Don’t Let Sad, Bitter A-Rod Smear October

The believability quotient for Alex Rodriguez is approximately that of Charles Ponzi, Lance Armstrong and Pinocchio, if not lower. Remember, this is the man-child who admitted four years ago to using performance-enhancing drugs earlier in the decade, calling himself “young and stupid” and vowing to “regain the trust of the American public.” So now, after the other 12 players nailed in this year’s Biogenesis scandal have fessed up to PED involvement and served their suspensions, A-Rod wants us to believe he’s the unlucky 13th who has been wronged by Major League Baseball?

Really? And he’s also having dinner and playing high-stakes poker with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Little Mermaid?

This would be LOL funny if word of his two lawsuits, one against MLB and the other against a New York Yankees team doctor and a New York hospital, didn’t come with the crux of the postseason upon us. It’s repulsive enough that Rodriguez would ask for a second chance in 2009, promise he was through with steroids, then have the audacity to use them again. It’s even more despicable that he hurls his stinkbomb in October, by design, and tries to ruin everyone’s enjoyment of the sport’s showcase month.

To accuse A-Rod of trying to hookwink us is to tread too lightly. He is so disturbed, he has managed to detach himself from his magnificent lie and convince himself that he’s somehow a victim. In his delusional state, he thinks MLB and commissioner Bud Selig have conspired “to improperly marshal evidence that they hope to use to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez.” Maybe, if Rodriguez previously hadn’t been involved with PEDs and if mountains of evidence hadn’t been compiled in the convictions of the other dozen Biogenesis bums, we might be more willing to hear him out.

But he clearly is a desperate soul who insists on being a weasel to the bitter end. Do you recall hIs lame attempt to slap a ball out of a pitcher’s glove as he ran to first base? Welcome to the courtroom version. I normally don’t go around quoting Selig and his people, knowing they’ve had their own phony moments. But MLB’s statement concerning Rodriguez’s legal action was spot-on: He’s conveniently forgetting that the primary issue at hand is whether he used PEDs, and if MLB did use morally disreputable tactics to bust him, as he claims, the main headline remains. That is, A-Rod lied and juiced after promising he never ever, ever, ever, ever would again.

Said the statement: “While we vehemently deny the allegations in the complaint, none of those allegations is relevant to the real issue: whether Mr. Rodriguez violated the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by using and possessing numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years and whether he violated the Basic Agreement by attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation.”

Rodriguez and battalion of lawyers and public-relations people, who number in the dozens, aim to drag MLB into court and air Selig’s own dirty business into the public domain. Part of the lawsuit claims he is being scapegoated as baseball’s big-ticket juicer — Seiig’s way of shrouding his own failings as The Steroids Commissioner and waiting 15 years before addressing the PEDs crisis with a hammer, as he did in the Biogenesis scandal. I don’t disagree that Selig, as the lawsuit claims, vows to “make an example of Mr. Rodriguez … to gloss over Selig’s past inaction and tacit approval of the use of performance enhancing substances in baseball … in an attempt to secure his legacy as the `savior’ of America’s pastime.”

But again, the central question: Did A-Rod lie and juice after promising he never ever, ever, ever, ever would again?

Certainly, it is troubling if Selig and his men used unsavory tactics to reel in Rodriguez. Did MLB slip $5 million to the Biogenesis ring leader, Anthony Bosch, to cooperate in an A-Rod smear? Did Selig’s investigators intimidate witnesses and their families — including a tape-recorded threat obtained by ESPN in which Patrick Houlihan, an MLB labor-relations lawyer, warned a potential witness he’d report him to law enforcement if he didn’t cooperate? These are thug methods, and, if true, the approach would be as shameful as the years of complicity when MLB and the owners collected riches from PED-ripped sluggers who re-energized the sport’s popularity.

Immoral? Yes. And if Selig has left even the smallest of cracks in his foundation of evidence against A-Rod — forcing arbitrator Fredric Horowitz to overturn or adjust MLB’s 211-game suspension of Rodriguez — then Selig won’t have to wait until December 2014 to retire as commissioner. He’d have to crawl from New York to Wisconsin in disgrace. But be reminded that Alex Rodriguez is a liar from way back.

“The lawsuit appears to be out of the Lance Armstrong playbook and we all know how that worked out for him,” Bosch said in a statement per ESPN that also claimed he “hasn’t received $5 (from MLB), let alone $5 million.”

Trying to determine who is less honorable, Alex Rodriguez or MLB, is to ask the same about RIchard Nixon and Bernie Madoff. They’re both evil symbols of a dirty, sleazy period in American sports history. For instance, are we expected to believe that dozens of A-Rod supporters holding a candelight vigil outside MLB’s Park Avenue offices actually are doing it of their own volition? With all the aggrieved parties in this world legitimately worthy of a candelight vigil, these folks chose A-Rod and his flimsy cause? My guess is, he and his people are paying them, using an embarrassing public-relations ploy as a backdrop as he stops and talks to the media after his daily work at the hearings.

“We’re in a process,” Rodriguez told reporters, per ESPN. “The process has to be respected. What I do know is that I’m very happy with the support. I want to give my thanks to all of the Hispanics in the entire world, here in New York City and (who’ve) been here the entire week. Keep supporting me. Thanks a lot.”

Do yourself a favor, America. Keep watching the playoff games. Admire Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in the game. See Craig Kimbrel, heir to Mariano Rivera as the most dominant closer. Feel good for the Pittsburgh fans who’ve suffered so long. Ask what Wil Myers was thinking when he gave up on the fly ball at Fenway, showing how delicate the Tampa Bay Way can be and how easily it can collapse with one fundamental flub-up. Wonder if the Red Sox can keep winning if their beards grow to ZZ Top-length. Consider the antithetical ramifications of a Dodgers-Cardinals series for the National League pennant, and the jumping jacks at the TV networks if Los Angeles, St. Louis, Boston and Detroit are the final four.

And please, whatever do you, ignore the chump in the suit.