Alex Rodriguez. (AP Images)
I think in labor management relations there is no such thing as standing still. You either move forward or you go back.… The labor movement never stands still. —Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Baseball Player’s Association, 1966–1982
The hammer has finally come down. Alex Rodriguez—the latest “poster child” of performance enhancing drug–use in Major League Baseball—will, according to ESPN, be suspended for the entire 2013–14 season. That will end up being a $34 million dollar fine for the highest-paid player in the game.
Let’s forget for a moment that A-Rod will potentially take a bigger hit for “cheating” than Goldman-Sachs, and focus on the baseball issues at play. Rodriguez has said he plans on appealing the suspension. If he does, however, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has given word that he will invoke the rarely used “best interests of the game” clause in the collective bargaining agreement, and not allow the Yankee third baseman to take the field while on appeal. MLB would take this extraordinary step because it believes A-Rod’s transgressions fit the punishment. They are telling reporters they have evidence that not only was A-Rod a customer of Biogenesis, the shady anti-aging/steroid clinic in South Florida at the heart of this investigation, he also recruited players for Biogenesis and attempted to buy evidence from its owner, Anthony Bosch, now a fully cooperating MLB witness.
There are few people who will shed any tears for Alex Rodriguez. Unlike Barry Bonds, the last “poster-child” for PED use flambéed by Major League Baseball and its media minions, A-Rod has no one—other than those on his payroll—standing in his corner. He has no fierce fan base, as Bonds had in San Francisco. He doesn’t have any teammates he considers to be close friends. He lacks any sort of intriguing anti-hero appeal. As his biographer Selena Roberts said, “He’s known as the Hollowman.” From photos like these, to the painting of himself over his bed as a centaur, his public persona is that of the worst kind of narcissist: the insecure “mean girl” so yearning for approval, she ends up cruelly flaunting her narcissism. He’s the male version of Charlize Theron’s character in Young Adult. It’s not an archetype that ages well.