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Press Box: Alex Rodriguez saga just needs to end

News Tribune sports commentary

I’ve never been a big fan of Alex Rodriguez.

I wasn’t a fan when he when he was putting up eye-popping numbers in Seattle and Texas, and I wasn’t a fan when he signed a 10-year, $275-million contract to play for the New York Yankees.

Rodriguez had this demeanor about him that I just didn’t care for.

Then 2009 came.

That’s when A-Rod admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03 while playing for the Rangers. That’s when I lost all respect for him.

It’s not like his admission came out of guilt. No, it came because he got caught.

To an extent, I understood why he used PEDs. It was a different era. It was part of the game.

But in 2009, as much as I didn’t believe the fact Rodriguez regretted using steroids, I could live with his apology. I could live with it because he left it alone after that.

Now, fast-forward a few years and we’re in the same boat.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig suspended Rodriguez for 211 game in August, and arbitrator Fredric Horowitz cut the penalty last weekend to the 2014 season and postseason.

Horowitz found “clear and convincing evidence” Rodruguez used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct baseball’s investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic.

Busted.

I think legendary pitcher Goose Gossage said it best when examining Rodriguez’s new predicament.

“I wish A-Rod would just leave it alone and go on, then see about coming back,” Goosage said. “Who knows what the future holds for A-Rod and the Yankees. I think A-Rod probably got what he deserved. I hate to see it happen to him, but I think the punishment fits the crime.”

The punishment does fit the crime, but Rodriguez won’t let it go and that’s what bothers me almost as much as him cheating for a second time.

On Thursday, Rodriguez said, “It’s a very sad story. We hope we can take it out of the newspapers and I hope we can start concentrating on all the good things the big league is doing with all the young players moving forward.”

Rodriguez went on to say, “I think that in the year 2014, the league could have done me a favor because I’ve played 20 years without a timeout. I think 2014 will be a year to rest mentally and physically and prepare myself for the future and begin a new chapter in my life.”

Now keep in mind, A-Rod responded to his suspension by suing MLB and the players’ association Monday in an effort to overturn his season-long ban.

If Rodriguez really wants to move on, he has to put an end to the lawsuits, which also include those against the New York Yankees’ team doctor and the hospital where he had his hip surgically repaired.

Bottom line, if Rodriguez has any hopes of winning back the respect of Yankee fans, or even baseball fans across the country, he has to go away for a while.

But that won’t happen.

A-Rod plans on reporting to spring training next month, although the Yankee organization and MLB executives will meet in the upcoming days to determine if that will be allowed.

If he does show up at training camp, George Steinbrenner Field will be a circus. And that is not good for baseball.

Was Rodriguez treated unfairly with his suspension? Was he targeted in this scandal?

I don’t buy it. But I guess those are questions that have to be asked, considering A-Rod didn’t fail a drug test and 11 of the 12 other players caught in the Biogenesis scandal received 50-game suspensions — Ryan Braun got tagged for 65 games.

Don’t be naive. There are ways to take PEDs without getting caught. Rodriguez and his team knew exactly what they were doing — until they got caught… again.

Rodriguez needs to stop playing the victim. He’s already had one free pass, he doesn’t deserve another one.

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