The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

January 13, 2014

COLUMN: A-Rod: Lies, damn lies and statistics

“There are three types of lies,” said long-ago British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, “lies, damn lies and statistics.”

There have been plenty of lies and damn lies involved with the Alex Rodriguez case, that much is clear. Now the question is whether the statistics Rodriguez has piled up over the course of 20 seasons are likewise simply a pile of lies.

Last summer, the New York Yankees’ slugger was suspended for 211 games for violations of Major League Baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract — doping, in other words.

Over the weekend, MLB’s independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz reduced A-Rod’s sentence from 211 to 162 games, the entire 2014 season, plus the postseason, should the Yankees qualify.

Rodriguez was suspended for his involvement with Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in Miami accused of providing performance-enhancing drugs to a number of players. The suspension was handed down after an investigation by MLB uncovered evidence of A-Rod’s “use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years.”

Meanwhile, on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Sunday evening, Anthony Bosch, the founder of the now closed anti-aging clinic in question, says A-Rod paid him $12,000 a month to provide him with PEDs, including testosterone and human growth hormone, and even injected the substances into Rodriguez on occasion because the player is afraid of needles.

A-Rod says he didn’t do it.

“I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Assessment in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court,” said Rodriguez in a written statement. Monday he filed suit against MLB seeking to overturn the suspension.

Somebody’s lying.

Admittedly, Anthony Bosch is certainly no choir boy. He initially denied supplying any players with banned substances, but has since changed his tune.

A-Rod alleges baseball commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB brass are out to get him, but why? Why would MLB’s leaders accuse a player they knew to be clean of being a doper? The last thing baseball’s leaders want is more headlines about doping.

And why would Rodriguez continue to maintain his innocence in the face of a preponderance of evidence against him, plus eyewitnesses coming forward to accuse him? Two words — Lance Armstrong. Rodriguez apparently has enough hubris to believe, like Armstrong, that his star power and his ceaseless denials will carry the day.

That tactic didn’t work out so well for the disgraced former cycling champ, and it probably won’t for Rodriguez, either. He should consider himself lucky to have his suspension reduced. The arbitrator could have left it at 211 games.

But A-Rod won’t go quietly. Not only does he plan to take the matter to federal court, but he is threatening to show up at spring training when the Yankees open camp next month.

That brings us back to the fact someone is still lying in this whole mess. Ultimately it may be A-Rod lying to himself, trying to convince himself he can resume his career as if nothing has happened, that all will be forgiven and that one day his career accomplishments will be recognized and he will be elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame.

And that may just be the biggest lie of all.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.

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