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If Alex Rodriguez cheated, it was just to help the Yankees win

Jan 29, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT

Alex Rodriguez AP

Maybe it’s just me, but I see a great deal of irony in the idea that Alex Rodriguez, years after all of the allegations and admissions, with hundreds of millions of dollars already earned, was still trying to cheat in 2012.

What, pray tell,  did Rodriguez have to gain by cheating, nine years after he said he stopped. Fame? I imagine he already had more than he’d like. Money? He does have $30 million possibly coming to him if he sets home run records. That’s essentially equal to one year’s extra salary for a guy who has already taken home about $300 million. The admiration of an adoring American populace? Fat chance.

I’m not writing to defend Alex Rodriguez. I abhor the act of cheating. I understand it, though. I’d be very tempted to do it myself if millions of dollars were at stake, as would so many others who are quick to condemn. For that reason, I’m pretty rational about the cheaters themselves.

But if we believe A-Rod’s first story, he never cheated until after he got his huge, $252 million contract from the Rangers. I don’t necessarily buy that, especially in light of today’s news, but obviously, he didn’t stop once he got his cash, as someone who was simply in it for the money might have done.

So, what is this all about, if not money? In my opinion, it’s about winning. Alex Rodriguez, for whatever faults he may have, has always desperately wanted to win. Sometimes it’s caused him to try too hard. I’m mostly referring to some postseason struggles in saying that, but it could also be applied to injecting powerful and potentially harmful substances into his body. A-Rod wants to win. And he wants to be liked, by teammates and fans both, which is another obvious product of winning.

Here we were in 2010, 2011, 2012. Rodriguez is signed through 2017. Nothing he did those seasons was going to affect his next contract. He’s making $30 million per year. He’s already admitted to steroid use early in his career, which would seem to make it imperative that he never again be caught with such substances if he wanted any chance of getting into the Hall of Fame when the time came.

And, yet, he put it all into jeopardy, according to today’s account in the Miami New Times.

In my eyes, whatever Rodriguez personally had to gain by using steroids was dwarfed by what he could lose by continuing to cheat. The potential voiding of his contract. Alienating the fans who had forgiven him. Endorsements. The rain of boos in every stadium he plays in going forward. What is that against an extra year’s salary?

Maybe I don’t know. I’m not a professional athlete, much less one of the greatest to ever play the game. I don’t have any real insight into what’s going on in Rodriguez’s head. In my head, it’s simply mind-blowing that Rodriguez would continue to cheat after everything that’s happened. That’s the main reason I have some doubts about today’s news; not the report itself but that Dr. Bosch was treating the actual Rodriguez and not some A-Rod he made up on paper.

Because this Rodriguez seemed to have so very much more to lose than to gain by cheating. If he did it anyway, wasn’t it all in the name of making the Yankees better? More wins, more championships, more love. I don’t see what else it could have been about.

  1. erikh24 - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    “I don’t see what else it could have been about”?
    EGO, Matt; it’s about ego

    • droogleeddie - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      Don’t forget, A-Rod still has millions in potential earning based on performance milestones. This could be about ego, but there is still plenty of dollar left to be made…

    • captainwisdom8888 - Jan 29, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      I hope the yankees have to pay him every penny. keep shoveling it away for mediocrity ny!

  2. randygnyc - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Arod cheated because he didn’t think he’d get caught. Ultimately, his motivations were;
    1) initially earning his $252 million contract
    2) trying to “earn” the title of “the best baseball player to ever live”

    • jdouble777 - Jan 29, 2013 at 10:08 PM


      The mentions of Rodriguez begin in 2009 and continue all the way through last season. Take a page in another notebook, which is labeled “2012” and looks to have been written last spring. Under the heading “A-Rod/Cacique,” Bosch writes, “He is paid through April 30th. He will owe May 1 $4,000… I need to see him between April 13-19, deliver troches, pink cream, and… May meds. Has three weeks of Sub-Q (as of April).”

  3. phillyphan93 - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Still a cheater! Cant be considered for the Hall.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    That is what attracted the Yankees to him in the first place.

    If there is a way to get away with cheating (or playing within the rules while at the same time going overboard in exploiting inequities in the system) the Yankees will be the first team to do it.

    Without a doubt. Winning is more important than fair play.

    And Alex Rodriguez has always exemplified that not just in his outright cheating but in his bush league antics during games.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      BTW, I don’t care about the down votes.

