As the Biogenesis Scandal continues to unfold – with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun receiving the first strike of Darth Selig and his minions’ wrath – we await news on Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and others who dared to try to alter the “force” and tempt fate with performance enhancing drugs. If you question the idea that Commissioner Selig is not like a Sith lord from the Star Wars films, ask yourself how all this came to pass in the first place. Major League Baseball looked the other way for a long time, but then the Empire decided to strike back with a vengeance.
If you look back at guys like Mark McGwire, who morphed into something like Ray Milland and Rosie Greer in The Thing With Two Heads, MLB reveled in his homer quest and ignored him becoming Gigantor. The “force” was with him then to be sure, as it was Sammy Sosa and later Bonds. Homers were baseball’s crystal meth, and everyone was in denial as they sucked up as much of it as possible. Think of all the kids who had McGwire and Sosa posters on the walls in their rooms as MLB dared to compare these guys to Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, or even Babe Ruth. Now MLB’s Hall of Fame is just a long lost dream, and nothing more awaits them than admittance to an eternal Hall of Infamy, with guys like Braun, A-Rod, Melky Cabrera and company to join their sadly pathetic fraternity.
Now we are way beyond the force (if it comes from less than natural sources) being with anyone – Darth Selig has become Emperor and there is no denying his total power and control. After deciding to get hard line on steroids or PEDs and maybe even eventually Gatorade, the dominoes were just waiting to fall. There was Barry Bonds in court looking like a deer in the headlights, and Roger Clemens in his Teflon mode. Both are now baseball pariahs, and they are joined by Ryan Braun as the first of the latest dominoes to fall.
Braun, after all his slick machinations of a year ago, decided that the jig was up. He surrendered to the inevitable and took his suspension like the wimp that he is, allowing the Brewers and his teammates to answer the tough questions as he left for parts unknown (hey, Ryan, even Siberia isn’t far enough for you). If Braun serves his suspension and thinks he is coming back free and clear, he has another thing coming to him. Anthony Weiner has a better chance at redemption than Braun, who will be a laughingstock, and the citizens of every town in baseball will want to ride him out on a rail if he dares to step on their baseball field.
But then there is Alex (A – Class Jerk Rod) Rodriguez who believes his feces should be on the menu at Arby’s. He is so determined that his domino will not fall, so filled with delusions of grandeur that he thinks he will rejoin the Yankees and be a star again, that his lawyers are working feverishly to somehow avoid any suspension at all. Can you imagine the size of this guy’s ego (Mt. Everest comes to mind) to think he can evade the inevitable swing Emperor Selig’s red light saber?
Now there is word that Emperor is so intent on banishment – not just for a season but for a lifetime from the kingdom – that Selig is prepared to invoke some arcane portion of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that gives him seemingly more power than Darth Bloomberg of planet New York. Article XI, Section A ib would allow Selig to suspend A-Rot immediately for interfering with MLB’s Biogenesis investigation. This is a power given to Selig under the CBA, but it may not all go the Emperor’s way.
There could be a final battle (including red and blue light sabers?) between the Emperor, Clown Prince A-Rot, and the players’ union. Much of this could be rendered moot if the damning evidence MLB supposedly has on A-Rot is so overwhelming, and the Yankees third baseman is about as popular among fellow baseball players as Eliot Spitzer at a feminist luncheon, so he can forget any support there. As for the citizens of New York, I can say that we Mets fans aren’t the only ones who want to see A-Rot go the way of eight track tapes. I haven’t spoken to one Yankees fan who doesn’t hate him with a passion – and well they should because he has sullied the reputation of the team and is a dark stain on Yankee history.
Some people say “how sad” in reference to A-Rod. He was once the chosen one – the Luke Skywalker of the diamond – “the force great was with him” as Yoda might say. But I don’t see it that way. I recall years ago, before he came to the Yankees, when Mets fans were lobbying for the team to sell the farm to get Rodriguez. At the time I didn’t like him, and mostly because I felt he had no affinity for fans in Seattle or Texas. His goal was always to get back to New York (his hometown), and the ultimate goal was to be a Yankee. If he came here and broke Ruth, Aaron, and Bonds’ records, they’d name a candy bar after him, right?
All these years later this Mets fan – who has seen his share of disappointment in everyone from Bobby Bonilla to Mo Vaughn to Jason Bay – counts the signing of A-Rot by the Yankees as the best thing that could have ever happened because he didn’t come to Flushing. I don’t feel sorry for the Yankees and the late Darth Steinbrenner, just as I have no pity for Darth Selig. Steinbrenner always cared little about the pedigree of his livestock (think Clemens) as long as they came to the ranch and performed. The Yankees have always thought they could buy championships – and boy have they done so going back to Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson – so they have reaped what they have sown.
In the end the worst thing about Alex Rodriguez can be the best thing – it will be a teachable moment for our children. He and all the stars who dared to take a syringe to their buttocks in name of performance cared little about the kids who love the game. They cared nothing about setting an example, about playing clean for the love of the game because they don’t love the game. They don’t love anything but themselves.
A-Rot is a prime example of this: a Narcissus who has had a lifelong love affair with himself; alas, he will not be so lucky to be turned into a flower as in the Greek legend. A-Rot is going to be shown the door, he will be an outcast, a man without a country – only Philip Nolan’s fate would be too good for him. No, Alex Rodriguez will be a prime example of how not to play baseball. He will be a greater pariah than Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Ryan Braun combined. His name will be synonymous with failure, disgrace, and abomination, and for the kids this will teach a greater lesson than anything else.
Nothing awaits Rodriguez and the others but the Hall of Infamy. Perhaps one day, when he is an old, decrepit man, Alex will use a cane to walk into Cooperstown and stand in the hallowed hallways and weep. Children and their parents will walk by him, and one of the kids will ask his dad, “Who is that guy?”
The dad will respond, “Nobody son, just some sad old man.”
Alex Rodriguez – is already nobody – he just doesn’t know it yet. How sad for him, but on the day he is banned for life it will be the first day of the rest of MLB’s life without him. Despite the sins of the past and the machinations of Darth Selig, Darth Steinbrenner, and all the other sith lords of baseball out there, there is no other way to right the empire than to purge it. Then we will get back to the true “force” that has driven the game since Grover Cleveland Alexander’s time – the love of the game, America’s game, and all anyone can say is it’s about time!
Photo Credits: A-Rod-gp2sports.com; braun-cbsnews.org; hall of fame-wikimedia.org