By Sweeny Murti
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Only in the world of A-Rod can things go this wacky in such a short period of time.
We arrived in Boston on Friday with the bombshell news that A-Rod may have ratted out Ryan Braun and his own teammate, Francisco Cervelli. A-Rod denied that, and at the same time told us that more stories like this -- "bigger and bigger" in fact -- would be coming out every day for the next seven weeks. Good gosh, how much worse could it get?!?
A day later, Joe Tacopina, the newest member of A-Rod's Dream Team, leveled conspiracy charges at the Yankees, basically accusing them of being more concerned with ruining A-Rod's career than winning the World Series. A-Rod looked befuddled as he tried to dance around questions related to things his own lawyer was saying.
Brian Cashman's 30-minute rebuttal on Sunday basically dared Tacopina, David Cornwell, Jackie Chiles and whoever else is representing A-Rod these days to file a grievance and open up the medical records to see who's lying about what. Cashman's remarks were going to be enough to make the headlines for Monday morning.
And then came the top of the second inning Sunday night. Ryan Dempster decided to become the baseball police. He's been in the majors since 1998. He's never played with a performance-enhancing drug user before? Joe Girardi is right: If Dempster decides he's going to be the law, then he will have to deal with the other side of it. He should have been ejected. Dempster will face discipline of some kind, a fine for sure. But if the umpire didn't see fit to eject him -- even if it was the wrong decision -- and a brawl was not started, then I'm not certain there is enough to get Dempster suspended.|
What happened after seemed a bit odd. With a wedge clearly driven between A-Rod and Yankees management, the guy actually became a unifying force for one night as players sprung to his defense and implored A-Rod to hit a home run.
Was it perfect theater that he actually did? It certainly was going to be enough to let A-Rod smile a little when he made his postgame comments.
He served as a rallying point for his teammates and the fans, too. A-Rod has been a villain to many Yankees fans, but only they were allowed to take their shots at him. Red Sox and their fans?? No chance.
Only in the world of A-Rod can so many jaw-dropping stories keep coming at you like baseballs being fired from a pitching machine. Bigger stories every day? A-Rod was right for a change. What the heck is happening tomorrow??
In a weekend filled with soap-opera twists and turns, I keep hearing fans talk about how this wouldn't happen if George Steinbrenner was still around, or George would take care of this if he was still around, or something similar.
Done what exactly? Gotten himself suspended again by employing another shady character like Howie Spira to try to take down A-Rod? It sure seems like A-Rod would have fit right in with Reggie Jackson, Sparky Lyle, Billy Martin, Goose Gossage and the rest of the "Bronx Zoo" Yankees of the late 1970s, or perhaps as the Dave Winfield-like whipping boy of the 1980s.
A-Rod's lucky he never had to deal with George, whose bombastic ways were pretty much over by the time A-Rod came to the Yankees in 2004. If he did, the weekend's worth of storylines he created would have been a drop in the bucket. In one of his last George-like acts, he fined one of his favorite players ever, David Wells, $100,000 for comments he wrote in a book.
Imagine what he might have said or done during this mess?
Anyway, A-Rod has certainly provided more fodder for fans and media than any player in New York sports history. He's not going away either. Sure, he will serve a suspension at some point, but that will only spin the story in another direction and open the door for more lunacy.
Love him or hate him, good or bad, at this moment it feels like it's A-Rod's world -- and we're all just living in it.
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