The saga continues.
Alex Rodriguez is suing the MLB and the Players Association in an effort to overturn his 162-game suspension. By taking on his own union, Rodriguez has demonstrated a willingness to alienate anyone who has ever been in his corner if it means avoiding suspension. He’s truly making Lance Armstrong look virtuous – at least Armstrong used his fame to start the Livestrong Foundation after destroying people’s lives.
It’s one thing to use PEDs. It’s quite another to attempt to buy the evidence. And it’s quite another to desperately take the case to federal court. It’s just sad at this point, the lengths Rodriguez is going to in order to put personal glory ahead of the integrity of his sport and those associated with it. I doubt anyone expects Rodriguez to win his case, and even if he does, he’s already destroyed whatever legacy he had as a player. Rather than going down as one of the greatest shortstops in the history of the game, he’ll be remembered as arguably the greatest disappointment.
Despite all of his mistakes, he could have achieved some measure of redemption by simply owning up to his wrongdoings and accepting the punishment when he was caught. Just look at three of the most recent offenders:
Melky Cabrera accepted a 50-game suspension in 2012. He requested to be taken out of consideration for awards like the batting title and didn’t complain when the San Francisco Giants kept him off the postseason roster. The following season, he received a two-year, $16 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Jhonny Peralta accepted a 50-game suspension in 2013. He just got a four-year, $53 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Ryan Braun initially won his 50-game suspension appeal after a positive test but was implicated again when evidence surfaced of his links to Biogenesis (the same documents that linked Rodriguez). He accepted a 65-game suspension – 50 for violating the drug policy, 15 for his actions during the appeal.
I know getting a big contract doesn’t mean the guy has redeemed himself and I’m sure there are those who believe all three of these guys have disgraced the game and that they’ve done irreparable damage to professional baseball and shouldn’t be allowed in a Major League ballpark. Still, all three are going to play next year. All three have a chance to win back the affection of fans. All three will have the opportunity to restore some legitimacy to their baseball careers – Andy Pettitte seems to have done so after he admitted using HGH.
The Hall of Fame is totally out of the question for Rodriguez, but by admitting his transgressions, he could have salvaged some respect and potentially a smaller suspension. Instead, he obstructed the MLB’s investigation, received a longer suspension as a result, and is now fighting that suspension under the delusion that he can win.
Whether Rodriguez plays again or not, he is going to be one of the most despised players in the history of the game, and nothing he can do will change that.