By Chris Ruddick – MLB Editor, The Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – How do you know baseball is right around the corner? Because there seems to be a new Alex Rodriguez story every day.
It’s amazing we survived a whole season without him.
But, yes, once we get that little football game out the way in Arizona, the sports world will start to turn its attention toward spring training.
At least that’s the hope of new commissioner Rob Manfred.
And there won’t be a bigger story line anywhere than the return of A-Rod from his one-year performance-enhancing drug ban. His first day in camp is sure to be grab-the-popcorn entertaining, as he’s expected to issue a public mea culpa to not only the New York Yankees organization, but baseball fans around the world.
That is, if the Yankees even let him in the building. They’ve supposedly told him not to bother showing up until position players are required to report on Feb. 25.
Can’t you just picture Rodriguez strolling into the locker room without a care in the world, plopping his stuff down in front of Derek Jeter’s old locker and asking, “Hey, is this one empty?”
He is so oblivious to everything around him that he wouldn’t even think twice about it. Just like him getting hitting tips from of all people, Barry Bonds.
I actually thought it was an Onion headline when I saw that one. No way could that have been real.
Steroids or not, Bonds is probably the best hitter who a lot of us will see in our lifetime. Getting tips from him is probably not the worst thing a player could do.
But if you are Alex Rodriguez, maybe, just maybe you might want to seek someone else out.
There are also reports the Yankees are looking to void his marketing deal that will pay Rodriguez a certain amount of money for each upcoming milestone he reaches, like home run No. 660, which would tie him with Willie Mays, or No. 714, which would match Babe Ruth, and so on and so forth.
The Yanks will argue that Rodriguez is now tainted with the stench of PEDs and the marketing deal should be null and void. The Major League Baseball Players Association has already stated it would back Rodriguez, and rightfully so.
The Yankees should not be let off the hook here. They gave him this ridiculous deal, they should own up to it.
This whole situation is going to be ugly, especially because the Yankees already have a new third baseman in Chase Headley. Rodriguez, though, still thinks it’s his job to lose.
Look, if the Yankees don’t want him around, they should work out some sort of buyout and move on. You almost get the sense this is playing out like a Seinfeld episode that saw George show up to work every day despite the fact that his employers wanted nothing to do with him and tried to make his life miserable every chance they could.
Now back to the Big Game in Arizona, which as a lifelong fan of the New York Jets is going to be extremely painful to watch considering both head coaches formerly led Gang Green, albeit for just one glorious day in Bill Belichick’s case.
TSN’s own Lyle Fitzsimmons, another long suffering fan of the NYJ, gave a little background on that topic here: http://tinyurl.com/p5kuhy4.
Regardless, like the rest of America, I am a sheep and will be tuned in on Sunday.
Seattle is just impossible to root for. Richard Sherman doesn’t shut up and Marshawn Lynch has become the most unlikable player in football.
And believe me, that is saying an awful lot.
Then there’s the cheating New England Patriots. Part of me would like to see the Patriots win, Tom Brady get the MVP and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have to hand both him and Belichick a trophy.
There is no more fitting ending to this, perhaps the worst season in NFL history, than Goodell, Belichick and Brady giggling together at the end of the Super Bowl.
But, there is nothing inside of me that will allow me to root for the New England Patriots and for that to happen.
Give me Seattle, 24-16.
Then once that’s over, get ready for all A-Rod, all the time.