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updated: 8/3/2013 6:46 PM

Selig needs to show his hand

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  • New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez autographs a ticket stub for a fan before the start of a Class AA baseball game with the Trenton Thunder against the Reading Phillies, Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, in Trenton, N.J.

      New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez autographs a ticket stub for a fan before the start of a Class AA baseball game with the Trenton Thunder against the Reading Phillies, Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, in Trenton, N.J.
    Associated Press

  • New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez gestures to the fans as he crosses home plate after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of a Class AA baseball game with the Trenton Thunder against the Reading Phillies, Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, in Trenton, N.J. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

      New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez gestures to the fans as he crosses home plate after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of a Class AA baseball game with the Trenton Thunder against the Reading Phillies, Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, in Trenton, N.J. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

 
 

Trenton, New Jersey. That's where it happens.

That's where the final breaths of Alex Rodriguez's professional baseball career, probably, are being gasped.

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He homered there in his rehab stint on Friday; a majestic no-doubter over the left-field stands that brought the fans to their feet.

But watch the video if you can. The reaction was more than 50 percent boos.

That sound speaks to the messy, depressing state of our relationship with some of the game's greats.

A talent like A-Rod's has always been awesome, but no one knows how long that talent has been amplified by the best substances he could find. There were rumors about him as far back as high school.

He has several times been confirmed as a fraud.

Even though he was booed uniformly at the plate in every one of his at-bats, by a home Yankees affiliate crowd, people couldn't fight a natural human reaction to his power display.

Homers are pretty.

(Side note: that's a quaint little ballpark I know quite well. The Delaware river over the left field wall makes it feel a bit like PNC in Pittsburgh. And the city has a rich baseball tradition; Willie Mays hit .353 there for the Trenton Giants in 1950. My dad saw him play.)

Soon we will know the length of Rodriguez's suspension or banishment from the game. It could be for life. It could be for a season or two, which might effectively end his career anyway.

Bud Selig is making up the rules as he goes along, in efforts to get this guy out of the game. And as much as I've vehemently disliked A-Rod, as much as I want cheaters punished, I need to see what Selig has on him.

Did he interfere with the investigation to the point of trying to buy evidence from his supplier? Did he actively obstruct MLB in its efforts to police the game?

If that proof is clear and strong enough, then get him gone. But it better be.

The benefit to the Yankees of ridding themselves of the $86 million left on his deal (after 2013) is enormous. It would help get them under the luxury tax threshold, aiding the franchise greatly and allowing for gluttonous re-investment.

The Orioles' Buck Showalter knows what that could mean.

"They're the ones who signed him to that contract," Showalter told USA Today. "If they can reset, they can spend again, and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York."

Even with Showalter's obvious bias in wanting to keep players like his young catcher, he's right.

It's time for Selig to show his hand, and it had best be a good one.

Back in the day:

When I was an intern working on This Week In Baseball in the summer of 1988, I remember my favorite task.

The show was doing a segment on the best defensive plays of the season.

"Hey kid, go get me every great catch by an outfielder so far this year."

And off I went, to the massive library with every tape of every game, looking up the "starred" catches in the index, and cueing them up for a producer to watch.

The Angels' Devon White had that season's best.

Another Angel topped him Friday. You see J.B. Shuck make that play in left field yet?

Stop what you're doing and go watch it now. The rest of this column will wait.

That was not just a typical home run steal. It was the kind of play many of us dreamed of making on the Little League fields. I, in fact, used to pretend to make that exact play while falling on my living room couch.

I did that as a child; not recently.

But J.B. Shuck made me want to do it again.

• Matt Spiegel co-hosts "The McNeil & Spiegel Show" 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WSCR 670-AM. Follow him on Twitter @mattspiegel670

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