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August 24, 2013

Treat A-Rod like a player, not a gladiator

(Continued)

When it comes to A-Rod, the artist has done a pretty good job of disgrace all by himself.

Most of the sports public’s opprobrium stems from Rodriguez’s use through the years of performance-enhancing drugs, sincerely lying about it, then just as sincerely confessing that he had made a mistake and will never, ever do it again … until the next time he is caught (to use the current patois) “juicing.”

Rodriguez’s employer is the New York Yankees, who still owe him $114 million on a 10-year, $275 million contract. Major League Baseball, which says it has an abundance of evidence that A-Rod was obtaining illegal performance-enhancing drugs from a Coral Gables, Fla., “anti-aging clinic,” recently suspended him for 211 games, by far the harshest penalty of the steroid era.

Under the basic agreement between Major League Baseball and its players union, A-Rod has appealed his suspension and is allowed to play until an arbiter decides whether the penalty is fair. This appeared to rankle Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster the other night.

Mr. Dempster has what’s known as excellent control. That means when he throws a baseball, he generally knows within a margin of an inch or two where it’s going to wind up. His first pitch to A-Rod almost hit him in the knees and sailed behind the hitter. The second and third pitches were inside, then on a 3-balls-and-no-strikes count, Dempster’s fastball smashed into Rodriguez’s ribs.

The umpire issued a warning that the next batter hit with a pitch would result in the pitcher and his manager being removed from the game. This prevented Yankees pitchers from retaliating by hitting a Red Sox hitter and rightfully infuriated New York manager Joe Girardi, who was thrown out of the game for arguing strenuously with the ump.

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