Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Do I have to write an Alex Rodriguez opinion piece?


All A-Rod, all the time.  Photo John Munson/The Star-Ledger via

All A-Rod, all the time. Photo John Munson/The Star-Ledger via

I’ve got Alex Rodriguez over-load.

Here’s links that summarize the past week’s rumors and activities in the A-Rod case: first he was going to get banned for life, then we were down to MLB “seeking” to ban him for life, then MLB and A-Rod were negotiating a suspension, then he faced a minimum 214-game suspension, then officially it was a 211-game ban, which of course he immediately appealed.

So, what do I think of all of this?

Honestly, I’m happy A-rod is fighting this.   You know why?   Because I want to see exactly what evidence MLB has here.  MLB basically went out and BOUGHT this evidence, they went out of their way to pursue via a sketchy legal strategy the Biogenesis guys in order to get evidence with which to pursue these players.  Something about that just doesn’t sound kosher to me.  Clearly the evidence is compelling (why else would have Ryan Braun and the 12 other players just rolled over and accepted their suspensions?) .. but its all secret right now.  I hope A-Rod forces discovery and forces this evidence and all the mechanisms that went into procuring it to the light.

If he (or any of these other 12 players who just accepted suspensions) used the substances, where’s the proof?  Are there positive tests?   Why is it “bad” for A-Rod to attempt to cover things up but its “ok” for MLB to pay to “uncover” the evidence?

I mean, don’t get me wrong,  I’m certainly not excusing A-rod here, nor do I think he’s clean.  But something is just not right about the lengths to which MLB is going after the guy.  There’s a CBA in place with pre-agreed upon punishment for PED violations; 50 games for one positive test, 100 games for two.   How does MLB arrive at exactly “211” games?  Where is that number in the CBA?  Plus there’s this: so far we have ZERO positive tests for any of these guys, and they all seem to be just taking well timed suspensions so as to either a) be able to get back for the playoffs or b) not extend into 2014 if possible so their free agency market isn’t impacted.

Initially he was to be “banned for life.”  For what??  Pete Rose gambled on the outcome of games in which he was a participant.  Members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox fixed and threw games to for profit.  Those are “ban for life” types of offenses.  Steve Howe‘s “lifetime ban” only followed SEVEN different suspensions, all for known test failures, and even that “lifetime ban” was rescinded.  How is whatever A-Rod could have possibly done here on the same level as these situations?  Doesn’t this seem like MLB and Bud Selig in particular are specifically going after Alex Rodriguez?

I dunno.  Maybe its because I detest Selig and everything he and his cronies do to the sport I love.  Maybe its because I detest how Baseball operates with its little backroom deals and constant deceptions about finances and player movement.  Maybe its this ridiculous anti-trust exemption that has outlived its legal usefulness for about 50 years yet continues to protect the interests of multi-millionare team owners.

I’m entirely convinced Selig is colluding as we speak with the Yankees owners to ban A-Rod.  I’m entirely convinced Selig coordinated league wide collusion to get Barry Bonds out of the game (Bonds had a 169 OPS+ in his final season; you mean to tell me there was NO team that could have used his bat, even on a free agency flier?  B.S.)  Selig enabled a huckster in Frank McCourt to run the Dodgers into the ground and still profit by hundreds of millions of dollars.  Selig enabled Jeffrey Loria to destroy a baseball market inside of 2 years, and this after Selig gifted the Florida franchise to Loria and allowed him to pillage the Montreal franchise on the way out.   Selig continues to inexplicably force the Oakland A’s to play in an awful stadium in order to protect San Jose “territory rights” that Oakland themselves GAVE to San Francisco years ago.  And it was Selig who gave this sweetheart/ridiculously short sighted MASN TV deal to placate Peter Angelos which is now, in a completely predictable turn of events, locked in a stalemate with the two sides $100M off.  Baseball teams cry about poverty but privately make tens of millions of dollars on the backs of tax payers in publicly funded stadiums.  It is entirely slimy and reprehensible.

