Late Sunday night New York magazine released its cover story about the on-going Alex Rodriguez/Bud Selig melodrama entitled “Chasing A-Rod.” It’s certainly worth a print out and reading when you’ve got some spare time. There are too many quality, if not strange, details from author Steve Fishman to try to excerpt the entire piece.
Let’s go in with the baseline assumption that Fishman wrote a fair story. He did plenty of leg work on the ground, talking to A-Rod himself, his ex-wife Cynthia — bizarrely his go-to character witness– as well as many of the assorted lowlifes somehow connected to the now shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Miami.
Is the NY Mag story pro-A-Rod? Probably. Could it be another part of A-Rod’s attempt to spin the story in his favor? Also possible. Does the story paint Rodriguez as a very wealthy human being operating inside his own (mostly delusional) reality who just wants to be “please everybody”? You bet.
It’s also doubtful Fishman cooked up the entire story. If even a fraction of the seedy details he reports about MLB’s dealing trying to acquire the evidence from Biogenesis goons to nail A-Rod, it’s another terrible PR blow for commissioner Bud Selig. The phrase “dirty pool” never felt more apt the picture Fishman paints about MLB’s investigation, which basically boils down to MLB making their entire case based on the testimony of a party-loving Miami version of Dr. Nick Rivera and his bizarre notebooks allegedly containing the transaction logs.
By now, the way this saga has unfolded you have to wonder, if given the chance to step inside the Delorean … would Selig do it? Would he go back and try to do it differently with A-Rod. Perhaps let bygones be bygones, instead of fighting this war in the media that neither side will emerge as a victor? Does Selig truthfully want to end up in federal court fighting to uphold the Rodriguez suspension? Couldn’t Selig have taken Ryan Braun’s season-ending suspension and called it a day and smiled for the cameras?
Selig read the tea leaves wrong. The anti-steroid hardliners are getting old. His media cronies and mouthpieces are growing irrelevant. The generation who will write Selig’s legacy remember what happened in 1998 and ultimately don’t feel all that cheated by it. Denying this stuff ever happened — like when the NCAA makes a college basketball team vacate a Final Four or a bowl game — is almost worse to some younger baseball fans who grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s. Everyone wants a clean sport, but what does pretending Barry Bonds never hit 73 home runs in a season or making sure Roger Clemens never earns a plaque in Cooperstown actually accomplish?
Instead of enhancing his legacy and ending his career on a high note, Selig chose to go down this very messy road. Even folks initially against A-Rod seem to sense MLB is trying to railroad him, despite evidence from Bosch connecting him to PEDs. The continued botching of the A-Rod case, increasingly casts Selig as a bumbling old man with soup stained khakis many people already believe him to be. It’s not good that Selig’s motivations are increasingly described as a “witch hunt” or a “vendetta.”
Through this A-Rod saga, it’s easier to sense the massive disconnect between Selig and the public. He’s made far too many miscalculations. First and foremost assuming that pinning A-Rod to a record 211-game sentence, absent a failed test, would paint him historically as a “Great Reformer.” Even more unwise? Going down the road he did, allegedly buying evidence, cutting deals with a creep like Bosch. If you want to nail A-Rod, to show the world you were tough on PEDs, you do it with an air-tight case, not an envelope full of cash to a shady dude in a diner with a flash drive full of allegedly incriminating documents.
Fishman describes Bosch as,”constantly broke. “Live like a king, party like a rock star” was a personal motto, according to friends. “It’s Miami,” he liked to say. “My vice.”
Seriously? This is the linchpin of MLB’s attack against the great evil that is Alex Rodriguez? Nobody had the common sense to step in and suggest this might not be the best long-term strategy? It’s 2013, after all, details come to light no matter how hard you try to work in secrecy.
Selig & Co. did allegedly cut deals to Bosch on board. His testimony likely damned A-Rod in his grievance hearing. If Bosch was truthful about supplying PEDs to Rodriguez, chances are arbitrator Frederic Horowitz will uphold some, if not all, of the suspensio. So yes, in that regard Selig will win that little battle but in the long run he’ll lose the war in the court of public opinion.
As for A-Rod? The more you read about him, the more you see him interact in public his only crime might be that he’s not all that bright. Rodriguez might try his hardest to emulate Magic Johnson or absorb knowledge from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, but the fact remains he’s still the guy whom Cameron Diaz fed popcorn to at the Super Bowl or posed with purple lips kissing himself a mirror. That said, it would be unrealistic to think a kid who grew up as a star athlete and was drafted No. 1 overall at age 18 out of high school would be able to break down string theory, recite Proust AND hit close to 700 career home runs. Nobody is that much of a renaissance man.
Still, the more details to you read about him, the more A-Rod seems to have a totally vacant Patrick Bateman-level personality, minus the violence, misogynistic tenancies (and probably the love of Huey Lewis & the News). It’s as if there’s an idea of what A-Rod wants to be, but can’t quite figure out the humanity behind it.
In this whole Biogenesis mess Rodriguez made his fair share of miscalculations, too. Namely visiting a dude like Bosch in the first place in order to acquire “food” — the alleged codeword for PEDs.
As more details, such as the NY Mag piece emerge, it only going to reinforce the old adage how two wrongs don’t make a right.