Column: Whether he gets a year or life, not much sympathy for A-Rod taking punishment

  • Article by: TIM DAHLBERG , AP Sports Columnist
  • Updated: August 1, 2013 - 7:08 AM
hide

Alex Rodriguez

Photo: Carlos Osorio, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Detroit Tigers know what's coming, so they went out and got themselves a new shortstop for the rest of the season. The Yankees know, too, though they don't seem nearly as concerned about their upcoming loss.

The dominoes are falling in baseball's latest drug scandal and by now everyone but Alex Rodriguez has a good idea what their punishment will be. For A-Rod, it's a bit more complicated, though the one thing that seems virtually certain is that he'll never put on the pinstripes again.

The Yankees don't want him, and neither does baseball. Long a target of fans because of his oversized contract and unchecked ego, he's now the biggest target of the biggest probe Major League Baseball has ever launched into the drug use that has infested the sport for the better part of two decades.

Ryan Braun got nearly a half year off for lying and cheating, but A-Rod will surely get more. Right now the over-under seems to be the rest of this year and next, but there's speculation Bud Selig could use his power to try to ban Rodriguez for life if he fights it.

It's almost unthinkable. The player who once seemed destined to go down as one of the greatest to play the game could be banned for life from that very game.

Think that might cause some other players to think twice before they juice again?

"Nobody will take these drugs if they believe the minute they are caught they're out for good," former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent said. "They just won't."

A lifetime ban might seem a bit extreme, though in A-Rod's case it goes beyond the simple use of performance-enhancing drugs. The Yankees expect him to be accused of recruiting other athletes to a Miami clinic where drugs were dispensed, and trying to obstruct MLB's investigation into the clinic. He also faces questions about whether he was truthful with baseball when asked about his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty two years ago to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.

Just how harsh the penalty will be, by all accounts, depends largely on whether Rodriguez is willing to make a deal. Either way, this is Selig's best chance to finally make a statement against the scourge of PEDs in baseball.

"You can't have the game knocked off by these drugs," Vincent said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "Either we win or chemistry wins, and if chemistry wins there is no game."

So far chemistry has the lead, as evidenced by the way the record book has been rewritten in the Steroids Era. Even with better testing, harsher suspensions and a change in the culture of the once obstinate players' union in recent years, the latest scandal shows PEDs still are rampant in baseball.

Take a look at the quality of players expected to be punished. They include not only A-Rod, but also Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera and Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta — all picked for the 2013 All-Star game. Another 2013 All-Star, Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon, was suspended last year following a positive testosterone test, as were Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal, though they aren't expected to receive additional time off.

There are others, a dozen or so in all who will be penalized. But it is Rodriguez who dominates the conversation, and it is Rodriguez who surely will take the biggest hit of all.

He wanted to get back on the field before his punishment was imposed, but the Yankees were having none of it. Tricked once already into giving A-Rod a $275 million, 10-year contract, the Steinbrenner sons weren't about to be tricked again just when baseball is about to take a giant problem — and at least part of a giant salary — off their hands.

It's hard to be sympathetic toward A-Rod, mostly because he's not a sympathetic figure. If what he's accused of doing is accurate — and the guess is baseball has even more on Rodriguez than has been leaked — he's made a mockery of the game that has made him rich beyond belief.

Some of those riches came because he cheated the game and the fans who thought they were paying to see an honest at-bat. He also cheated every player who doesn't have half his talent, yet somehow found the resolve to refuse to take PEDs no matter the potential financial rewards.

"The games have to have rules and they have to be played fairly, or they're not games," Vincent said. "If we can't stop this, we're going to have professional wrestling instead of real competition."

Actually, professional wrestling might be a good fit for Rodriguez. He would have to play the role of a villain, of course, but that's something he's had practice doing already.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ArizonaA. Chafin (0-0)000
MinnesotaK. Gibson (12-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - B. Colon 6:05 PM
Washington - T. Roark
Baltimore - U. Jimenez 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:07 PM
Toronto - R. Dickey
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 6:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Pittsburgh - G. Cole 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb 6:10 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Martinez
St. Louis - S. Miller 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Arizona - A. Chafin 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
Chicago 27 FINAL
NY Jets 19
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Carolina 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Columbus
Boston 6:30 PM
Montreal
Nashville 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Toronto
Detroit 7:30 PM
Chicago
San Jose 8:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close