So the day finally arrived. The day that would change the sport, set the precedent for future drug-related issues and see the hammer dropped on one of the most controversial players of all-time in what would almost definitely be the longest suspension since Pete Rose was banned from the game of baseball. And well, it turned out to be kind of a dud.
As expected, there were hardly any surprises following Major League Baseball’s official announcement of the suspensions. The flood of information through social media in the last few months left little to be learned about the case. Terry Collins’ favorite player Jordany Valdespin, who until yesterday was not mentioned in previous reports linking him to the Biogenesis scandal, surprisingly received a 50-game suspension, but JV1 has been out of the bigs since mid-July anyway.
To no one’s surprise, Alex Rodriguez was dealt the longest suspension of the 13 total players suspended, but will play through the appeals process and went 1-for-4 with a single in his first Major League game of 2013. Regardless of your personal opinion of A-Rod, there’s no denying he’s a gamer and lives to play the game of baseball. Guilty or not, appealing a 211-game suspension was the only option for Rodriguez. He’s a rapidly-deteriorating player who would be roughly three months shy of his 40th birthday once eligible to play again in 2015 if he accepted his suspension. Also, who knows what nearly two years out of the game would do to his physical condition? A-Rod’s future beyond the remainder of this season is a mystery, but after a seven-month layover riddled with scandal, hip surgery and the memory of watching the Yankees get swept out of the 2012 ALCS from the bench, Rodriguez was surely going to do anything in his power to get back in Pinstripes and I can’t blame him. This is the last hurrah for Rodriguez. After his recent public spat with the Yankees and Major League Baseball, combined with his alleged repeated violation of Major League Baseball’s drug policies, it’s hard to imagine Rodriguez being welcomed back into the game after his playing days are numbered. More importantly, with his image at an all-time low (an accomplishment almost as impressive as his 647 career home runs and nearly 3,000 hits given some of the low points he’s experienced), the chances of Rodriguez working in television like countless other former athletes are slim as well. These dark days, being showered with hatred, boos and criticism from every angle while playing for arguably the worst Yankee team in nearly 20 years, may very well be Rodriguez’ final taste of professional baseball. Light years away from his days as the eventual home run king who would one day be the rightful, steroid-free record holder and first-ballot Hall of Famer, A-Rod is no longer welcome in the game he claims to love so much.
The best thing to come out of “Biogenesis Monday” is undoubtedly Nelson Cruz’ apology/explanation for why he consulted Tony Bosch. After allegedly losing 40 pounds due to helicobacter pylori, a gastrointestinal infection, Cruz sought Bosch’s expertise because anti-aging clinics, not hospitals, are usually where you go for that kind of thing… Without wasting too much time, the “I didn’t know” and/or “I was taking it for something else” excuses are getting old and are an insult to the intelligence of fans. Major League Baseball provides all players with the necessary information and resources to know what is and isn’t a banned substance. It’s time more players start owning up to their mistakes like San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera admirably did Monday at a press conference following his suspension.
Monday wasn’t all about steroids though! How about Zack Greinke? In addition to outdueling Adam Wainwright on the mound to improve to 9-3 on the year, the former High School slugger went 1-for-2 with an RBI and scored a run. Dude is now hitting .405 on the year with 15 hits in 37 at-bats. Yasiel who???
The Royals trounced the Twins 13-0 to stay hot and continue their torrid pace. Just three weeks ago, the Royals had lost five-straight heading into the All-Star break and sat eight games back of the first place Tigers and 6.5 games behind the Indians. However, since then the Royals have gone on a tear and have a 14-3 record in their last 17 games sky rocketing them into… into… Actually, they’ve only made up half a game on Detroit and three on Cleveland and remain in third place in the AL Central and 7.5 games off the lead. Talk about bad luck. Oh well, keep it saucy Royals! (If you don’t get it, Google it)
Hopefully with all this Biogenesis stuff close to being over, we as baseball fans can get back to a sense of normalcy and enjoy some good playoff races down the stretch and some of the great stories going on in baseball. Like Matt Garza’s misogynistic Twitter rants aimed at the wives of players who bunt against him!