      It is true. Players and teams that are always looking for a “competitive edge” 9 times out of 10 eventually step over the line that divides “competitive edge” with “outright cheating”.

    • vallewho - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:53 PM


  5. Mark Armour - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    I think ARod cheated in order to perform better. There are many reasons that make people wish to perform better besides money. Fame, ego, feelings of self-worth, wanting to be a star. I suppose winning, too, though even that is largely about the fame and legacy that would better come to ARod if he won.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      Like everyone is saying here, perhaps it was mostly or all about ego. I’m open to being wrong about this one. I don’t think I’ll ever completely comprehend it either way.

      • ezthinking - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        I don’t think you’re alone. Not sure ARod could explain it either.

    • Dan the Mets Fan - Jan 29, 2013 at 10:17 PM

      I would imagine there would be a lot of pressure to earn that $30 million. It’s why I thought he was crazy to sign the contract in the first place. How badly should a guy with $500 million bucks really want to get paid $30 million a year to be a mediocre DH? And into his early 40s too. To avoid getting booed every home game, you might feel motivated to take drugs. Especially if they also helped you get the positive reward of good baseball play and feeling less tired from injuries. I think sometimes we overanalyze people’s motivations… seems to me it is probably that simple. You would rather be a better player who does not get booed and does not feel tired from being a 40-year-old trying to play a young man’s game.

  6. ezwriter69 - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Calcaterra explains in space directly above you that the Yankees CAN’T void the contract for PED use.. you two need to get your story straight… one of you is absolutely flat wrong, either you are ignorant of the Joint Drug Agreement or Calc is making stuff up again.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      I guess I should have written the “threat” of voiding his contract. I think the chances of it actually happening are incredibly slim.

    • josebigcock - Jan 29, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      The fact of the matter is that if Aroid is convicted of this offense, he walks away with something like $400 million of our money as fans, and if he is not convicted of any offense, he walks away with $300 million of it?

      If there were ever a case of unjust enrichment, this would be it… But, in the case of the New York Spankmees and their fan base, I couldn’t be happier with their fate… Whining Jerks, every one of them!!

      As a LONG suffering Pittsburgh Pirate fan (20 years of losing and counting!!), I would certainly have no rachmanus for them if they end up having to pay Aroid’s entire contract out! Heck, if they were to lose every game for the next hundred years, I would have no problem with that either…

      That franchise is such a lowly exhibit of the power of money in the world today, and, frankly, they deserve any and all punishment coming their way…

      I say to baseball that they should not only expel Aroid from the game, but should force the Yankees to honor their obligation to him by keeping a place open for him on their 40 man roster, to show cheaters everywhere how NOT to act… I realize that this is but a dream, though…

      A classy player and a classy organization, a match made in hell!!

      • albertmn - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:11 AM

        With your login name, you are trying to rip anyone else as “classy”? I can’t stand Arod, but your hypocrisy is hilarious!

  7. tfbuckfutter - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Oh….and to answer your question about what he had to gain….

    The question is actually what he had to MAINTAIN.

    He gained nothing additional from continuing to cheat. However he had to MAINTAIN his performance. Not for money, but for appearances.

    If he goes off the juice he’s used his entire career and is suddenly only an above-average player, what does that say?

    • 18thstreet - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      I think, much like Manny Ramirez, the question is whether he was ever NOT using PEDs.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:25 PM

        Even as a Red Sox fan I admit that is a very valid point.

  8. zipsports - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    You make some fantastic points, but I will respectfully disagree. I think the cheating was motivated for personal numbers. I remember hearing from even a young age that numbers were important to him and there were milestones that he wanted to achieve. Obviously, winning is part of the “numbers” used when defining greatness. A-Rod just always seemed to me that if he ended up as the all-time homerun king, that would matter more than anything else.

  9. midjerseyfatcat - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    This situation reminds me of the Three Stooges. A-Rod is acting like Curly when he had to have cheese or go into a coma. He kept saying “Moe Larry cheese” over and over again. Doesn’t that remind you of A-Rod and his need for HGH??

  10. buffalomafia - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Now he is like Hulk Hogan no more roids now his body breaks down!

    How is Barry Bonds doing anyway?

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      It’s continuing to use that is destroying his his body.

      Same thing happened to Mo Vaughn and Nomar Garciaparra.

