Why Alex Rodriguez’ suspension just doesn’t matter

Bill Murray meatballsThere’s a scene in one of Bill Murray’s earlier movies, Meatballs, where Murray, a camp counselor, is coaching his kids the night before their competition against the heavily favored Camp Mohawk.  Murray tells his kids that whether they win or lose, “It just doesn’t matter.

I couldn’t help but think of those four words when news broke that Alex Rodriguez had been banned one full year for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

It just doesn’t matter.

Along with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, Rodriguez has become the poster boy for the steroid era and the witch hunt that baseball, Commissioner Selig and the US Congress levied against all those who sullied the game.  Bonds and Clemens were never suspended.  They merely rode off into the ever-dimming sunset, never to be heard from again.  A-Rod was still active; his year-long suspension may very well end his career.

Most of us are probably happy he’ll never play again but whether he does or not, it just doesn’t matter.

Here’s why.

Let’s say A-Rod suits up for the Yankees, or another team, whether it’s in 2014, 2015 or whenever.  Let’s say he hits a few more home runs, adding to his career total of 654.  He’d become fourth on the all-time list, passing Willie Mays and ranking only behind Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth.  Yet none of that would matter because we don’t recognize his numbers anyway, just as we don’t Barry’s, Roger’s or anyone else we associate with that era.  It’s like their numbers don’t exist.  Ask a handful of baseball fans who they consider the all-time home run leader and you’ll get a handful of different answers, all of them founded in truth yet still conflicting in nature.  One can make the argument that Bonds is the all-time leader because, well, he is.  One can also argue that he’s not because so many of those home runs came under suspicion of steroid use, which they did.

A Rod ringMajor League Baseball has so far taken no steps to strike any numbers from, or add asterisks to, its record books but you can’t convince me doing so hasn’t been discussed behind closed doors.  They just don’t know how to handle it, just as they didn’t know how to handle the issue of steroid use when it pervaded the game for twenty years.  Doctoring the most hallowed of sports’ record books would be treading on dangerous ground considering Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod failed not a single drug test.  Apparently, that doesn’t matter either.

Major League Baseball would have us believe that A-Rod’s suspension provides some closure to the steroid era, but all they did was put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound that can never properly heal.  Hoping A-Rod will just go away won’t solve their problem.

Baseball writers, fans and the sport itself are all torn on what to do moving forward, not with regards to those who violate “the toughest drug policy in American sports” in the future but rather what to do about the past, with the players we once considered legendary.  Let ‘em in, don’t let ‘em in.  Acknowledge their records or not.  You say potato, I say pot-ah-to; let’s call the whole thing off.

Even if guys like Clemens, Bonds and A-Rod eventually get into the Hall of Fame (slim chance), that won’t matter much either.  The educated fan doesn’t need a plaque, bust or retired jersey to help us define greatness, or character.

At the end of the day, A-Rod’s gone and we still lack closure.  That doesn’t matter either because most of us stopped caring long ago.

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22 Replies to “Why Alex Rodriguez’ suspension just doesn’t matter”

  1. In the immortal words of Anthony Hopkins in his role in “Legends of the Fall”… SCREW ‘EM!

    I’m happy he won’t break any records he might have…

  2. Legends of the Fall, Dwin?

    That’s not the fly fishing movie or the one where he’s an Indian, is it?

    I guess it’s time for me to brush up on my Anthony Hopkins trivia with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

    You do get my point though, right? Whether A-Rod broke the records or not, we wouldn’t recognize them.

    Hence the whole not mattering thing.

  3. Rodriguez is an oaf ! He hamstrung his case the moment he walked out of the hearing having disparaged the arbitrator Fred Horowitz and Delight by using by profanity. It left his attorneys without an avenue to mount any type of defends whatsoever. Prior to the beginning of the hearing the player sought to make the issue, one that was racially motivated and used his supporters to that end with his actions outside the league’s headquarters.

