To hear the scribes of baseball tell it, Alex Rodriguez should be quivering in fear because the hanging judge is coming to throw him out of baseball. To hear A-Rod’s sycophantic staff of Spin, Obstruct, and Lie (a not quite fictional law firm), A-Rod isn’t planning on taking any pleas and will fight any penalty tooth and nail.
While the truth is probably somewhere in between and both sides are probably taking these stances as negotiating ploys, maybe A-Rod should be a bit afraid. Commissioner Bud Selig has long believed, as many others have, that what is good for the Yankees is good for baseball. That’s because the Yankees sell more seats than anyone, both at home and on the road. They bring better television ratings than teams like Pittsburgh, Anaheim, San Fran, St. Louis or Philly.
And the Yankees owe Alex Rodriguez over $120 million dollars. That’s superstar money owed to a player who isn’t a superstar or even a star anymore. That’s money the team would love to free up so they can rebuild faster and become more relevant than they are right now. They don’t want to just be contenders. They want to be the perennial favorites to win it every year.
So they’d love to see A-Rod gone. Heck, the national broadcast media would love to see him gone if it would up their ratings. And that might well have Bud Selig thinking, How does baseball get rid of Alex Rodriguez?
A-Rod has certainly given baseball plenty of reasons to try to toss him from the games. The persistent lies, the attempts to obstruct investigations, gambling issues, and did I mention lies and denials in the face of overwhelming evidence?
A-Rod and Ryan Braun have come from the same school of belief: It’s all about denial. And by doing so they’ve made themselves two of the least believable, least trusted and most hated of all baseball players among both colleagues and fans. Instead of admitting to their mistakes, coming clean and moving on, they’ve decided to lie and lie and lie, until any credibility they might have had has long evaporated.
The difference is that Braun saw the writing on the wall and decided that a slap on the wrist, was better than forfeiting over $100 million dollars. And he was able to accept the punishment without ever having to say the words “I cheated” or “I used PEDs to make myself seem better than I really am.”
Rodriguez hasn’t reached that point yet. Maybe he believes that the evidence isn’t insurmountable, maybe he believes that he can beat this in court (and he might be able to), maybe he believes that he’s bigger than the game. After all baseball players have beaten the US government in court a number of times (see: Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds) or maybe he’s just denying the truth to himself.
But maybe all of the posturing on both sides is the prelude to a deal. If that doesn’t happen, A-Rod is taking a huge gamble.
Selig likes doing favors for the Yankees and throwing A-Rod out of the game would be the biggest favor he can do for them right now.
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