Slimy and reprehensible.  Just like A-Rod, in all likelihood.

Maybe I shouldn’t care at all; two sides, each slimier than the next, duking it out to preserve, what exactly?  A-Rod’s incredibly over-paid salary?  A-rod’s “place” in the history of the sport, long since destroyed along with every other hall-of-fame calibre player form the last 30 years?  The sanctity of the game, long since lost at the altar of home runs in the late 90s and early 2000s?  Or is it the zealotry of a manipulative commissioner who works at the behest of and makes decisions driven by cheapskate-but-millionare owners trying to save a buck or two while trying to save themselves from themselves?

A bit cynical, I am about this.


Written by Todd Boss

August 7th, 2013 at 6:50 am

4 Responses to 'Do I have to write an Alex Rodriguez opinion piece?'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Do I have to write an Alex Rodriguez opinion piece?'.

  1. Todd, I hope you took a shower immediately after writing this. Seems necessary considering the subject.

    Mark L

    7 Aug 13 at 9:59 am

  2. I wasn’t going to write one, but I got into an email discussion with friends about it and that turned into the post.

    Todd Boss

    7 Aug 13 at 10:21 am

  3. My theory on why they are going after ARod so much: Selig and the owners don’t really care about this, but they now think that the fans care, and they are protecting their revenue stream like any competent business guy. They want to make enough examples that the general fan population believes that the game is clean again (regardless of whether it is). And they would prefer to make those examples out of players that aren’t really liked much by the fan base anyway. So ARod, an odd, narcissistic man who looks like a guy that you would hate to have on your team, gets the brunt. It probably helps that they likely have a pretty good case,= (although that is not free from doubt; would you be shocked if an arbitrator reduces the suspension down to 50 games or so?). But generally speaking, I am a little puzzled why we go after guys so hard that took drugs to make themselves better players (and therefore a more enjoyable game to watch), yet the Ty Cobbs and Cap Ansons still have a moderate amount of support in baseball lore. I mean, isn’t one far worse?

    But don’t you wonder why the outrage is so high in baseball compared to any other sport? I mean, in basketball, they must not even test since no one ever gets caught, and I can see no good reason why those athletes would be immune to the temptation. Isn’t strength important there too?

    And in football, players get suspended all the time and does anyone really care (although isn’t it odd that there really hasn’t ever been a big name suspended? If Adrian Petersen was a baseball player, what do you think would be occupying everyone’s twitter account?) Here is my theory on why they don’t care about this in football (and I acknowledge that it is harsh): most fans know, even if it is just subconscious, that football players are actually killing themselves to provide their entertainment, and once you cross that line of acceptance, you become much more tolerant about the drugs and violence that comes with the game.


    7 Aug 13 at 11:14 am

  4. I dunno. To play devil’s advocate, the popularity of the game soared when steroid-infused sluggers started powering homers out left and right. Does that imply that fans want more offense and don’t care how it gets there?
    It is a fantastic question, why baseball PED users are so shunned for life while in football especially nobody cares. My personal theory goes like this; baseball is covered by old white guys primarily, who grew up idolizing players of the 50s and 60s from the glory years of both this country and the sport, and now they cannot get over modern players who juiced up to beat the hallowed records of the sport. Basketball in particular has a running joke among players; you know you’re only getting tested a finite number of times in a season (four times), afterwhich you’re free and clear until the next season. So NBA players upon getting the last test can go crazy, start a testosterone cycle, do whatever they want. This anecdote courtesy of Bill Simmons in this Feb 2013 column.

    Many well known football players, hall of famers even, have admitted to using drugs. Sean Merriman was suspended for steroids, so that’s a pretty big name. But in general you’re right, we havn’t exactly seen a MVP or a super-bowl winning QB get busted.

    In general, the football vs baseball level of standards in the press is not one that I have a great answer for. Your answer is as good as any.

    Todd Boss

    7 Aug 13 at 11:51 am

Leave a Reply