MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Alex Rodriguez entered baseball in July 1994 and was immediately pegged as a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest to ever play.
Instead, the player who was considered a shoo-in for Cooperstown will be suspended through the rest of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 season, a total of more than 200 games, for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Per MLB – “Rodriguez’s discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years. Rodriguez’s discipline under the Basic Agreement is for 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.”
Major League Baseball announced the nearly two year suspension Monday alleging that A-Rod repeatedly used performance enhancing drugs and tried to interfere with the Coral Gables-based Biogenesis investigation.
“Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do,” Commissioner Bud Selig said Monday in a statement. ““As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field.”
However, A-Rod is expected to appeal the suspension and will be allowed to join the Yankees and play while his case is being appealed.
“I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process. I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight. I want to thank my family, friends and fans who have stood by my side through all this,” said Rodriguez in a statement.
Rodriguez entered the Major Leagues as a member of the Seattle Mariners and by 1996 was tearing up the league with a .358 batting average, 36 home runs, and 123 RBI’s. It seemed the boy they called A-Rod was indeed going to live up to all of the mile-high expectations set for him.
By 2000, the focus had turned to where Rodriguez would play. He was a Mariner, but was being courted by most teams since he was considered arguably the best player in the game. That’s when the Texas Rangers stepped up and blew the rest of baseball away.
The Rangers gave A-Rod a massive contract worth more than $250 million to come to bring his talents to Texas. A-Rod immediately made good on the contract and from 2001-2003, he hit 52, 57, and 47 home runs respectively. A-Rod also had 395 RBI’s and hit .305 through during the same time period.
But unbeknownst to many fans, Rodriguez had good reason to be hitting with so much more power during those years as he was on steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
A-Rod didn’t admit the steroid use until Sports Illustrated linked him to a list of players who tested positive in 2003. He actually lied during a 60 Minutes interview two years earlier saying he never took steroids.
Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees before admitting to the steroid use in the early 2000’s, but the impact of PED’s began to show up in A-Rod’s statistics. Rodriguez has only hit more than 40 home runs twice in the nine years he’s been a member of the Yankees.
For comparison, Rodriguez hit at least 40 home runs in every season from 1998 to 2003 and did it again in 2005 and 2007.
Things began to unravel for Rodriguez last season when he injured his hip. His production had dropped off dramatically, which for a player of his age, isn’t surprising. But the firestorm that erupted at the beginning of 2013 would ultimately bring A-Rod down.
The Miami New Times acquired a plethora of documents that linked A-Rod and multiple other players to the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables. The Biogenesis clinic allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to Rodriguez and others, which the New Times showed documentation of over years.
At that point, ESPN and other sports journalism entities began to look into Rodriguez and the Biogenesis clinic and things began to happen fast. ESPN alleged that Bosch had gone to A-Rod’s house to inject him with PEDs among other allegations. Major League Baseball also began investigating Rodriguez.
As the year went on, Rodriguez was rehabbing from offseason hip surgery and out of the spotlight of the New York media. Details of the alleged steroid use kept percolating to the surface and each time A-Rod’s return to the Yankees seemed to be further away.
In July, A-Rod went on a quick media tour trying to force the Yankees to bring him back to the major league roster. He went so far as to have a doctor who had never examined him, but had looked at his MRI, talk to media outlets to say A-Rod was ready to play.
The Yankees were unmoved and kept Rodriguez rehabbing, including rehabbing a quadriceps injury, in the minor leagues. All the while, Major League Baseball began to near the end of its investigation and moving towards imposing a suspension of some length on A-Rod.
MLB wanted to make an example out of Rodriguez, the biggest name player the league ever had information confirming PED usage. Initially, MLB officials told A-Rod he had a choice of either accepting a lengthy suspension or face a lifetime ban.
Commissioner Bud Selig was even reportedly planning on using language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players union to impose a suspension that would prevent Rodriguez from playing while he appealed the sanctions.
Baseball officials finally settled on a XXXX suspension that will keep Rodriguez out of baseball for some time.
For Commissioner Selig, he hoped the Rodriguez suspension, along with suspensions to Ryan Braun and other players, may finally start to close the book on the Steroids Era in Major League Baseball that has put all of the sports records in question.
It is the presumed end of a career of a can’t-miss prospect that went from the most popular baseball player in the world to being persona non grata in the sports world. The only question left will be can A-Rod overcome the drug problems to eventually get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
If A-Rod doesn’t get into the Hall, it won’t be because of his statistical output. Rodriguez has hit .300 for his career with 647 home runs, 1, 950 RBIs, 318 stolen bases and has a career OPS of .945.
A-Rod’s legacy wasn’t tarnished by the Biogenesis scandal as it was damaged long before the scandal broke in 2013. But, Biogenesis may prove to be the final nail in the coffin of a once promising career.