Alex Rodriguez was the talk of the baseball world Wednesday, storming out of his own arbitration hearing, appearing on Mike Francesa's show to proclaim his innocence against PED charges, and simultaneously pointing out real injustices in MLB's attempt to suspend him while also coming off as incredibly disingenuous.
You won't find many gloomier weeks of headlines for any sport than what baseball's getting right now. Ryan Braun has been compared to a cockroach. Alex Rodriguez is "the Whitey Bulger of baseball." We're drowning in PED rumors, PED news, and especially PED outrage.
The latest sordid report has A-Rod and the Yankees sniping back and forth at each other over a quad injury that may or may not exist. The Yankees are blocking him from playing, says Rodriguez and his multiple emissaries. A-Rod is violating the collective bargaining agreement by asking a doctor for a second opinion without team consent, says Yankees management. Meanwhile, another report speculated that Rodriguez could be facing a lifetime ban for PED possession and various bad behavior related to said possession, despite having zero prior suspensions on his record.
Major League Baseball suspended Ryan Braun for the rest of the 2013 season, crossing the league's most wanted PED user off its target list and serving notice to other players implicated in the ongoing Biogenesis case that more suspensions are likely coming soon.
Braun's 65-game suspension closes the book on a pursuit that took nearly two years for MLB to complete. (Listen to today's podcast with ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick and FanGraphs writer/former attorney Wendy Thurm for more insight on the case.) Braun underwent a drug test in the fall of 2011 and tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. Facing a 50-game suspension for that offense, Braun appealed the case and won. Arbitrator Shyam Das overturned the would-be suspension, after Braun and his attorneys argued the collection of his urine samples didn't follow protocol. That ruling set off a chain reaction that took until Monday to resolve.
In case you were out just driving, man, just hitting the open road, here's what you missed in sports Tuesday.
The Houston Rockets tied the NBA record for 3-pointers but were denied the record outright after a flurry of ejections marred the end of their 140-109 win over the Golden State Warriors. Houston point guard Jeremy Lin, who led the way for the Rockets with 28 points and nine assists, said after the game, "It was total Linsanity out there, huh?" before pausing dramatically for effect. "I mean, I've seen some things in my day, but that was totally Linsane." Lin then paused again, before admitting, "Guys, I have a lot of T-shirts to move, so if you could remind people of Linsanity, that would be really great. My cousin is all like, 'Get these boxes out of my garage,' and I'm like, 'Whatever, Tom. You said I could leave them in there as long as I needed,' and he's all like, 'Yeah, but I thought they'd be gone in a week,' and I was all like, 'Yeah, me, too.'"
A Miami New Times article reports that six MLB players purchased a variety of drugs from Miami-based antiaging clinic Biogenesis, marking the latest jolt for a sport that's gone from willful compliance to zealotry when it comes to PED suspicions.
The article lists Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, and Yasmani Grandal among the players who allegedly bought performance-enhancing drugs from the clinic and its former proprietor, Anthony Bosch. These allegations are the result of a three-month investigation by the Miami New Times, where the focal point of the evidence is a spreadsheet kept by Bosch, said to contain a list of his clients, and a stack of notebooks found by Juan Garcia. The article notes that Garcia was a former client of Bosch's who invested in the clinic. Rodriguez admitted in a 2009 press conference that he'd used PEDs years earlier while playing with the Texas Rangers, at a time when said substances weren't specifically outlawed by Major League Baseball. Cabrera, Colon, and Grandal were all suspended last year for violating MLB's drug policy. We'll get to their cases later.
The other two active major leaguers named in the article, Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz, had never been publicly linked to performance-enhancing drugs before publication of the New Times piece. The mention of Gonzalez, in particular, is jarring, given the screaming lack of evidence he did anything wrong and the guilt by association he's now forced to endure.
Major League Baseball suspended Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera for 50 games after he tested positive for excessive levels of testosterone, wiping out the rest of his season and dealing a blow to San Francisco's playoff hopes.
The notion that Cabrera could have a major impact on a pennant race would have seemed ludicrous as recently as two years ago. At that point in his career, Cabrera had reached double-digit home runs in a season just once. Hell, he'd slugged .400 or better just once. He was a popgun hitter who provided moderate value when his bloops and grounders would find holes, next to zero value when they didn't.