By Jason Keidel
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Under a mushroom cloud of proof that he not only took steroids — again — but that he also lied about it — again — Alex Rodriguez has decided that veracity sucks and mendacity doesn’t fill his tank.
After bungling his way into a court-ordered, 162-game sabbatical, A-Rod has decided to sue everyone who doesn’t like him. Since most men don’t have the time, money, and desperation for such municipal waste, we have the A-Rod apologist, who, like their fallen icon, has resorted to vast swaths of illogical reasoning, deflection, and denial in his defense.
You may find their arguments rather ridiculous, but they are as ardent as he is in their inverted worlds. And when faced with impeccable logic, they generally shout over you (like some radio hosts who will go unnamed).
Let’s address the default defenses we’re hearing for the disgraced third baseman. Oddly enough, sliding to third base was about the only unselfish move he’s made on or off a baseball diamond.
Let’s address the A-Rod apologist’s talking points, one by one.
1) A-Rod is the victim of some left and/or right-wing cabal hellbent on making him a corporeal pinata for Bud Selig’s epic sense of sadism. He has been singularly persecuted for taking steroids and lying about it.
Ever heard of Barry Bonds? He was hounded by the feds for allegedly lying to a grand jury. If that weren’t enough, he had an entire book, “Game of Shadows,” detailing his exact juicing regimen. Tales of his alleged ‘roid rage are endless, including recollections from former teammates, lovers, and reporters.
How about Roger Clemens? He was also tried for perjury, and has now been shamed out of existence, reduced to a dumb, ignorant hayseed who “misremembered” his way out of the Hall of Fame.
Summer of Sammy? Sosa’s syntax magically disappeared before Congress, cracked a corked bat, refused a drug test on a popular late-night talk show, and is now shamed into his own PED purgatory.
Mark McGwire refused to talk about the past, until he needed a job. He, as much as anyone, is the face of the fatuous steroid junkie. He may work as a hitting instructor, but won’t ever have an at-bat in Cooperstown.
Not to mention more than a dozen MLB players linked to Biogenesis have been suspended. It just feels like A-Rod is the only one because he insists he knows nothing about Bosch and his inventory of iniquity.
2) Tony Bosch can’t be believed because he’s a shady character and a drug dealer. And rats always lie.
Anyone heard of Jose Canseco? He was universally trashed as an ignorant, bitter jock whose halcyon days rendered him a high-pitched, testosterone-drained gelding who just needed to lash out at anyone for his own mistakes.
Well, it turns out everything — EVERYTHING — Canseco said was spot-on, including his guarantee that A-Rod was on steroids. Remember how outraged the world was when Canseco made that bold assertion? This was before Selena Roberts, Katie Couric, and the Miami New Times pulled the PED curtain on the disgraced third baseman.
Nearly everyone Canseco fingered has since come clean on their dirt. And those who haven’t are now in hiding. Though it is quite the paradox, Canseco, original Bash Brother, turned out to be the bard of the PED era.
Without “shady” informants, there would still be a mafia, thousands of now-defunct drug cartels, and Richard Nixon would have served a full two terms.
3) MLB can’t be trusted because it bought Bosch’s documents.
Why not? Is anyone disputing the authenticity of those documents? And do you really think MLB would base A-Rod’s suspension on said documents if there was a chance they were forged? Besides, in the absence of subpoena power, how else do you expect them to procure the papers? Name one law that was broken in doing so.
For some reason, that’s criminal and unforgivable, but it’s no sweat if A-Rod’s people allegedly tried to buy him off, send him to Colombia, and then pay him $150,000 upon his return, once the toxic dust of scandal blows off the shore.
4) Bosch lied about selling steroids.
I think A-Rod lied about taking them. As Billy Martin famously said, “One’s a born liar, the other’s a convicted liar.” In a game of he said, he said, give me Bosch, who was facing a legal volcano had he not come clean. A-Rod already admitted he lied the first time about his juicing in Texas, begged us to judge him from that day forward. After doing the very thing he vowed to quit, you think he will admit a second dalliance?
