By Michael Parente
Waiting for Bud Selig to make a decision on Alex Rodriguez’s imminent suspension is like watching a promo for the next episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians promising a long-awaited faceoff between Kris and Brody Jenner and then having to sit through 59 minutes of Khloe’s fat ass snorkeling off the shores of Mykonos and Bruce reminding everyone he won a gold medal before we finally reach the anti-climactic ending that turns out to be a classic boner-kill because it isn’t as good as advertised to begin with.
Bud’s promising justice all while delaying the process to keep us on our toes, as if the sport itself isn’t good enough to generate interest, when, in reality, the suspension he and Major League Baseball will ultimately give A-Rod won’t mean squat anyway when he appeals and suits up tonight in Chicago.
Why even bother? The sheer ridiculousness of the appeal process offers athletes the ultimate out clause when busted for wrongdoing, whether it’s something as tame as firing a fastball at someone’s head and inciting a riot, or something as serious as abusing performance-enhancing drugs.
Let’s also keep in mind we have no idea what A-Rod’s connection to this Biogensis lab in Florida really is because we’re not privy to the details behind the supposed mounds of forensic evidence stacked against some of baseball’s most notorious abusers. We do know there’s something, as evident by the fact neither Ryan Braun or the all-powerful players’ union bothered appealing when baseball handed down his unprecedented suspension last month, but until I see photos of a shoebox in A-Rod’s closet labeled “ILLEGAL STEROIDS” I’m going to remain skeptical. At least show me he was dumb enough to have them delivered via UPS to his front door like Rodney Harrison.
Let’s be realistic; Major League Baseball hasn’t exactly nipped this steroid thing in the bud (pun intended). It took them seven years to figure out they’d need more than a piss test to detect legit steroid use, finally agreeing to blood testing in 2013. It also took them more time to draft a system of fines than it took our founding fathers to hammer out the Bill of Rights and they still don’t even follow that to the letter. First-time users are only supposed to receive a 10-day suspension, yet A-Rod is possibly facing a lifetime ban despite having never failed a test under the league’s new Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program adopted in 2006. How can you expect players to follow rules and regulations when the league won’t do the same within its own standard agreement?
Selig is about as believable as the father with the horrid mustache in those grainy PSAs lambasting his kid for smoking weed and demanding to know who taught him to do this stuff. You, alright?! We learned to do steroids, Bud, by watching you turn a blind eye to the problem back in 1998 when Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa took the sporting world by storm exchanging home runs and bear hugs while defecating all over Roger Maris’ legacy. Bud didn’t care until the general public did; it’s like only apologizing for doing something wrong when you get caught, which is common practice among steroid cheats.
Maybe my problem is I don’t care who does what anymore. I pay what I pay for the Extra Innings package to be entertained, not to revel in the wonder of the double switch or hit-and-run, and if that means Chris Davis, Edwin Encarnacion or Paul Goldschmidt have to pound their livers into submission to earn my respect – and, more importantly, my entertainment dollars – then they’d better stock up on gauze and rubbing alcohol. Jim Morrison died for our money; a few cycles of nandrolone is the least our athletes can do.
Can you really blame athletes for not wanting to age? Consider Braun’s trip to Biogenesis his own mid-life crisis minus the cherry-red Corvette and unfortunate ponytail. As much as the sports world lives in its own bubble devoid of any and all reality, there are times when it mirrors real life. Steroids have been around forever, and will live on whether Selig likes it or not, but I ultimately don’t care what he or Major League Baseball decides to do. Just hurry up and announce something.
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