Fool me once—shame on me. Fool me twice—get out of baseball forever.
It might not be the most popular stance based on Alex Rodriguez's newest role in another performance enhancing drug scandal, but it's the decision the 37-year-old New York Yankees third baseman should make after Tim Elfrink's report in Tuesday's Miami New Times.
A three month investigation into Anthony Bosch and Biogenesis of America, a Miami company that specialized in anti-aging tactics. Those tactics have now been linked with human growth hormones, anabolic steroids and testosterone.
You guessed it—the notes and records obtained from the now defunct clinic include plenty (16) of annotations that include the initials A.R.
The Yankees are not happy with these newest developments in the A-Rod saga, and why should they be? Since acquiring A-Rod from the Texas Rangers prior to the 2004 season, the Bronx Bombers have just one (2009) World Series title and have had to deal with constant problems related to his on and off-the-field problems.
According to a report by ESPN, the Yankees are trying to find a way to void the remaining years and salary left on his monster contract. If successful, it could save the Yankees over $100 million over the next few seasons, as noted by ESPN's Stats and Information on Twitter:
If the Yankees could void A-Rod's contract, it would save them at least $118M over the next 5 seasons.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 29, 2013
If you'll remember, this isn't A-Rod's first rodeo when it comes to PED admission. He did so in 2009, participating in an interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons and claiming that his steroid use was only from 2001-2003—his three years in a Ranger uniform. In other words, he had not done steroids since coming to New York.
The public has largely forgiven Rodriguez since those admissions. The admission of guilt doesn't take away the offense, but it was more than other players did in absolving their debt to the fans of the game.
Throw that admission out the window.
Rodriguez is now one the most decorated liars in the history of professional sports. Aside from Lance Armstrong, you'd be hard-pressed to find a man that meant more to a sport that will leave it in such disgrace. We're quick to mention Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro when talking about steroid use, but Rodriguez now has two separate scandals on his already tainted ledger.
Say what you want about Pete Rose. Or Marion Jones. Even Danny Almonte—the youngster from New York who fooled us all in the 2001 Little League World Series—has nothing on Rodriguez going forward.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal agrees, saying the slugger is "done" in his most recent piece about Rodriguez and the PED scandal in Miami:
When I say, “done,” I’m talking about Alex Rodriguez’s reputation. His attempt to rehabilitate his once-pristine image. And, of course, his chances of making the Hall of Fame.
ESPN's Ian O'Connor echoed that sentiment on Tuesday, using Armstrong as a benchmark for his comparisons:
A-Rod had better hope he's somehow a victim here, because if the allegations are true he should do what Lance Armstrong did: take his bike and go home.
Strong words from national baseball reporters—something that should not be overlooked when drafting an opinion on this latest A-Rod scandal. These guys have seen Rodriguez for years, and most are operating under the assumption that he's guilty until proven innocent.
Right or not, Rodriguez will have a chance to defend this report. He's no different than anyone on trial—he should have the right to be innocent until proven guilty. However, the evidence from the New Times report was so overwhelming that it seems prudent to look at the consequences of these reported actions.
Rodriguez is expected to miss at least half of the 2013 season with a hip injury that sidelined him late in 2012. General manager Brian Cashman said A-Rod could miss the entire 2013 season less than a week ago, as noted by New York Post writer Dan Martin.
Make no mistake—Rodriguez would be a hot commodity if he was released or voided from his current contract. Even returning from injury, there are a slew of teams in the American League (Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto come to mind) that would slide him in as the DH and roll with the punches—even if he draws a suspension from MLB.
Where does A-Rod go from here?
Let's get real: A-Rod is a career .300 hitter, has 647 home runs and is a three-time MVP. Those credentials speak for themselves, even if a majority of his stats are now forever tainted by the steroid era in which baseball is desperately trying to escape.
There's one final hope for Rodriguez to save his image. It isn't by playing his way out of the scandal. It's by fessing up to lying for many years, apologizing to fans for ruining the integrity of the game and leaving the game of baseball forever—Lance Armstrong style.
It's the right thing to do, and should be A-Rod's biggest show of the age-old adage: "Actions speak louder than words." But who are we kidding? It's A-Rod. He's lied and cheated the American public of an apology once, and we no longer expect him to do the honorable, right or sensible thing.
His 2009 interview is now a comedy of epic proportions, and baseball shouldn't have to deal with this sideshow anymore.
If the allegations are true, here's a personal plea, A-Rod: Hit the road, Jack—and don't you come back no more. If it takes an interview with Oprah Winfrey to get you there, the game of baseball will oblige.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team. Check him out on Twitter.