5) Bosch should be forced to testify.
He did. A-Rod’s lawyers had him on the stand for five hours and got nothing.
6) If A-Rod gets an injunction he will turn the sport on its ear.
Nonsense. Almost every talking head on television has been most ardent in asserting that courts are universally allergic to hearing this brand of arbitration. Their feeling is that both sides agreed to the process, so another ruling is redundant. Despite A-Rod’s newfound affinity for litigation, it only represents an appearance of desperation and deception, not some new angle to win this war on drugs that, well, he initiated.
7) A-Rod should only get a 50-game suspension since this is his first time violating the drug policy.
He would have. But he chose to deny and fight and lie. Ryan Braun went on a Tet Offensive against MLB, calling the league every vulgarity in the book. He said galling things about the dude who merely took his urine sample, and got the poor guy fired. Even with his infantile rants and a positive PED test in his file, he still only got 65 games. Had A-Rod simply surrendered when the story broke he would have already paid his penance and we’d be wondering about his 2014 numbers, not his 2015 return from purgatory.
8) There’s no real proof A-Rod took steroids. He didn’t even fail a single drug test!
Neither did Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, etc.
Ever hear of circumstantial evidence? Do you think every murder is solved with a smoking gun and 10 witnesses?
A-Rod just has to be the unluckiest No. 13 on earth, eh? Out of all the “doctors” he could have picked, he accidentally bumped into Bosch. A-Rod said he scoured the globe looking for the nutritionist nonpareil. His journey started in Miami and after hiking a million miles, he found his guy in … Miami.
At this point you just have to walk away from the A-Rod apologist, because his contradictions become impenetrable. He says Bosch is no more than a liar and a drug dealer. If that’s true, why would A-Rod go to him for vitamins?
And those 500 texts to Bosch? A misunderstanding. Asking what to take three hours before a “Big Game”? Fred Flinstone or Barney, of course! Take Wilma on Wednesday, Alex! Duh!
Sure, our sense of justice is often commensurate to how likable we find the accused. We hated Bonds, so we reveled in his suffering. We loved Andy Pettitte, so we accepted his rather suspicious confession that he took HGH twice.
But sometimes the facts are so stacked against a person you just wonder why he doesn’t simply concede, take his (legal) medicine, and move on. Every malaprop and misstep digs another divot into his road to recovery.
A-Rod has reportedly surrounded himself with lowlife sycophants, with rap sheets longer than the Magna Carta, who may have threatened Bosch’s life. This is how far the man has fallen. It’s a Tyson-esque plunge from the throne, yet you get the sense A-Rod doesn’t have Iron Mike’s charisma or self-awareness to parlay his perils into a suddenly charming second act.
Even if the most misguided and rabid accusations by the A-Rod apologist are true — that MLB has made him the emblem of all malfeasance and has decided to sacrifice A-Rod at the altar of retroactive justice — there is, inm y opinion, always a surefire way to avoid all persecution and prosecution.
Don’t become a board member of the Taylor Hooton Foundation. Don’t lecture kids on the perils of PEDs while you’re banging equine cocktails into your tan tush.
Don’t go on “60 Minutes” and tell the world you’re clean when you know damn well you’re not.
Don’t tell the world during your mea culpa that you realize you don’t need the juice, vow to stop taking them, and implore us to judge you from 2009 onward.
Don’t tell the world you just want your day in court and then when that day comes don’t hide in Mike Francesa’s studio.
Don’t burn the final bridge in your crumbling life by suing the players union, the very body that created the lucrative world in which you’ve made nearly a half-billion bucks.
It reminds me of a sublime line from the sublime movie, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” when Alan Arkin says to Al Pacino he doesn’t know what to tell the police because cops make him nervous.
“Tell them the truth.” Pacino said. “It’s the easiest thing to remember.”
Unless you’re Alex Rodriguez, who has misremembered his way into infamy.
Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel