Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season last week and now another superstar is on everyone’s lips as the next recipient of a massive suspension for using performance enhancing drugs.
Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees is no stranger to controversy over PEDs in baseball, but this most recent scandal won’t break his career or tarnish his legacy. We all know that Rodriguez is probably the best hitter of his generation and we all know that he has used drugs in the past and likely continues to use them to stay competitive. None of this is surprising to anyone anymore, and any recent doping only serves to confirm what we already knew about the super-rich Yankee.
The main difference between Braun and Rodriguez is age. This and any future drug-related suspensions for Braun will irrevocably hurt his career numbers and his reputation as a trustworthy fan icon. Braun is only 29 and has a large amount of playing time ahead of him if he can get back on the field. Though his personal reputation may be tarnished, he may win redemption if he can stop using drugs and bring a World Series title to the Brewers and their fans.
Rodriguez, on the other hand, is 38 and is at the end of his career, drug suspensions or not. He has already put up his Hall of Fame numbers and no future suspensions can take away the home runs he has already hit. As a hero for fans, Rodriguez’s reputation was tarnished when he inked the two largest contracts in baseball history, won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009 and then got caught cheating.
The Yankees still owe him in excess of $100 million between now and when his contract expires in 2018, so Rodriguez can rest easy with his hitting records, World Series ring and tons of money.
In short, we already know Rodriguez’s legacy and no suspension can change it in any way. It may be a small consolation to us non-Yankee fans (and we are legion) that the controversial slugger’s career may end at the hands of a drug suspension instead of holding up yet another World Series trophy.