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updated: 8/4/2013 6:48 PM

A-Rod brings baseball's circus to Chicago

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  • Third baseman Alex Rodriguez is expected to be in the lineup Monday night when the Yankees visit U.S. Cellular Field.

      Third baseman Alex Rodriguez is expected to be in the lineup Monday night when the Yankees visit U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

The Bronx Zoo becomes the South Side Circus on Monday night with the Yankees in town for a three-game series against the White Sox.

USA Today reported that Alex Rodriguez will be in the Yanks' lineup, as well as in the main ring. The paper's website said that baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is expected to suspend A-Rod on Monday in the Biogenesis drug case and A-Rod will be eligible to play after filing an appeal.

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Strike up the band. Tune up the unicycles. Send in the clowns. Prepare the props. Most of all pin a pink rose on the elephant in the room.

My goodness, is this ever going to be fun. If Barnum Bill Veeck still owned the Sox he would offer free admission to any fan with a valid prescription for human growth hormones.

Oh for the days when baseball had a sense of humor.

Rodriguez's insistence that he's going to play for the Yankees in Comiskey Park made this day juicy -- no pun intended. Actually, it could be juicier only if disgraced New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner announced he would hold a political fundraiser on the field after the game.

What's the matter with those people these days? Can't anybody in the Big Apple resist eating from forbidden fruit?

An A-Rod appearance should be compelling enough to attract a rare crowd, especially of the media variety, to 35th and Shields.

The Sox thought they had problems with a losing streak extended to 10 games by Sunday's extra-innings loss at Detroit. They're 29 games under .500 and 24 games behind the first-place Tigers, yet the Yankees might be the more dysfunctional team in the building Monday night.

This A-Rod/Biogenesis story is so compelling that most of the Sunday morning news programs touched on it after addressing more trivial matters like the latest terrorist threat, shuttering of U.S. embassies and worldwide travel alert.

Rodriguez is primary among baseball's dozen or so most recently accused cheaters. His name obscures even a former MVP like Ryan Braun's, and his punishment will make Braun's 65 games seem like a holiday weekend.

USA Today reported that A-Rod will be suspended for 215 games stretching through the entire 2014 season. A previously speculated lifetime ban now reportedly will not be assessed.

Selig is the sheriff on a high horse in this case. He has evolved from the commissioner of steroids into a comic-book superhero riding in to save Planet Baseball from PEDs.

As villains go, A-Rod is a worthy adversary. He is a pro wrestler throwing up his hands as if he weren't the guy who planted another guy's face into the turnbuckle.

Who, me? A PEDs user? For a second time? Or is it a third time? Me? You have to be kidding, right? Don't you know who I am? Don't you know I'm the fabled A-Rod?

At stake now is the estimated $100 million remaining on Rodriguez's existing contract with the Yankees. A suspension through next season would leave him with 10s of millions less of it, and a lifetime ban would leave him with none of it.

Selig's anticipated ruling and Rodriguez's anticipated appeal will prolong the embarrassing Biogenesis issue for baseball but set up quite an entertaining scene here Monday night.

Rodriguez wants to play. Baseball doesn't want him to play. Heck, despite being in a playoff race not even the Yankees want him to play.

If the USA Today report is accurate, A-Rod will be in Plan B-Rod mode at third base thanks to the terms of baseball's collective-bargaining agreement.

This South Side circus might need four or five rings instead of just three.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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