If you're like me, you don't want to be thinking about Alex Rodriguez right now. You want to be watching baseball. If that baseball should include Alex Rodriguez, well, you'd put up with it for the greater good.
Unfortunately, Rodriguez is the story. There's a spectrum of hot takes:
Rodriguez is an Icarus with wings made of gummy, and on "60 Minutes" Sunday, Major League Baseball seemed to enjoy every last second of his fall into the sea. Because they got him, they got him good. Here's the segment if you need to catch up:
Now, it seems this would be the time for strong opinions, bold positions, and hot takes. I'm fresh out of all of them at the moment, mostly because I'm caught between a couple of positions that aren't mutually exclusive. Both of these can be true, so think of this as a Weasel's Guide to Examining Both Sides Without Committing to Anything.
Position #1: I have little idea what MLB is expecting to accomplish
As in, let's look at the best-case scenario of the throw-the-book strategy, assuming MLB knew that Rodriguez would fight like a cornered raccoon. The absolute best-case scenario of MLB throwing the book at Alex Rodriguez is that MLB could say they threw the book at Alex Rodriguez. They could probably slick the metaphorical comb-over down and use it as a pickup line.
We threw the book at Alex Rodriguez, you know.
Hot. There isn't a lady in the entire Regal Beagle who could resist that opening. But that's the best-case scenario. Because they're not going to turn A-Rod into anything other than a six-point buck's head. This isn't the end of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. And for all the parading around, all the victory laps with Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, the feeling that MLB is one step ahead of the cheaters goes away instantly the next time a star gets caught. And there will be a next time, probably this year.
When that happens, people who don't really follow baseball will shake their heads and cluck their tongues. Tsk tsk, there goes baseball again, so dirty, when's the football game on? Those people are a huge chunk of the audience for "60 Minutes", too. There were a lot of people who normally wouldn't follow the A-Rod story or baseball in general who suddenly have strong opinions about the scandal. Strong opinions about baseball, too. And they aren't favorable. That saying about no publicity being bad publicity is bunk.
Remember the NFL executives on "60 Minutes" explaining how they were going to react to Defensive Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing's suspension a couple years ago? Of course not. They're not stupid enough to make a big deal about it. As such, no one cares about steroids in the NFL, including the producers of "60 Minutes."
But baseball, man, they'll talk to "60 Minutes." They'll give them a segment. They'll raise the fur of the MLBPA and provide some infotainment for the masses.
Why? Not sure. It's odd.
Position #2: What Rodriguez did was unique and transcends the typical PED stuff
Also true. The obstruction, the race to buy documents and destroy them … this isn't about a player peeing green fire into a cup. Does Rodriguez's circle really go around intimidating people and buying evidence? Does he really think he's in the middle of Miller's Crossing and there's a gang war going on?
If half of these allegations are true, there's no way baseball could just throw 100 games at Rodriguez and hope he'd go away like Braun did. Here's what Selig told "60 Minutes":
Scott Pelley: And so you decided to make an example of (Rodriguez)?
Bud Selig: I wouldn't call it an example. I think the penalty fit what I saw was the evidence.
I don't want to believe Selig because his lips were moving. But wouldn't Rodriguez deserve special punishment if he were guilty of the alleged transgressions? If so, the exact last thing baseball should do is stand down and hope a quick suspension makes everything go away. Acting scared of Rodriguez's cornered-raccoon attitude and his legal team isn't something MLB should (or would) ever consider.
So even though I don't get MLB taking drastic steps like buying documents from "Bobby" sight unseen, or Selig appearing on "60 Minutes" but not before Rodriguez's arbitration panel, I get why they might think Rodriguez deserves a lengthy, historic punishment. I have no idea what MLB is expecting to accomplish, but I have a pretty good idea of what they want to accomplish. It's not ignoble. Just unrealistic.
There's no one to root for. The only positive outcome is for baseball to start and everyone to forget about this. The majority, the people who won't think about baseball two days from now, certainly will forget about it all until the next star is suspended. At which point, all of Baseball's hard work, all of the effort to look like zero-tolerance enforcers, will be worth almost nothing.
Kind of wish Rodriguez and Selig weren't such dillweeds in the first place, so no one would care, so we could talk about Masahiro Tanaka like grown-ups. As is, Rodriguez is probably dirty, he probably attempted some manner of cover-up, MLB made this the huge story it is, everyone looks stupid and awful, and PEDs are never going away. If you're looking for a one-sentence synopsis, there you go.