Baseball Will Never Be the Same

A-Rod, lightning rod

A-Rod, lightning rod

Mark it for all time: August 5, 2013, a date which will live in North American sports infamy. Thirty-eight-year-old Alex Rodriguez has been suspended a whopping 211 games for allegedly using PED. But he is playing and earning his salary anyway. In the words of Liberace, who faced his own lawsuit challenges, A-Rod is crying all the way to the bank.

There are so many dimensions to this historic day, which include the suspension of eleven other players in the Major League Baseball firmament—a few of the names almost as big as Rodriguez’s—that I (Evander) hardly even know where to begin. On January 29, 2013, A-Rod (since his 1994 debut one of the brightest stars in the history of baseball) was tied to a Miami, Florida, laboratory connected with steroids, HGH, and testosterone-boosterism. What followed were denials, coverups, lawyers, and, oh yes, recovery/rehab from surgery on a formerly “good hip.”

We have already detailed the bizarre FedEx mis-delivery of blood (or urine?) samples of Ryan Braun, one of the newer talents in the game. Braun finally has taken his suspension of 65 games, and issued last month, like a man. The others, both brand names and lesser talents, were handed 50-game suspensions.

Only Alex Rodriguez, tonight in Chicago playing his opening day of the 2013 season, has filed an appeal, backed by the Players Association under standard-arbitration rules, to run out the season-clock. Alex is taking a chance that he will not be injured. Suspended players on the DL have those games that they miss count toward their respective detentions. One can assume A-Rod mostly seeks to postpone the inevitable due to his present age. After 211 games away from The Game, he would be forty-years old.

He also will lose a ton of salary, by some estimates $34 million. I again assume Rodriguez is gambling that his suspension, on appeal, will be reduced; and, in the meantime, well…he is doing a Liberace. (The pre-game press conference stopped just short of “striking the lacrimae rerum note.”)

PED is one of those nefarious, textbook euphemisms in circulation today, like “ethnic cleansing.” That one sounds so…germ-free, doesn’t it? What could be wrong with performance-enhancement? Doesn’t medication improve health? For decades, MLB, all of it, from the Commissioner to the Players Association to the coaches and probably even down to the medical staff, has buried their/its Lernaean Hydra heads.

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About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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