Now he has our attention as the ultimate snake, lying his way into the Yankees' good graces in 2009. Remember that monster return from the first hip surgery four years ago — the real-life Roy Hobbs blasting a home run in his first at-bat off the disabled list? Rodriguez drove in 100 runs in just 124 games, but according to the New Times, that performance was phony as Rodriguez's apology six months earlier, after he'd been caught by Sports Illustrated using PEDs in 2001-03.
The New Times' three-month investigation revealed that A-Rod was a regular customer at Biogenesis; his name was found in the company's records 16 times from 2009-12. The New Times relied on the information of two former employees, and included photocopies of handwritten notes about the clientele. Through his spokesman, Rodriguez vehemently denied the charges and disavowed any professional relationship with Biogenesis' owner, Anthony Bosch.
To which we say: of course Rodriguez would bob and weave. He will deny, deny, deny. It's the only play he's got — and it worked for Roger Clemens. But The Rocket's career was already over by the time he went to trial for perjury. A-Rod still has five years left on his current contract, and millions of dollars hanging in the balance. What else is he going to bleat except: not guilty?
But here's the more compelling question: What happened to Rodriguez's talent if he was indeed juicing and cheating his way through the 2012 season? He finished with his lowest slugging percentage since 1995 and, with only 18 home runs, turned a pursuit of Barry Bonds' all-time home run record into a dead crawl.
And this was while allegedly on PEDs, prompting one baseball executive to say, “imagine what (Rodriguez) would be without them?”
Only Rodriguez knows. Only he understands the depth of his desperation — to keep cheating after having been caught once already. To keep cheating after knowing the game's culture had so radically turned against the juicers. To keep cheating when there was so much to lose: money, health, legacy.
None of that deterred Rodriguez, if we are to believe the New Times. It's a sad tale of greed and fear, one that cannot end well. Our guess? The arc of Rodriguez's career is already crashed and burned. If so, he'll be remembered by a damning footnote: king of the cheaters.
MCT Information Services