This summer, when Alex Rodriguez returned from exile and hip surgery, a person who knows him well told me A-Rod wasn't going to fight Bud Selig just for himself, but for all the A-Rods who might follow this A-Rod. For the players with the big contracts who might have grown old or brittle, whose production no longer matched their paychecks, whose teams loved them at 30 (or on steroids) but weren't so sure at 38 (or off steroids), this was going to be for them, too.
That's very nice, I thought. Except anybody who really gave a damn about his current and future union brethren wouldn't have sneaked around wolfing performance-enhancing drugs. Which A-Rod may or may not have done, but just saying, it doesn't look so good for A-Rod. Every time he or his people complain about Selig's ethics, a batboy in heaven gets poked in the eye with a sunflower seed shell.
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Through all the stomping around and fist shaking and statement rattling, the A-Rod hearing served as a nice backdrop to the playoffs and World Series. Unless you happened to be standing out in front of MLB headquarters, and in that case the World Series became the backdrop for The Hullabaloo on Park Avenue.
The sides reconvene on Nov. 18. MLB has presented its case to arbitrator Frederic Horowitz. Team A-Rod is up next, though if Horowitz has been reading the papers, none of the testimony should be particularly new to him. There's a chance the arbitration process will be done by Thanksgiving and that Horowitz could render a decision by Christmas, though A-Rod's lawsuits – against MLB and Selig, against the New York Yankees' team doctor and a New York hospital – presumably will live on.
And, of course, so will A-Rod vs. MLB. Or A-Rod vs. The World. Whatever this has become, because it won't ever be over, exactly, other than knowing the date and time of A-Rod's next professional baseball game, assuming there will be one.
In the meantime, everyone is having trouble sticking to the subject here. Maybe this is relevant to Horowitz and maybe it's not, but the average bystander could not care less about who was subpoena-whipped into giving testimony. The conduct of Selig's I-team? Not interested. (Also, the commissioner can hardly win here. He was blasted for 10 years for failing to police the steroids in his game. Now he's blasted for chasing those he believes ran afoul of his – and, don't forget, the union's – program.) The conduct of A-Rod's legal team? Also not particularly interested. (But highly entertaining.) Whether A-Rod took Adderall or some other stimulant seven years ago, and how the New York Times learned of it, and what MLB would have to gain from leaking the information, well, let's just say it's the rare soul who'd be stunned to discover Alex Rodriguez has not played a pure game.
Of some curiosity is this: Did A-Rod consort with, buy from, get injected by Tony Bosch?
Did that happen?
And, if he did some or all that, is it worth 211 games?
Then we could move along. Sort of.
Instead, Monday brought another bit of scolding from the A-Rod side that called MLB's investigation "ethically questionable" (eye poke for the batboy angel), "possibly illegal," and "not just unseemly, it is shameless."
Also, from an A-Rod attorney: "I say to all MLB baseball players and owners as a baseball fan all my life and as the father of two young sons who are baseball players:
'Where is the outrage among other MLB players?' And to Mr. Selig, I say:
'You are the trustee of our national pastime, at the core of American culture for more than a century. You cannot soil that legacy through dirty and improper investigative tactics.'"
It continued, with a cool Watergate reference: "You must answer the question directly, on the record: What did you know and when did you know it?"
We're all for due process. Alex Rodriguez has his right to defend himself. Two-hundred-and-eleven games is unprecedented and rather steep. So, if flamboyance, and melodramatics, and outrage, and fun stories about your attorney's children are the defense, then have at it.
Just so they know very few seem to be buying it, which, by the way, would explain the lack of outrage among other MLB players, about a dozen of which are finishing up suspensions for the same alleged misdeeds after being revealed by the same alleged improper investigative tactics.
So, if this is really about protecting the next generation of players, let's get to this: What did you do and when did you do it? They'll all be better for it.