think Alex is thinking about his appeal? What about how his team looks at him? Or maybe he will be thinking about how he got into this “nightmare” as he put it. More importantly, what does baseball think about his situation? The MLB has levied Alex with a lengthy suspension through the 2014 season, but his lore, his legend has taken a dramatic turn from future Hall of Famer and home run king to the poster child for Major League Baseball and their PED prevention program.
Rodriguez, the 18yr old first overall selection by the Seattle Mariners in 1993, has gone from the king of baseball to a pariah and he can thank no one but himself for his sorrows. His story is more like a Greek play than a career in professional sports. The boy who had it all, the chance to be king, but makes that fatal decision which inevitably leads to his tragic demise. Homer would be proud. Rodriguez will become the only player to date to decide to go against the MLB’s sanctions.
It is this refusal to accept the MLB’s sanctions and the resulting appeal process that has initiated an entirely new set of disturbing questions that fans want answered by the MLB. For instance, why is Alex allowed to play, especially if he is considered such a danger to the integrity of the game? Have Bud Selig and the law makers of Major League Baseball handled this appropriately? Should the players association defend a man who has soured the public’s opinion of baseball? Why does Alex feel the need to fight? The answers to these questions may not be known for some time. What will happen to baseball in the mean time? The fact that a man who your sources had enough evidence to suspend longer than anyone else in MLB history without banning him outright gets to bat cleanup for a team that will be paying part of his second 200+ million dollar contract is preposterous. Regardless of public opinion, baseball has a duty to protect itself from, well… Itself!
It makes me want to ask baseball how you can ban Pete Rose for betting on his own team to win, but you allow Rodriguez to continue playing? Didn’t he cheat the game as well? This isn’t a legal court of law, but the court of public opinion has spoken. The case has been thoroughly investigated. The evidence is conclusive. Because of the evidence Rodriguez should be banned from playing today, now, instantly. And if, God forbid, Alex proves during the appeal process that he was unjustly accused, baseball will erase any and all mention of this inquiry from its archives and restore his name along with any money owed. Instead MLB creates even more storyline. His appeal allows even more information to leak each and every day until they enact his suspension. As a fan of the game, it would be difficult to feel sorry for someone who has not been accountable for their own actions. There are consequences for promoting yourself as PED free when you’re not. Major League Baseball is doing a disservice to their cause and may irrefutably affect the loyalty of their fans because of it. Of all the things from this conflict that could tarnish the luster of this beautiful game their decision to allow Rodriguez to fight the suspension takes the cake. The fans, executives, and more importantly the players deserve to play and be a part of the game on a level playing field. Until the community of baseball unites against performance enhancing drugs, we will continue to see the likes of players like Rodriguez take advantage. Only time will tell.