On Monday, Major League Baseball suspended New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for the remainder of this season and all of 2014 for using performance-enhacing drugs and covering up his transgression, the league said. A dozen other players were suspended for 50 games each, but Rodriguez, a three-time MVP and 14-time all-star, was the only player to appeal, which allows him to continue playing.
Incidentally, his return to the Yankees from a minor league rehab session was also Monday, when he traveled with the team to play against the Chicago White Sox. The 38-year-old received a less than warm reception.
Oh, did he hear boos. And they intensified with every plate appearance. Welcome to the foreseeable future, A-Rod.
“It was a hard day today, that’s for sure. A long day,” Rodriguez said after going 1-for-4 in an 8-1 loss. “It’s been crazy. …It was good for me to get the first one behind me. For me, personally, I just want to get back to playing baseball. I just hope there’s a happy ending somewhere in there.”
In a news conference prior to the game, Rodriguez did not talk about whether he used performance enhancing drugs or not, but did take time to defend himself.
In A-Rod’s words: “I’m a human being. I’ve had two hip surgeries. I’ve had two knee surgeries. I’m fighting for my life.”
Some players were dissapointed about the suspensions and were critical of Rodriguez and the other players that were suspended.
“It’s a good day for baseball,” Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox told the Boston Globe. “Nobody wants an uneven playing field. I’m glad this happened. You want everybody on the same page. We shouldn’t be competing against guys who use drugs like that.
“You always want to compete on the same level. That’s all I want. That’s all everyone else wants. Today is bad for baseball and the fans. But as a player, this is what you want.”. . .
Even some superstars spoke out. The Rays’ Evan Longoria (@Evan3Longoria) tweeted, “Today is a sad day for MLB, the fans of this great game, and all players who may have been negatively affected by others selfishness.
“Although today will be a day of infamy for MLB, it is a tremendous step in the right direction for the game we love.”
Rodriguez’s teammates also weighed in on the situation, with some taking a more diplomatic tone.
NEW YANKEES OUTFIELDER ALFONSO SORIANO:
“It didn’t surprise me the names, it surprises me that people keep trying. They know that if Major League Baseball puts in that rule they can’t keep trying. If you try to do something wrong, sooner or later they will catch you. I don’t try to do something wrong in baseball because maybe they will catch me. I don’t want to do that because I have a family and have friends and I don’t want to let my friends and family down.”
YANKEES INFIELDER LYLE OVERBAY:
“We’ve all made mistakes. He’s made a mistake. He’s a teammate and we’re going out go out there and [try to win]. I don’t know him enough or been around here enough, and he hasn’t been around, he’s been out rehabbing. But just knowing him as a teammate and as a player, that’s what’s frustrating that he’s so good that he doesn’t need to do all this stuff. That’s what’s frustrating to me.”
Rodriguez is scheduled to take the field against the White Sox in Tuesday night’s game in Chicago.
Manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees appear glad to have Rodriguez back, but the attention drawn to his situation likely won’t subside and could pose further distraction for a team struggling to remain in playoff contention.
“He’s here, he’s going to play,” Girardi told the Yankees’ official Web site. “It really doesn’t change anything for us.”