If someone had a dime for every dramatic moment created by Alex Rodriguez, they would earn close to the bloated salary the Yankee third baseman makes.
Once a young superstar destined for the Hall of Fame, Rodriguez has now turned into one of the most fraudulent players to ever play the game of baseball. And that’s the problem: he is still playing.
A connection was found between Rodriguez and Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic that allegedly has distributed banned performance-enhancing drugs. That resulted in a 211-game suspension that would keep him out of the game through the 2014 season.
Rodriguez appealed the suspension and can play until the appeal is heard.
Usually, when someone gets punished, it happens immediately. Children can’t get grounded and then tell their parents they will appeal the punishment until after the party they want to go to that weekend. The rules should not be different for Rodriguez, or any professional athlete for that matter.
“I’ve got a problem with it. You bet I do,” Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey said to The Boston Globe. “How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he’s playing. I’m not sure that’s right. It’s pretty evident he’s been doing stuff for a lot of years I’ve been facing him.”
Putting rivalries and individual biases aside, it is fair for players who have not cheated to balk at Rodriguez’s ability to play through a suspension. Fans are justified in booing him when he comes to the plate, as he experienced heavily in the recent series in Boston last weekend.
He’s a cheater who is getting a temporary pass for the rest of the season because, according to USA Today, the arbitrator assigned to the case cannot hear the appeal until after the season because of scheduling conflicts.
Whatever the arbitrator has to do is irrelevant. The league needs to assign a new arbitrator before Rodriguez is allowed to alter the course of other teams’ seasons any further.
The Yankees won that series against the Red Sox last weekend, and they have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games.
Any positive impact he makes on the game from now until the end of the season should be voided. The wins he helps his team get consequently hurt other teams’ chances at the postseason, which alters the integrity of the game. If anything, every at-bat he has should count as an out so there is no incentive for the Yankees to keep him on the field.
Instead, he can play during his appeal and hit home runs like he always has, regardless of whether he is cheating or not.
Apparently, he believes he did not cheat at all. According to SI.com, Rodriguez chose not to accept a lesser penalty than the 211-game suspension, even though MLB offered him as low as 50 games, which is the penalty for a first-time offender of the league’s drug policy. That’s pretty generous considering he has already admitted to using performance enhancers from 2001-2003.
Either he plans on his lawyers bailing him out in court or he really is innocent. There are no other explanations for why a guilty player would try to get out of such an obvious debacle.
Other stars of the game like Ryan Braun and Nelson Cruz have come clean and accepted their suspension for their connection with Biogenesis.
Rodriguez should follow in their footsteps instead of dragging this out longer. The integrity of America’s pastime hangs on the line, and if Rodriguez cannot prove his innocence, the game will have become a circus of drama run by cheaters who are allowed to play through their punishments.