diversion is but more immersion in the muck

another stab at ARod, of course

Having gone off on insincere Ryan Braun not once, but twice (July 27, diversion: the baseball I told you so edition), I’d hate anyone to think that I am soft on #13 if I didn’t have something (diverting?) to say about this Never A "True Yankee" fellow, Just because he wears The Pinstripes. Tut, tut, my friends. I am not claiming a badge of honor, but I have long believed The Rod was a serial abuser of PEDs, so never fully embraced him, even in the ’09 euphoria. The problem with talking about him now is that he is such a piñata, and no one who swings at him wears a blindfold.

Here is my bottom line today (subject to change tomorrow, of course): the guy is almost certainly very guilty of significant baseball sins (obstruction of MLB "justice" among them), but Selig has forced him to appeal, which (because Selig prudently decided not to go to war against the Players Association) gave ARod the right to play pending the appeal. (Sorry, Evan Longoria, but that procedural safeguard protects all union members.)

And by choosing the deliberately provocative penalty of 211 games, Selig must have known he gave ARod no choice to appeal, and the union no choice but to back him. The union has to find out the limits of the Commissioner’s power, and ARod … well, every 16 games is worth about $2mm, so he’s pretty motivated to see if an arbitrator will lop off even "a little" bit of the 211 games. Say he ended up twice what Braun got (65 games): that would save ARod about $8mm. Please don’t tell me that you’re certain that you would not appeal, if you were in ARod’s shoes.

So fans get to boo, and commentators both professional and amateur get to comment, often amateurishly. Ugly stuff, but life goes on, and the Yankee season continues to circle the drain.

Emotionally, I am with Tyler Kepner in today’s New York Times about ARod fatigue (though I am rather shocked a beat writer got to call a player "unctuous"). Cynically, I am with Dave Zirin in a dialogue post on the Times this week, about Selig And His Owners getting way too much credit and way too little blame for catching the "dirty players" years after they generated millions and millions for the owners (and I remain bemused and disgusted about the degree to which the NFL and other leagues still get away with doing much less than MLB has done). Romantically, I am with the elegant Doug Glanville, who wrote elegantly (and sentimentally) about baseball achievement and baseball fame and baseball numbers (yes, I still sit in the pews at The Church of Baseball).

So take your swings at The Human Piñata until you are tired or bored. It ain’t just ARod, it ain’t evil (or unreasonably "selfish") of him to appeal (or to exercise his bargained-for) rIght to play, and Bud Lite ain’t no saint. Yes, it would be nice if the appeal can be heard within a few weeks, but I am not on that committee so don’t blame me (or ARod) for the process.

Opening day, by the way, is less than 8 months away. Go watch a Major League Baseball game (or two) before then. Preferably, one not involving steam with NY on their shirts.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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