Morosi: Why is A-Rod destroying himself?
Alex Rodriguez is under a year-long suspension from Major League Baseball. He has almost no chance of earning election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. But at least he’s an All-Star with the American Bar Association.
A-Rod’s appeal is finished. He lost. And yet his attorneys are still cranking out complaints, like a team holding batting practice the day after its elimination from the playoffs. It’s over. Go home. Not A-Rod. At this rate, he’ll singlehandedly end the underemployment crisis for recent law-school graduates.
We knew Rodriguez was an irrational egomaniac. We knew he had a warped sense of reality. But Monday . . . well . . . this was the day Rodriguez’s legal saga morphed into a self-destructive psychodrama. He sued MLB, commissioner Bud Selig, and the players’ union — the very organization that represented him through the circuslike appeal.
Mind you, the MLB Players Association succeeded in convincing arbitrator Fredric Horowitz to reduce Rodriguez’s suspension from 211 games to 162 (not including the postseason). In better days, the MLBPA provided the foundation for Rodriguez’s two contracts in excess of $250 million. Instead of a thank-you note, he sent a lawsuit.
Rodriguez charged that the union “completely abdicated” its responsibility to him. He had particularly sharp criticism for Michael Weiner, the universally respected former executive director of the MLBPA, who died of brain cancer less than two months ago.
For Rodriguez to disparage Weiner in that way, with the union still mourning his loss, was one of the most revolting acts I’ve witnessed in baseball. (Weiner never explicitly declared Rodriguez’s guilt during a radio interview, as A-Rod alleged.) Tony Clark, Weiner’s successor at the MLBPA, said Rodriguez’s attacks on Weiner were “gratuitous” and “inexcusable.”
So let’s summarize: MLB has banished A-Rod for a year and probably wishes he’d leave for good. The Yankees certainly don’t want him in spring training. The union that protected him has turned into an adversary — by his own doing. And now that he’s spoken out against Weiner, how many teammates or fellow players will defend Rodriguez on the record? Will any?
Professionally speaking, Rodriguez has only his personal cadre of attorneys. And they’re getting paid to hang out with him.
I will be honest: There were moments over the past year when I felt a little sympathy for Rodriguez. MLB aligned itself with steroid dealer Anthony Bosch and bought evidence in order to support a suspension for Rodriguez. That bothered me. But from the time Horowitz’s decision became public Saturday morning, Rodriguez has systematically destroyed what little goodwill he had.
Does he want to be despised by the fans who once cheered for him, because it’s better than slipping into irrelevancy? Does he actually believe he never used PEDs, despite Bosch’s testimony under oath and the associated documentation? Or is he a serial doper who’s lashing out because he can’t bear the thought of having to play clean?
Baseball will move on, because spring training starts in a month. The Yankees will move on, with Kelly Johnson and perhaps a right-handed platoon partner (Michael Young? Logan Forsythe?) at third base. The union will move on, as Clark navigates an increasingly adversarial relationship with the commissioner’s office. But A-Rod can’t move on — at least, not anytime soon. He’s alone, unpopular and disgraced. And he has no one to blame but himself.