In case you missed it yesterday, Alex Rodriguez took it upon himself to apologize to the New York Yankees, Major League Baseball, and maybe most importantly the fans. In doing so, he took the time to pen a letter, by hand, describing his feelings.
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The bigger question though, is does baseball really learn anything from this entire situation?
To provide some context, here’s what Alex Rodriguez said in his letter:
"To the Fans,I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season. I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association and you, the fans, I can only say I’m sorry.I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that’s on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology, but I decided that next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job.I served the longest suspension in the history of the league for PED use. The Commissioner has said the matter is over. The Players Association has said the same. The Yankees have said the next step is to play baseball.I’m ready to put this chapter behind me and play some ball.This game has been my single biggest passion since I was a teenager. When I go to Spring Training, I will do everything I can to be the best player and teammate possible, earn a spot on the Yankees and help us win.Sincerely,Alex"
This brings us to the problem. A full season suspension, a game defamed, and a player continually thrashed through the mud, but where is he today? Alex Rodriguez will be stepping back into the hot corner for the New York Yankees.
Baseball suspended, and nearly blackballed the one time baseball great, for cheating not only himself but the game and fans as well. Through all of it though, he finds himself still allowed the privilege of competing at the game’s highest level. Much like Ryan Braun before him, Alex Rodriguez really doesn’t see any real punishment for his transgressions does he?
As people, Rodriguez and Braun represent the lowest level of human integrity. Being caught in a lie, even while your employer celebrated it, to then vehemently deny and drag others down in the process looks bad only for the individual. Both players turned themselves into a public joke, and probably have to live with the fallout of that forever. It’s all eased by knowing they can still cash a paycheck and compete on the sports biggest stage though isn’t it?
Whether you agree with what baseball did in turning a blind eye towards PED and steroid usage or not, the sport has also shown that it may still make sense. A simple apology affords you back into the good graces of the game, and while you may have to spend time away from the sport, in the end you are always welcomed back. To what extent does a punishment hold weight, and where does baseball actually stand to gain going forward?
Some of these questions are extremely tricky, and more loaded than could ever be reasoned in a simple piece. That said, the game should be looking to learn from each form of punishment it hands out, and it would seem that only Rodriguez is the winner in 2015.
At the end of the day, I don’t like Alex Rodriguez. He’s a disingenuous person, as while he once may have been a great baseball player, that’s long been overshadowed. He deserves no boos, but maybe for each crowd to turn their back as he performs. The biggest loser is baseball though, as he’s made a mockery of the game I love. Wanting the charade to end is the goal, seeing if it will remains the question.
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