  4. Like I hinted to in the post, Al, A-Rod’s not just gonna go away. And I know he’s a dick but more power to him.

    At this point, he’s got nothing to lose so he might as well keep trying to get his job back. And the Yanks are still on the hook to him for about $70 mil.

    Make sure you watch the Bosch interview tonight at 60 Minutes. I hear it’s pretty telling.

  5. Chris

    I’ve seen that Bosch interview , already . I don’t believe he can add anymore to what we already know concerning A Rod . I’ve met the player and he was then and still remains a condescending and egotistical #astard .

    I’ve heard all of these idiots suggest Tony Bosch has a vendetta against Alex Rodriguez ? That is about as damn asinine as it gets ! Bosch would not have sworn under oath to federal agent in his testimony concerning the evidence gathered and Rodriguez’s actions . Joe Tacopina and David Cornwell as the the player’s lawyers , were never going to succeed in the process . And now, even if Alex Rodriguez lodges an appeal in a US Federal Appeals’
    . he may well have to take the stand in his defense . What is he going to do the then , lie under oath ? People seem to forget Rodriguez’s interview with Katie Couric in 2009 and then his subsequent apology in April 2010.

    How much do you believe that Bucs miss LeGarrett Blount after the player’s performance yesterday for the Patriots . Blount shattered several team records with that performance and may well be on line to oust Stevan Ridley as the team’s featured running back quite possibly for the rest of the postseason .

    tophatal ………….

  6. They all have sworn to tell the truth, Al. Not sure how much that means these days.

    One thing is for sure. Tony Bosch is Alex Rodriguez’ Brian McNamee.

    Either way, I’ll still tune in to the interview to see what he says.

    And what does it say for the Buccaneers and their coaching staffs for not being able to maximize LeGarrette Blount’s potential while he was here?

    I guess that’s why they’re no longer employed by the organization. Good thing, too.

  7. A Rod has always been an idiot ! The staff at Club Rolexx in Miami knew that as well . One of the many joints he brought his wife to , looking for a third wheel to be a part of his nocturnal habit of wanting lay wood to multiple females . It then changed once he got sick and tired of his wife no longer wanting to be a part of this threesomes .

    The Panthers get rolled on by the Niners .

    tophatal …………..

  8. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him an idiot, Al. How many different franchises has he fleeced into over-paying for his services?

    We’re due for another great Sunday of football. I’m taking Denver and Seattle.

  9. It’s hard to dispute that A-Roid and everyone who has paid him (Yankees, Rangers, Nike) are egotistical idiots and they deserve each others poison.

    It just doesn’t matter.

    Baseball is a game… it too just doesn’t matter.
    Odd our fervent attachment to the statistics of this game which doesn’t matter.
    Babe Ruth drank whiskey and smoked cigars in the clubhouse, talk about performance enhancers!! But throwing a smack down on your liver is acceptable whereas ramping up the ‘roids and watching your nuts turn into peanuts almost seems like a just punishment… in a sick sort of way.
    A-Roid doesn’t matter to me as much as the silly stats do most. I predict that another form of asterisk is being imagined by that addled ghosts that rattle around in Selig’s anemic brain…
    . but that too doesn’t really matter… like Bill Murray said in the clip… it doesn’t matter… because they are the guys that have the money and get the girls anyways…

    …while MLB fanboys are left to grovel over stat classifications

  10. Al…

    The system has clearly allowed baseball salaries to skyrocket out of control. The agents were just doing their jobs. I don’t fault Boras or others for trying to get as much money for their clients as possible.

    If that’s what the system allowed, then why wouldn’t they?

  11. There was talk about adding an asterisk to Roger Maris’ 61 home runs because he played in a long season than Ruth.

    Part of the beauty of the game was that we could compare Aaron to Ruth, Pete Rose to Ty Cobb. Steroids make those debates moot. We can’t compare Bonds to Ruth because of steroids.

    Of course the argument is made that performance enhancing drugs have always been a part of baseball. If you believe that caffeine made you a better player.

