As the news of the suspension of Alex Rodriguez lit a virtual fire on Twitter Saturday morning, I was almost taken aback at how intensely the world seems to view the whole affair.
I suppose because the announcement of the Arbitrator's verdict happened to come during Hall of Fame announcement week--one fraught with judgements and opinions both PED related and not--just seemed to add to the madness.
I try to be objective with respect to such holocausts as that of the ethnicity of Santa Claus, the wedding of Honey Boo Boo's mother, or whether One Direction really are the next Beatles, but A-Rod's suspension is apparently no such animal.
While there are a few interesting future ramifications of the A-Rod deicision, in the end this whole thing smacks of Shakespeare all across the board.
In reality, Shakespeare wrote three genres: The tragedies and comedies, but also histories though some eggheads, and I mean this in a good way, might argue that plays like "A Winter's Tale" and my favorite of his works, "The Tempest," should really be categorized as romances. And that would make yet a fourth category.
Irrespective, though the histories were long and sometimes dry, as with "Henry V," or "Richard II," the documentations could also be riveting. Those plays also served the function of teaching a largely illiterate (remember, we are talking 16th century here) English population about their Regency and past.
So can we see that A-Rod, with his 162-game plus banishment from Major League Baseball in 2014, is the new precedent for someone who is apparently a second offender. And, my understanding is that since the arbitration between the MLBPA and MLB is binding, no matter how much talk and posturing we see, no courts will see the daylight of the whole debacle.
As for A-Rod himself, there is that sad Aristotelian tragic flaw--that is a character or person's greatest strength will similarly be their downfall-- about the guy baseball made their richest participant ever. Much like King Lear, a victim more of his own hubris than anything else, A-Rod is really fighting himself at this point, though unlike Lear, he lacks a sympathetic Cordelia.
For Rodriguez, who will turn 39 years old this season, and who has neither played in over 140 games, nor hit over .286 since 2009, the actual implications of the suspension are clearly much more symbolic at this point than anything else (where do you draft A-Rod on your team if he were healthy and eligible?)
So, in a way, the longer Rodriguez sort of pathetically challenges the decision, he indeed seems to "protest too much," and that really does change how I view him from vibrant player to sad old man (and I was 22 when he was born).
Of course, with all the fuss about Rafael Palmeiro being completely dropped from the Hall of Fame ballot (with less than 5% of the BBWAA votes), and the similar falls of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, whether A-Rod can turn this group into the most infamous sports quartet seems likely for a while in that human beings tend to be judgemental, as well as not particularly forgiving.
I do have my doubts about Clemens and especially McGwire--neither of whom I am particularly crazy about as human beings for self-righteous reasons--being in the Hall, but as for A-Rod and Bonds, even if you subtract a portion of their stats--like 200 homers for Bonds--they were still better than just about every other player over the course of their careers.
Maybe in a few years, when us old farts are no longer voting for the Hall, having forgotten that greenies and spitballs and other vehicles for improving stats have been used in just about every discipline always in an effort to get ahead, a new generation will recognize, and who knows, maybe embrace the trail the generation of PED users blazed (would it be ok if stem cell research helped prolong a player's career, I ask?). Like in Woody Allen's movie "Sleeper," where they discover that smoking is actually good for you in the future.
But, I would also ask, as a human being, is A-Rod a more unlikable character than Ty Cobb, who is in the Hall despite being a surly bigot rumored to have killed someone (much worse than gambling or using PEDs in my moral book)?
Irrespective, over the long haul I know this whole thing will prove to be a "Comedy of Errors."
Because, as I said, we humans have short memories. And, since the Seahawks vs. Saints game started, all the A-Rod tweets have died anyway.
Maybe it is really "Much Ado About Nothing"?