Will A-Rod's Ego Lose Him Dangerous Game of Chicken with Bud Selig?

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2013

CHARLESTON, SC - JULY 02:  Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankess reacts in the dugout during his game for the Charleston RiverDogs at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park on July 2, 2013 in Charleston, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It appears that Alex Rodriguez's saga with Anthony Bosch and Major League Baseball will be coming to an end soon.

That end could entail the finality of what should have been one of the most celebrated careers in the history of the sport, or a prolonged suspension that runs deep into the 2014 season. No one knows exactly what Bud Selig has in store for the Rodriguez. 

Craig Calcatarra of Hardball Talk reported that MLB is pushing for a lifetime ban of Rodriguez if the two sides aren't able to work out an agreement on a suspension. 

A source familiar with the Biogenesis investigation tells HardballTalk that if Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball are unable to reach a settlement in connection with the Biogenesis matter, Major League Baseball will suspend Rodriguez for life. Previous reports have only suggested such a move is possible.

The report also notes that there is "compelling evidence of significant malfeasance" by Rodriguez involving the use of performance enhancing drugs, sending other players to Biogenesis and destroying evidence from the clinic. 

T.J. Quinn of ESPN reported that Rodriguez and MLB were in negotiations to get Rodriguez's potential punishment reduced from a lifetime ban to a suspension. 

All of this is a long way of saying that if Rodriguez is going down, he certainly isn't going to go quietly into that good night. In fact, he appears to be fighting for the only thing that he has left. 

Rodriguez wants play baseball more than anything else, but his ego, and complete lack of self-awareness, has held him back from being the beloved figure his talent suggested he should have been. 

The closest Rodriguez ever came was when he played in Seattle. This was a franchise that transitioned from Ken Griffey, Jr. being the most dominant player in the sport to Rodriguez in very short order. 

As so often happens in baseball, though, free agency made it all but impossible for the Mariners to keep Rodriguez. In the winter of 2000, he signed the richest contract in sports history with the Texas Rangers for 10 years and $252 million. 

One could argue that moment was the beginning of the end for Rodriguez, even though he would go on to win three MVP awards, a World Series and sign an even bigger contract with the New York Yankees after the 2007 season. 

Throughout this entire process, Rodriguez has professed that he did nothing wrong. His people released a statement back in January that said he had no relationship between Rodriguez and Bosch was false. 

Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story -- at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez -- are not legitimate.

In June, the New York Daily News reported that Bosch was looking for financial help to cover his legal bills from the lawsuit brought on by MLB. Rodriguez is said to have denied Bosch the money, which in turn, caused Bosch to flip and work with MLB in this investigation. 

Less than two weeks after that report, the Daily News also reported that Rodriguez called Bosch during last year's American League Championship Series between the Yankees and Tigers to "help him."

Lately, instead of trying to play victim, Rodriguez has seemingly been oblivious to what is going on. He and the Yankees have sparred over the nature of a quad injury that delayed his return to the big leagues, the doctors who are examining him and, subsequently, offering opinions on an MRI and some type of return plan. 

The cherry on top of this dirty sundae came this week when he told S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated (h/t ESPN.com) that he wants to be a role model. 

Look, it's concerning. I have two daughters at home, and I'm sensitive to that, and above all, I want to be a role model, continue to be a role model -- especially to my girls. So all the noise sometimes gets on my nerves, but that's it. I can't let it get any further than that. I have a job to do.

If Rodriguez wants to be a role model to his children, I have no problem with him saying that. There is no reason to think that he hasn't been a good father. But athletes being role models to the rest of the world rarely works out well for anyone. 

Granted, that isn't Rodriguez's fault. We are the ones who canonize these athletes, so it is our problem when we find out that they are humans who make mistakes along the way. 

Selig has seemingly made it his own personal mission to lock horns with Rodriguez, as well as Ryan Braun, who has already been suspended, and make sure that he sends a message to anyone else in baseball who gets caught up in a steroid or PED situation. 

My opinions on the topic of steroids and PEDs have been documented on the site many times, but I will just reiterate that I have no feelings at all about them because there has never been any kind of evidence that shows they help make you better at baseball. 

But for the purposes of this discussion, the idea of a Rodriguez-Selig standoff is one that seems to have been building for a long time. 

I equate it to the battle between Walter White and Gus Fring during the fourth season of Breaking Bad. Selig plays the role of Gus Fring, as he is seemingly in control of this whole situation. But Rodriguez, in the Walter White role, puts all the pieces together at the end to outsmart the master and get what he wants. 

It is slightly different, as Rodriguez won't get exactly what he wants. If he had his druthers, he would be back on the field in New York today. That's not going to happen, but this battle of wills and wits has a clear and obvious ending even if it isn't exactly what Selig was hoping for. 

Let's say, hypothetically, that Rodriguez gets a 150-game suspension. That means he doesn't play at all this season and will be out until the middle of July in 2014. The last MLB game Rodriguez will have played in is October 18, 2012. 

For a player who was already a shell of his former self, turning 39 at the end of July next year and coming off hip surgery in January 2012, Rodriguez's odds of being a productive big leaguer ever again are virtually nonexistent. 

But Rodriguez's ego and arrogance and sense of entitlement won't let him walk away from the game this way. That is why he is now choosing to work out an agreement with MLB that will reduce the lifetime ban. That is why he won't retire until he says so, even if he is a relic on the field. 

Selig is just sitting back, dotting I's and crossing T's waiting for the ceiling to collapse on Rodriguez's head. It is caving in right now, but the last pin will drop very soon. And when it does, Rodriguez won't know what hit him. 


If you want to talk baseball, feel free to hit me up on Twitter with questions or comments.