MORRISSEY: Alex Rodriguez simply won’t accept the reality of his situation
BY RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org August 5, 2013 10:58PM
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 05: Fans of the New York Yankees cheer and hold signs as Alex Rodriguez steps uo to bat against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 5, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
THE UNLUCKY 13
Major League Baseball suspended 13 players Monday for their
connections to performance-enhancing drugs. Twelve of them were given 50-game penalties.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees
Antonio Bastardo, P, Phillies
Everth Cabrera, SS, Padres
Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees
Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers
Fautino De Los Santos, P, free agent
Sergio Escalona*, P, Astros
Fernando Martinez*, OF, Yankees
Jesus Montero*, C, Mariners
Jordan Norberto, P, free agent
Jhonny Peralta, SS, Tigers
Cesar Puello*, OF, Mets
Jordany Valdespin*, IF/OF, Mets
*Minor-leaguer; Source: ESPN
Updated: August 5, 2013 11:28PM
It takes a certain part of the male anatomy, made of brass, to do what Alex Rodriguez did Monday.
In the face of compelling evidence that he’s a lying, cheating sack of used syringes, he sat at pregame news conference at U.S. Cellular Field and asked everyone to take part in a kind of group oblivion.
‘‘I hope that for one moment, with this appeal process, we have an opportunity to talk about the greatest game in the world, to take a little bit of a timeout from this and give the fans of baseball an opportunity to focus on all the great stories that are happening in baseball right now,’’ he said.
Well, bravo. You can’t teach that sort of gall. It helps explain how A-Rod could fight Major League Baseball’s decision to suspend him through the 2014 season for allegedly using performance-enhancing drugs and obstructing its investigation. And it helps explain how, with a nation staring at him, he could decide it was a great idea to put on a Yankees uniform Monday and face the White Sox.
Think about that. Even though he knew he had been busted for his part in the Biogenesis scandal, the thought bubble above his head seemed to read, ‘‘Just watch: Fans will come running back to me.’’
Yes, but for reasons he might not fully grasp.
We need nefarious creatures such as Rodriguez, people we can roll our eyes at, vent our frustration at, shake our fist at. Someone with a narcissism that allows us to say: ‘‘At least I’m not like that tragically screwed-up person. Now stop bothering me and let me enjoy his antics.’’
Someone such as Anthony Weiner. You might have thought the former U.S. representative would have gone away after his 2011 sexting scandal. But here he is, running for mayor of New York, despite recent admissions he continued sexting after resigning from Congress. And a nation is having trouble looking away.
Someone such as Lindsay Lohan. Or Justin Bieber, who looks like a train wreck in its early stages.
I’m expecting word of A-Rod signing a book deal any moment now. Is ‘‘Despicable Me’’ already spoken for as a title?
Normal, grounded people mess up and gladly go away. Even Ryan Braun finally saw the light. Andy Pettitte, who was the Yankees’ starting pitcher Monday, admitted to using human growth hormone on several occasions and is now a footnote to Roger Clemens’ charade. That’s because Clemens never has stopped denying everything.
A-Rod is not normal, grounded or innocent. If he were, he wouldn’t have played a baseball game when the evidence suggests he’s busted. If he were, the Cell wouldn’t have been mobbed with media people. If he were, fans wouldn’t have booed him at every turn, especially after he singled in his first at-bat.
The country is suffering from steroid fatigue. Sports fans are tired of hearing about performance-enhancing drugs. Leagues suspend players, players come back to play after their suspensions are over and everybody shrugs. Time to move on.
But this is different. This is a guy whose ego won’t let him grasp the idea he has lost. This is a villain who thinks he’s dressed in white. Has there been a greater discrepancy between what one person thinks of himself and what society as a whole thinks of him in return? Rodriguez is so ridiculously disconnected from reality that it would take a Kardashian asking for privacy to top him.
We’re a litigious society, so it’s no surprise he’s hoping the appeals process will lower his suspension. But 12 other ballplayers have agreed to smaller suspensions for their roles in the Biogenesis mess, and none of them answers to the nickname ‘‘A-Rod.’’
The easy explanation for his appeal is that he’s doing it for the money. But this is more about pride, the bad kind. If it’s true, as MLB alleges, that he used testosterone and HGH the previous three seasons and obstructed MLB’s investigation, then this is a truly warped human being.
It’s difficult to assign any bigger meaning to the mess Rodriguez finds himself in and the lengths to which he’ll go to pretend it all has been a misunderstanding. That PEDs are taking down the national pastime? Don’t think so. In terms of attendance, the previous nine seasons were the best in MLB history, according to Forbes magazine.
No, there’s only one big-picture, societal sticker that fits here: A dastardly ballplayer is feeding a public need.