Throw the Book At the Cheater To End Cheaters
Throw the book at him, and then clobber him with every magazine he has graced since his debut in 1994. Once that’s done, carefully place his three MVP awards in a paper bag, hand it to him and order him to leave baseball forever.
Tell Alex Rodriguez to take his scarlet millions and gaudy statistics and spend the rest of his years living with his own phony self.
Major League Baseball has a terrific opportunity to show aspiring phonies, liars and cheaters what awaits those who choose that path.
Rodriguez is an easy target, with his carefully coifed head perched mere inches below the heaviest punishment expected to be meted out to the legions involved in the Biogenesis scandal related to performance-enhancing drugs.
A-Rod’s fellow players want him gone; he’s a toxic fraud. MLB doesn’t want him around; he’s poison publicity. His employers, the New York Yankees, are poised to sing and dance in his wake; he’s a costly investment that tanked.
The Hall of Fame, which will get around to accepting the PED-tainted likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, may never want any part of Rodriguez.
A-Rod, for so many reasons, is worst cut. He was the perfectly packaged ballplayer, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, a five-tool matinee idol, every hair in place, every stitch of his image carefully sewn. He was, for the briefest of moments, the golden antidote for Bonds, who was depicted as equal parts self-righteous villain, unapologetic ogre and scheming scoundrel.
When Bonds was chasing Henry Aaron’s all-time homer record and being held up as all that was wrong with baseball, Rodriguez was being presented as all that was right.
The bitter aftertaste created when Bonds zoomed past Aaron was sure to evaporate once A-Rod came along to restore honor and dignity. MLB commissioner Bud Selig implicitly longed for Bonds’ crown to be lifted by the more palatable Rodriguez.
And now? Selig is furious with his guy A-Rod. Of course he is. Fury follows betrayal.
Bud says he is sickened by A-Rod’s association with performance-enhancing drugs. Of course he is, for the story never ends and the lies never stop.
For his latest trick, Rodriguez allegedly attempted to purchase potentially incriminating evidence from Biogenesis, as if there is a reputation to protect.
Rodriguez reportedly tested positive in 2003. Four years later, with Jose Canseco calling him out, A-Rod proclaimed innocence to Katie Couric on 60 Minutes. In February 2009, Rodriguez held a news conference during which he acknowledged using PEDs from 2001 through 2003. In trying to spread blame, Rodriguez made the despicable move of citing as his supplier a cousin named Yuri Sucart.
That ’03 season, after which Rodriguez received an MVP award, led to a 10-year, $275 million contract for him to become a Yankee.
The last few years have brought little contentment, other than dollar signs. Rodriguez lived in the impressive shadow of Derek Jeter, perceived as the Yankees exemplar and conceivably the most professional player in baseball. Superficiality exposed, A-Rod was subjected to boos, ridicule and scorn.
Though Bonds barely was tolerated by many of his fellow players, there was a visible respect for his lack of pretense. His arrogance was almost noble, as if he were royalty.
A-Rod, as the King of Phonies, a self-centered man of boundless vanity, is the object of contempt. Baseball types can have very thin skin, and nothing irritates it more than a transparent fraud.
That’s what hurts more than anything. Rodriguez had everything a ballplayer could want and chose to give himself more.
In a profession rife with greed, he overindulged. He was the boy who consistently fibbed about eating, even as his chin was consistently covered in crumbs.
I’m sure the 647 home runs and 1,950 RBIs felt good at the time. No doubt there is plenty of pride to a lifetime batting average of .300, with an astounding .945 OPS. In the numbers game, A-Rod made out.
With about a half-billion dollars in contracts, he won the money competition.
Rodriguez squandered the integrity game. At 38, when legends usually are celebrated, he is naked on an island.
May he be marooned and accept it, for staying would not change A-Rod’s story. He is the cheater of cheaters, a corrupt force whose personal chapter in baseball history is surpassed only by that of segregation.