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When Baseball Becomes the Bad Guy

by Kenny Ducey
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Keith Allison/Flickr

MLB begins to resemble Anthony Bosch

It’s a story that you’ve probably seen countless times; two leading characters despise each other. One who relates to the audience with his positive morals, and the other who is the polar opposite, are forced to team up in order to halt the evil-doings of a larger-than-life villain. Along the way, however, the better man has to resort to the tactics of the skeevier one in order to get the job done.

Major League Baseball, in teaming up with Anthony Bosch to take down Alex Rodriguez, has begun to look as disheveled as Bud Selig’s seldom-combed hair. The difference between this case and that classic Hollywood script is there’s no guarantee of a happy ending, and there’s no assurance MLB will ever become a ‘good guy’ again after going to extreme lengths to take down A-Rod.

The league has a dark past in which they’ve turned a blind eye to cheats in their game in exchange for good theatre. But by being the lesser of three evils, they have to be the ‘good guy’ in this story; a small portion of the audience in this case will relate to a chronic cheater, and en even smaller one will root connect to a drug dealer who stooped so low as to do business with minors.

So, in order to save some face for the mistakes they made, they purchased evidence from Anthony Bosch, a drug dealer, to take down the only major product of steroid abuse remaining in the game. After enough evidence was secured to announce a suspension, and after A-Rod appealed said ban, it appears the league is flirting with unlawful behavior by leaking evidence from the coming arbitration case.

Then there was Monday, when Rodriguez’s newest representative, Joseph Tacopina, appeared in front of Matt Lauer on The Today Show to discuss the case Rodriguez is now pursuing against his team, the New York Yankees, for withholding information about his injured hip last postseason. In an effort to humiliate Tacopina and Rodriguez’s camp, MLB sent a two-page letter to NBC agreeing to waive their confidentiality clause, and had Lauer present it to Tacopina. Obviously, a lawyer is not going to sign anything without examining the document word-by-word, so Tacopina responded by expressing his desire for baseball to send this type of thing to him before he went to bed, maybe.

Without the document being signed, some proclaimed that baseball had won, when all that took place was a comical attempt by Lauer to out-lawyer an attorney. Furthermore, it raised the question of why MLB wouldn’t go to Tacopina directly to get this deal done.  They continue to hide behind closed doors as they try to win over the court of public opinion. If Rodriguez is so much of a monster that Selig and company had to associate with a slimy doctor from Miami who helped taint their precious league, why would they need to leak report after report to paint A-Rod as the villain?

It’s because the public is beginning to realize the ridiculous lengths to which Major League Baseball is going to defeat Rodriguez. Where were the FBI investigators and the flow of cash to BALCO for information when Barry Bonds was cementing his name in their sacred record books? When did Mark McGwire receive a free pass back into baseball after hugging the Maris family and tainting the Home Run record for, as we understand, the first time?

It’s also because the Yankees may be just as corrupt. A new report in the New York Post mentioned secrets about the team’s ‘win at all costs’ attitude. And, with the risk of losing a lawsuit, it seems to some the team made some attempt to keep A-Rod off the field so they could save some cash.

Fans have begun to cheer for Rodriguez to not only continue his great performance on the field, but to reduce his suspension. It’s a bit odd, because he’s a villain from all indications, having blatantly lied to the nation, and having refused to deny steroid use since then. He, however, hits Home Runs and stands calm in front of the media, while MLB continues to leak evidence from the arbitration case and attack Rodriguez through statements.

Their means of taking down Rodriguez may be turning them just as corrupt as Bosch and his superstar client. By pointing their finger at A-Rod for allegedly purchasing evidence from Bosch, they’re becoming hypocrites, having purchased evidence from him themselves.

And it all leads to the age-old question; do the ends justify the means? Is a lengthy legal battle against one of the many players to disgrace the game of baseball going to pay off in the end?

At this point, it no longer matters what baseball says, or what Rodriguez says, because the case is in the hands of an arbitrator. And while Rodriguez is a hard person to side with, MLB may have become just as questionable after cutting a deal with a man who approached kids 18 years of age and younger about steroids.

The same league that has prided itself on keeping traditions for years, who wouldn’t even consider replay until this decade, is now taking all the heart-pounding moments they’ve provided fans with in the past and potentially laying a wrecking ball to them.

After it’s all said and done, there’s a chance their fearsome 211-game suspension will be reduced to something in the ballpark of 100, and at what cost to MLB? Even if the lengthy punishment holds up they may have changed their identity, willing to get in bed with anyone just to make up for a guy who they let beat their system for years.

It’s not even for Ryan Braun, a guy who openly mocked baseball by calling himself a victim, no; it’s for an aging star on the last leg of his career, who was already fighting injury and criticism from fans. The monster was already dead; fans didn’t want any part of A-Rod and his history of untimely strikeouts in the fall months. There was a slim chance he’d come close to Bonds’ tainted Home Run record, and even if he did, title would have been seen as illegitimate.

Major League Baseball brought Alex Rodriguez, the guy who was so easy to hate, back to life, and made him a player fans wanted to cheer for again.

For that, they’re no better than someone trying to taint baseball. For that, they’re Anthony Bosch.

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