A Dark Cloud
On Monday afternoon, Major league baseball handed out several suspensions to players who were involved in the “Biogensis” case. 12 players were suspended for 50 games each ,which is a standard MLB penalty for a first offense by major league baseball for taking performance-enhancing drugs.Notable players such as Nelson Cruz (Texas Rangers), Jhonny Peralta (Detroit Tigers), Jordany Valdespin (New York Mets), Francisco Cervelli (New York Yankees), and Everth Cabrera (San Diego Padres) have accepted their 50 game suspensions. As we all know, the big wild card of this entire story would be the punishment Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez would face. Around the three o’clock hour, A-Rod was told he would be suspended for the rest of this season, and all of the 2014 season, a total of 211 games. If this suspension holds up, it will be the longest suspension ever handed out by MLB. At the moment, A-Rod is currently appealing the suspension and he made his anticipated and controversial 2013 début in Chicago in front of 30,000 fans who welcomed the former MVP to a chorus of boos. Rodriguez went 1 for 4 with a single in an 8-1 loss.
It’s really hard to point out any positives in this situation, but if there’s one bright light A-Rod did bring in his first game back from off-season hip surgery, it was boosting the ratings for the YES channel (Yankees Entertainment Sportsnetwork). This past Tuesday, (the day after Rodriguez’s return), YES said that the game had a 4.34 rating and averaged about 393,000 viewers. The previous high before that was a 4.16 rating during a 2-1 loss to the Mets on May 27. The most viewers on Monday’s game were around the time of his first at-bat, which was around 8:30-8:45, which drew an 8.22 rating and about 756,000 viewers. The Yankees are averaging a 2.53 rating with 231,000 viewers on YES this season. That is a 35% drop in viewership opposed to the 3.96 and the 354,000 they were averaging around this time last season. But that provides little solace to the team or the fans.
That fact that Rodriguez is appealing his suspension, the appeal may keep him on the field for the rest of the season, the question now is how much does he have left in the tank? Hip surgery took A-Rod out for 4 months. How much can we expect for a 38-year-old third basemen who is clearly no longer a super star in the league? Last time he was playing consistently on the field, he went 3 for 25 batting .120 in the 2012 playoffs that ultimately lead to him being benched by manager Joe Girardi. Remember he was 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handers in that series. The fact is, the Yankees seem to be drowning. They are in fourth place and haven’t had anyone at third base be consistent for them all year long. From here on out, all Rodriguez can do is play and help the Yanks get into the playoffs. The dreams of seeing him hit 800 home runs and break Barry Bonds’ record are now an afterthought. He will be known as the most successful player ever to be suspended. We feel most sorry for the kids who used to look up to him.
Sports Notes: (Football) Both the Jets and Giants kick off the pre-season this week. (Baseball) Yankees vs. Tigers on Friday, could mark Alex Rodriguez’s first home game of the year. (Basketball) Tuesday evening, the NBA released their 2013-14 schedule.