Not after he gets suspended for 211 games. Not after that suspension is reduced to 162 games plus the postseason. And not as he tries to force himself onto the baseball field in Tampa next month, where he'll be about as welcome as Robert Gates would be at the White House these days.
The difference between Gates and A-Rod, of course, is that the former U.S. defense secretary had a distinguished career that ended with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Memoir or no memoir, that's how he'll be remembered.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, will be remembered as a drug cheat. He'll be remembered for admitting he took performance enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003 when he played for the Texas Rangers. He'll be remembered for telling Katie Couric in 2007 that he never took steroids, a lie then and a lie now. He'll be remembered for the apology in 2009, with teammates standing behind him and A-Rod telling the world that he was sorry, but that he only took PEDs for those three years. Now we find out that, too, was a lie.
And, now, he'll be remembered for the past six months, when his entire career, everything A-Rod worked so hard to achieve, came crashing down. From A-Rod to A-Roid to A-Fraud. This is what hitting rock bottom looks like.
Only don't tell that to Alex Rodriguez, who seems to be so impressed with himself that he thinks we're equally impressed with him. Even after everything we now know.
On Saturday, after the arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz, ruled that Rodriguez would be banned for the entire 2014 season, A-Rod issued a statement that said, among other things, the following:
"I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal."
Memo to A-Rod: The Yankees want you to go away and my guess is that the majority of fans feel the same way. At least they should. Players are even beginning to speak out. It's gotten so bad that Rodriguez is suing his own union, as well as Major League Baseball. Only that opened the door to a lot of dirty secrets being made public. More bad news for A-Rod.
Back to the fans for a minute. You'll always get a segment of fans who will wave the pom poms no matter what. Caught up in celebrity about as much as the celebrities are themselves, these are the people that go to games and give standing ovations to guys like Alex Rodriguez. Guys who didn't just cheat the sport, but cheated the fans. Even some of those who boo and curse and talk tough would bow at A-Rod's altar if it meant getting an autograph or a few seconds to chat. We're a culture obsessed with celebrity.
My hope is that fans prove to be better than that this time around. Because what's so disturbing is that the way A-Rod makes it sound, he really thinks we're going to buy his story.
While there are some out there who will, most must realize this is all just a figment of Rodriguez's imagination. An imagination that, by all accounts, he believes.
When you've been treated like a star for as long as A-Rod has, you're inclined to think that you play by different rules. You think you're the smartest one in the room. Only Major League Baseball proved to A-Rod that isn't the case.
If you know anything about business or the law, you know that MLB doesn't press forward like they did with Rodriguez unless they've got the goods on him. So Alex and his team can huddle up and plan their next legal or public relations move, but anything they do going forward is nothing more than desperation.
The scary part is that Rodriguez might be so caught up with himself that he may actually believe he's innocent, that this witch hunt thing he talks about is real. In that case, and in a strange way, I actually give him credit for defending himself. Under those circumstances, who wouldn't?
But that's as much as I'll give him.
After all, he's already struck out. The game is over.
Charles Costello has followed the Yankees for 30 years and was a beat reporter assigned to cover the team during the 1997 and 1998 seasons. He writes about the Yankees and New York Giants on the Yahoo Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @CFCostello.
- Sports & Recreation
- Alex Rodriguez