Everybody hates Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod, the moniker by which he goes, has become A-something-else around Major League Baseball. And why not? Rodriguez lacks charms and humility, and he’s the poster child for behemoth sports contracts: his $252 million ten-year deal with the Texas Rangers back in 2000 shattered records and remains the biggest ever. Back then he was just 25-years-old, his career a shimmering specter of possibility laid out in front of him. But A-Rod never won a championship in Texas. His contract became a burden to the organization and he ended up in the only place where it seems that “contract” and “burden” never appear in the same sentence: New York. Specifically, the Yankees. He won a championship there (once), but who hasn’t ringed up in the Bronx? (With apologies, Donnie Baseball.)
You know what else he did there, besides win? He juiced. Allegedly. Just as he had in Texas and probably Seattle, where he started. Admittedly. But the thing is: steroids were an epidemic. You don’t call a whole decade the Steroid Era–and keep its most accomplished sluggers out of the Hall of Fame for it–unless it’s a serious problem. Yet the full-frontal assault by MLB on Rodriguez seems calculated to assuage its sins of neglect during the whole era. The thinking at MLB must go that if we get this guy who no one likes and really nail him to the wall, we can wash our hands and begin fresh. Commissioner Bud Selig has a lot of face to save, and his publicity machine co-opted 60 Minutes on Sunday to tell its dubious story. The main witness against Rodriguez was Anthony Bosch, a practiced equivocator. 60 Minutes treated him like he had the credibility of David Gates. Selig chimed in and shook his saber. And 60 Minutes didn’t blink an eye. If there was ever anything to like about Alex Rodriguez it’s his current (almost unimaginable) status as an underdog. They’re ganging up on him now.