The steroids case swirling around New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is historical.
He even bumped Anthony Weiner off the front pages of the city's tabloids!
"A-Rod"owns three Most Valuable Player awards. He has hit 647 lifetime home runs. Normally, he would be one of the most acclaimed players in the sport's history. But there is nothing normal about this situation.
He is also likely the most reviled player in the game. Fans are sick of him and have labeled him the most selfish player around. His own teammates are sick of him and his media circus. Yankee management (which gave him his ridiculous $275 million contract, in the first place, would love to see him go away forever -- partly because there is a suspicion that he can't play well any more because of his many injures in recent years and the factor of his age (38).
For better or worse, Rodriguez has emerged as the poster child in the entire Performance Enhancing Drug furor and scandal. Forget the dozen or so major-league players who have accepted suspensions this year from the sport's powers that be. It's all about A-Rod.
But, as I wrote on Facebook, I don't think anyone will want to make a sympathetic movie, like Field of Dreams, about Alex. He is the villain, through and through, and anything but a victim.
In the most bizarre twist yet, Major League Baseball today imposed a ban on him to cover the rest of this season and all of the next one -- a total of 211 games. But he is allowed to appeal, and is doing so. Therefore, he can appear in the Yankees' lineup tonight in Chicago -- in what promises to be a loud and hostile crowd. As a footnote, the White Sox, for their part, have lost 10 games in a row and their fans are mutinous.
Five key questions:
Will Rodriguez play well? This is his first game of the season. I'd look for at least one strike out and an error in the field, to boot.
Will Rodriguez be in the lineup when the Yankees return home Friday night against the powerful Detroit Tigers? I doubt it.
Will anybody, anywhere cheer for him? Sure -- he is still popular with some fans.
Is he finished officially with the Yankees now? Definitely maybe. The team is not above staging events to guarantee big turnouts by the fans. Will we someday see an "A-Rod Day" at Yankee Stadium? Prolly not -- but you never know.
Will he ever enter the Hall of Fame? Of course he will! The man signed a $275-million/10 year contract. He can afford the admission price at Cooperstown.
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