Unconfirmed reports (read: I just made this up) tell YFSF that Theo Epstein was heard this afternoon thanking the baseball gods over and over again for the MLBPA, Larry Lucchino and their mutually assured destruction of the 2004 A-Rod deal with Boston.
A-Rod giveth, and A-Rod taketh away.
The Yankees already were about to begin a season steeped in pressure because: 1) They didn't make the playoffs last year. 2) They spent nearly half a billion dollars this offseason to make sure that never happens again. 3) They are moving into a new stadium. Now Rodriguez has again had the messy details of his life destructively suffocate an entire organization. He is the bad gift that keeps on giving.
"It is a PR nightmare, but nothing we can do anything about," one Yankees official said. …
There will be a defense mounted. One of his friends, for example, said today that Rodriguez had not failed a test at either the 2006 World Baseball Classic, which used Olympic-level testing, or since Major League Baseball instituted random testing and suspensions for failing tests in 2004.
It remains unclear why the union did not have the 2003 tests destroyed once the survey was completed. It had the right to do so under the original testing agreement with Major League Baseball. The union is restricted by court order from commenting on why the tests were not destroyed.
Rodriguez, too, may be pondering why those tests weren’t destroyed.
A friend close to A-Rod, who is due to report to Yankee spring training in Tampa on Feb. 18 and is currently staying in Miami, told the Daily News Saturday that Rodiguiez "has turned his phone off. This is a mess. I'm not sure how he's going to take this. He's never had to deal with anything like this before."
Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman had very little to say about the report, having learned of it less than an hour before being reached by the Daily News.
"At this stage, we have no comment," Cashman said.
Adam Kilgore in the Globe didn't take long to break out the photo comparisons:
Despite his size (compare this A-Rod and this A-Rod) and accomplishments, Rodriguez had never been widely suspected as a steroid user, even after Jose Canseco’s accusation. In 2006, The New York Times used as the cover for its baseball preview section a painting of Rodriguez blasting a home run into a light tower whose bulbs spelled “755.” The headline to the accompanying article was “Aaron’s Ultimate Challenger May Be a Natural After All.”
The news could not only affect the Yankees, but also baseball as a whole. Attendance was bound to plummet, anyway, this season because of the nation’s economic woes. There are 104 names on that previously anonymous list of players who tested positive in 2003. Who else could be on it, and what will happen if those names enter the public eye?
At this point, I have to assume that A-Rod has passed numerous drug tests and has been clean, but this story will still be a P.R. disaster because of a subsequent development in 2004. After A-Rod’s failed test as a member of the Rangers in 2003, he may have been warned in 2004 when, as a Yankee, his name popped up on the testing rolls again. Reportedly, A-Rod is the unnamed player whom Gene Orza, COO of the players union, was accused of tipping off to an impending drug test in 2004.
How cool would it be to have a full 12-month period, or longer, where A-Rod doesn’t have “another thing” to deal with?
Sports Illustrated is reporting what many of us in Red Sox Nation have suspected for quite a while: A-Rod tested positive for steroids. …