In 2014, the American League Central will look to bring the World...
So this is going to sound a little weird, but I might be starting to believe Alex Rodriguez. If you didn’t hear, A-Rod stormed out of his arbitration hearing this afternoon in New York, banging a table and throwing a briefcase, after he learned that the arbitrator in the case ruled that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig wouldn’t be compelled to testify as part of Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211 game suspension.
Of course, in typical bizarre A-Rod fashion, he stormed right to the studios of WFAN and Mike Francesa who happened to be on television and radio at the (same!) time. There, Rodriguez and his lawyer proceeded to give a roughly 12 minute interview (which can be viewed here) in which A-Rod called the proceedings ‘disgusting’ and repeatedly asserted his unequivocal innocence.
Here’s the thing, isn’t that exactly what you would do if you really were innocent?
I know we live in the post-Lance Armstrong world where simply thinking that someone doesn’t have the balls to so blatantly and continuously lie is both naive and usually wrong; I know we just watched not only Armstrong but also Ryan Braun offend our very sensibilities while standing up in front of a camera and lying to the faces of people all over the world; I know A-Rod has been caught in lies before and almost everyone with a brain thinks he’s guilty as sin. All this I know, but this interview seemed……. right.
Imagine, for a second, that you are an innocent Alex Rodriguez. Sure, you’re kind of a big jerk and you’ve been caught lying and cheating before, but this time, the big time, you legitimately didn’t do anything wrong. Imagine now that you are publicly accused of some ridiculously heinous stuff–cheating, but also lying to everyone, covering your tracks (unbelievably poorly) and interfering with an (admittedly shady) investigation. Imagine that the result of this is that you have just been handed the longest suspension in the history the sport you’ve played your whole life, effectively ending your career, destroying your reputation, and making you a national pariah. On top of all this, remember that for the last 18 months, in addition to all this hanging over you, you have suddenly become bad at the thing you’ve always been best at. Now, fastballs that were easy to hit when you were 22 are making you look silly. Worst of all, this all comes to a head in the playoffs, with everyone and their mother tuned in to your struggles and embarrassing downfall. More than anything, you are embarrassed.
Ok, so what would do? If you really were innocent of all wrong doing, would you let the system play out? If you didn’t do it, would you have faith that the system in place would exonerate you? That the truth would eventually come out? If you didn’t do what they are accusing you of, they can’t possibly have any evidence, so would you just ride out the storm, believing that in the end, the record will be set straight?
Maybe. But what if you thought it went deeper? It’s now looking more and more like this organization is out to get you. They aren’t playing fair and they’ve stacked the deck, something they can do since they choose the game, print the deck, and deal the cards. Now, they’ve said that the point person on this whole investigation, the face of their organization and the one man that you simply can’t wait to get your hands on, doesn’t have to come to the hearing. The one thing you’ve been counting on has now been ripped away from you, on top of all else.
Well I don’t know about you, but I’d be pissed. In fact, I’d probably have thrown a briefcase months ago. If I really was innocent–not just “not guilty,” but innocent, as Alex asserts–my faith in the system would be more than a little bit shaken. I’d be livid. I’d be furious that my name continues to get dragged through the mud and that I’m now obviously going to be ‘convicted’ of something I actually didn’t do.
I’d probably run to the nearest radio show, or for that matter anyone who would listen, and yell at the top of my lungs about the injustices perpetrated against me. I’d say that I’ve been quiet and respectful and faithful for too long and now its time to jump up and down and proclaim my innocence.
In short, I’d do what A-Rod did today. His actions struck me much more like those of an innocent man than a guilty one.
Of course, I’ve left out a ton in this post. The story is really much more complex and bizarre. Moreover, chances are A-Rod is as innocent as OJ (if the needle doesn’t fit…?). This is just some good old food for thought.
Stat of the Day: A-Rod is 1 home run shy of being 100 home runs shy of Hank Aaron.