    So baseball is cracking down on substance abuse in their game. This is the organization that segregated their game by color until the 1940s. How come no hitter has threatened the home run record Bonds set in 2001? How come no one has suggested that maybe MLB juiced the balls in the aftermath of the last player strike to draw fans back to the game with more offense?

    Yes, in my book, Clemens, Bonds and Rodriguez are not relevant to baseball records.

  12. True, Conrad, but in Bonds’, Clemens’ and A-Rod’s case, we can discount their records but that doesn’t mean they never happened.

    We treat them as some fictional account of baseball games played, balls knocked out of the park and players struck out that weren’t, but were.

    What of titles won with players on juice? Was there a single team that won a World Series over the time of steroid speculation that didn’t have at least one key player on their roster that was juicing? If we’re not going to recognize certain players’ numbers/achievements, should we not consider stripping franchises of their championships?

    And you bring up a great point about the Negro Leagues. What would the record books look like had Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and company been allowed to play their whole careers in the Majors?

    Major League has been hypocritical and self-serving long before the modern player started putting a needle in his ass.

  13. Chris

    Baseball remains a joke on so many levels , from its finances to the still idiotic luxury tax that saw no more than a $ 11 million difference in the payrolls of the Dodgers and Yankees last season , but yet the New York based franchise ended up three times as much as a tax surcharge (Yankees $30 million , Dodgers $9.245 million) than their Los Angeles’ counterpart . What the hell is that about ?

    BTW , what was A Rod seeking to achieve when he disparaged (profane epithets) both the arbitrator Fred Horowitz and then Bud Selig , prior to storming out of the arbitration proceedings ?

    My take on the NFL postseason games by way of the AFC and NFC championship games !

    It could well be a contest for the ages , if everything goes to plan ….

    tophatal …………

  14. Chris

    Joe Torre’s </a. likability makes him the favorite for the position , but I believe when it’s all said and done it will be either Rob Manfred or Bob Dupuy . My money is on Manfred , because he’s a damn carbon copy of Bud Selig and simply what the owners continue to want . A frigging buffoon ruining the the game .

    Left you a response to that piece on the NFL postseason .

    Answer me this question . Goodell is said to be troubled by the issue of player misconduct ? Yet where is he, when owners such as Zygi Wilf and Jimmy Haslam are “banged to rights” legally when it comes to their legal issues of fraud ? All of the issues in question had them either settling with the US Justice Department or civil plaintiffs concerning millions of dollars in damages .

    Roger Goodell remains a pompous @ss without a damn clue on so many issues as it relates to the NFL . Good luck also with his intent of wanting a Superbowl being held in London . Is he out of his mind ? What purpose would it serve , other than to completely alienate the fans in North America ?

  15. Here’s the thing, Al.

    If the owners want the new commissioner to take their best interests at heart, much like Selig did, it’s unlikely they’ll go for a former player/manager in that position. Torre is clearly qualified. I’m just not sure he’d get their vote of confidence.

  16. Who gives a rat’s ass.
    I’m sick of Alex and I’m sick of the whole steroid thing.

    Make asterisks in the Hall.
    BS and AS. What’s done is done. For MLB to retroactively punish these guys is beyond lame. Like stripping Reggie Bush or Lance Armstrong of their titles…It already happened. There’s no mulligans. Rewriting the history books is Nazi shit.

    Simple answer is asterisks.

  17. So speaketh the Bleed.

    By the way, we’re gonna go ahead and put an asterisk on all those Lakers titles in the 80s.

    From what I understand about those teams, they were also involved in taking plenty of “performance enhancers.”

    Well, everybody but AC Green, of course.

  18. Exactly right. The Hall of Fame has been a joke for a long, long time. Baseball writers are a cartel, and the fact of the matter is, we all know who the greatest ballplayers are. Screw Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame, like Bill Murray, and yourself, both say…doesn’t matter!

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