The Alex Rodriguez suspension story is raging on, and who knows when it might run off a cliff and be gone forever?
The answer is: not any time soon.
After getting his PED-related suspension reduced to 162 games - all for the upcoming season - A-Rod is going to federal court in an attempt to get arbitrator Frederic Horowitz’s decision overturned. A-Rod is also suing the players union, which is upset for two reasons. One, the union has been trying to help him; and two, A-Rod made critical remarks about the late union chief, Michael Weiner, something the union has said is inexcusable.
Legal experts across the country say that Rodriguez’s bid to vacate the arbitrator’s decision is a long shot at best. Judges would usually say that an arbitrator’s decision in a labor dispute is binding and want nothing to do with reversing a decision.
And given that A-Rod has taken on the union, his last island of support, who among the rank-and-file members of would come out and support A-Rod at a time when he’s fighting the union’s leaders?
The next battle between A-Rod and the Yankees comes next month when he attempts to join the Yankees during spring training in Tampa. It will be an incredible distraction and a media cluster, everyone wanting to describe the cold shoulder the Yankees players will give A-Rod once he’s the clubhouse.
The scene could be similar to when pitcher Roger Clemens, trying to fulfill a lifetime contract with the Houston Astros after his retirement, came to the team’s spring training camp in Kissimmee, Fla., and worked with minor league pitchers on fields away from the big club.
After reporters and fans moved to the minor league fields to watch Clemens, then-owner Drayton McLane asked Clemens to leave the grounds because he was a distraction.
A-Rod’s problem is that he’s pointing fingers at everyone except himself.
His motivation is complex. He’s trying to win back his reputation and the money. He’s owed $61 million on the final three years of his contract when he is eligible to return in 2015. Much of it has to do with his anger toward commissioner Bud Selig, whom A-Rod thinks is trying to railroad his career. He might be thinking about the satisfaction he’ll get if he could destroy Selig’s reputation.
But the biggest motivation for A-Rod might be his fear of not having baseball. Even though he’s a well-read man and has been successful in business, he’s defined by baseball, being the best power hitter in history and by making the Hall of Fame.
He doesn’t think he can live without baseball. It has been this way since he was a kid. As a 16-year-old, he once slid into third base, sprained his ankle, cried and freaked out that his baseball playing days were done.
Today, A-Rod is still that 16-year-old, fearful of what happens to him if he’s not playing baseball. The fact that he would go all over the world looking for unreliable doctors to help him and put all his faith in someone as shady as Anthony Bosch says plenty about A-Rod’s desperation of not being a baseball player.
Mark McGwire had plenty of soul-searching after his steroids incident, but now he’s taken responsibility for his actions and understands that he can live without making Cooperstown. Rafael Palmeiro blamed a lot of other people for his ties to steroids, but he, too, is coming to the realization that he was to blame and no one else.
A-Rod’s career could have been much different if he had pleaded guilty and taken a 50-game suspension last year, as Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta did.
Now, even if A-Rod would do an about-face, drop his suits, apologize and take responsibility, it might be too late.