By Ernie Palladino
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Alex Rodriguez is under fire yet again for suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The Yanks are saddled with a gargantuan contract for an aging player who, due to hip surgery, could return as a part-timer.
The investigation is on-going, Rodriguez’s playing future is up in the air. And the only thing we know for certain is this: A-Rod is not going to go away quietly.
A-Rod doesn’t do anything quietly, unless it’s the postseason. Then he gets as quiet as a church mouse.
For him to do all the rest of it with class and dignity, well, we’ve got more of a chance of seeing him squiring around the local librarian in the gossip pages. “A-Rod And Little Miss No-Name Head Into A Bagel Shop in Flatbush.” What a headline!
There’s good reason for this. Over the span of his career, from Seattle to Texas to his life in pinstripes, Alex Rodriguez has always been about two things, fame and money. He got the latter — in spades. The Rangers made the initial mistake of signing him to a $252 million contract, and then the Yanks compounded the error by committing to him for 10 years, $275 million in 2007.
Numbers like those don’t go away easily. And the Yanks have to know that they can’t count on Rodriguez to help them out. They still owe him $114 million, and in truth Rodriguez would be nuts to just walk away from that kind of dough.
Rodriguez also received his fair share of fame, too. From escorting Kate Hudson, Madonna, and the rest of the galaxy of stars, to his home run slugging, A-Rod has made quite the name for himself. You can bet that even years from now, well after age and injury have short-circuited his chase for the all-time home run record, he’ll find a way to turn that shortfall into some sort of human tragedy.
As for his current circumstances, he long ago learned how to deal with fame when it turns into infamy. Nothing, of course, has been proved yet. Right now, his name appears on a bunch of documents from some fountain-of-youth doctor’s ledgers in Miami. As damning as that might seem in print, it still doesn’t prove he indulged in HGH, testosterone, or any other banned substance. It’s too early to tell where the federal, state, and MLB investigative trail will lead. But we do know how A-Rod has reacted so far.
He lawyered up and hired a PR firm to issue his categorical denials.
When the time comes if, indeed, Rodriguez is found to have consorted with the eminent biochemist Anthony Bosch in procuring various PED creams and such, he’ll talk then. Quite likely, he’ll display the same kind of remorse as when he admitted in 2009 to using steroids. A little lip quiver, a bit of a shaky voice, but in the end a lot of rationalization and self-exoneration.
He can’t help it. That’s Rodriguez. It’s his DNA.
What the Yanks have to deal with is how to get that DNA off their hands. Short of a huge payout, Rodriguez is not likely to walk away. Bud Selig, knowing full well a suspension and voiding of the remaining five years of A-Rod’s contract will trigger a major headache from the players union, probably won’t help the Yanks.
In the end, the Yanks probably will wind up paying off their injured, controversial third baseman and taking whatever luxury tax hit that comes along with it. It will probably be worth it in the long run.
Whatever happens, they most certainly should not expect any help from A-Rod himself. He’s not walking away from anything.
The famous — and infamous — rarely do.
Do you wish A-Rod would just go away? Sound off in the comments…