      And I’m sure many others, but those are the most steroid-related-injury-prone stars that stand out to me at the moment.

  11. cintiphil - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Your reasoning is about as convoluted as I have heard. he was cheating to maintain the title of the best player in the history of baseball. A cheat is a cheat is a cheat. Get over it, Alex was not the player everyone thought he was, and he never will be now. the Yanks just got taken for 1/4 of a Bil. he should be kept out of the Hall with Mac and Bonds.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      So, he was cheating to play well and be the best player ever and thus ripped off the Yankees. And my reasoning is convoluted?

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        To be fair, he would have cheated and gotten paid if not by the Yankees then by some other team.

        The Yankees got screwed because now, due to his cheating, his body is breaking down.

        So you’re both kind of right. A-Rod cheated, and would have cheated no matter what because his desire wasn’t to win ball games it was to be the best player ever. The Yankees signed him because of the belief his cheating would help them win enough games to justify his salary.

        In the end both blew it.

      • cintiphil - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:42 PM

        Who said he was the best player ever? He just wanted to be. Now Albert thinks he has the title, I guess.

  12. tfbuckfutter - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    You ever play Words with Friends with A-Rod?

    The dude is incredible at it. Swears he doesn’t use the cheat app too.

    I didn’t even know there are tons of words that start with QZJ.

  13. TIF - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    I think there is another reason why A-Rod continued to take PEDs: he couldn’t stand not to. A-Rod has always defined his career by his offensive numbers, and, based on his numbers, he was considered “one of the best to ever play the game.” Having felt the rush of being at the top of the mountain, I think A-Rod would do anything to remain there. As the article points out, there are plenty of logical reasons to stop using PEDs once he had his money and World Series title, but the desire to be “the best” is a powerful addiction.

    • cintiphil - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      Exactly right. You said it better than I did. Congrats!

  14. lionsplayoffs - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Because he’s an attention ho, and juice is the only way he can survive above AA baseball.

  15. yankeepunk3000 - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    The title of your article made me laugh, this is a joke right? No one knows why he cheated, but it doesn’t matter. The point to defend him because YOU think he wanted to help the Yanks? You know how he can help the team, walk away and leave the 114 million left on the table, Pshh what a putts. You and him

  16. delusionalcardsfan - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:52 PM


  17. fissels - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Doesn’t matter to me why he cheated he did and continues to. Only Yankee fans will try to rationalize.

  18. jimeejohnson - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    I think he’s lying.

  19. jaybird22seven - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    I wonder how many other cheaters there are on the Yankees?

    • vallewho - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      and which your team?

  20. drewzducks - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    In the title of this article, Alex Rodriguez could easily be replaced by Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, David Justice, Jose Canseco, Jason Grimsley, Mike Stanton, Kevin Brown, Dan Naulty…

  21. manhandler1 - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Did you just volunteer to be his excuse man, Pouliot? Are you self appointed, or what could make you come up with that stuff? Why would anyone want to offer up any kind of reason other than because it’s all about him, or because it’s all about him, or because it’s all about him. This repugnant creep reeks of arrogance. All you have to do is watch him come out and stand by the plate and it’s obvious he just thinks he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you’re gonna think up reasons for bad behavior, please pick someone who is at least somewhat worthy.

  22. theskinsman - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    say it ain’t so,A-fraud.

  23. halohonk - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    .Angels got rid of their juicers long ago. Unfortunately it was after their series win. Halos are clean now and poised to win it all fair and square. Just heard that Texas Nelson Cruz was linked to the Arod mess n come to think about it is it a coincedence that one of my favorites ex Ranger Napoli is having hip issues like Arod? Man i hope im not jumping to conclusions. Im sick of this ped stuff. Bring back the 70’s and 80’s man Brett, Reggie, Nolan Ryan, Carrew, Big Red Machine now that was baseball!

    • ezthinking - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      The coke addicts?

  24. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    I am beginning to think Gio and Cruz just paid the doctor to keep ARod’s name on the books. You know, in case the whole thing blew up, so ARod would attract all the attention and they could just skip along under the radar.

    If so, well played gentlemen.

  25. byjiminy - Jan 29, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    I think it’s a simple story of a starry-eyed boy who only ever wanted one thing in life, and it was almost in reach, so he went for it — a boy with a dream much like many other boys — to grow up and someday be just like his idol, his hero, the greatest baseball player who ever lived, Barry Bonds.

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