Alex Rodriguez's appeal and the 2013 playoffs

Stephen Dunn

I hope the next Biogenesis article I read will be in Comic Sans. Maybe with an autoplaying video in there, or a banner ad that yells "Congratulations!" at me. That's when the story would take one final step back into performance art. That's the only thing that would help right now. Because just one more wafer-thin article could kill us all.

The silver lining about the Biogenesis suspensions was that once they were handed down, the story was likely to go away, for the most part. There would be updates and another round of stories when people started returning from suspensions, but that was it. That was the only thing that kept me going. Phew. We're through the worst, everyone.

Then I read this:

Michael Weiner says A-Rod's appeal verdict will not come until November or December.

oh no no no no no

I don't begrudge MLB for going after Alex Rodriguez for, as they put it, engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation. That's some next-level stuff. It's one thing to pee fluorescent Muscle Milk. It's another to buy up documents and play Enron with them. That transcends the normal violations and heads into Pete Rose territory.

But I would have settled. Oh, how I would have settled. Would have talked tough and let him off easy if he pushed back. There's no chance I would have gone for the knockout punch, not with the appeal coming after the season.

Because picture this:

Bottom of the ninth. A-Rod up, runner on first. Yankees down by one. The pitch comes in, and he takes it the other way, over the short porch in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees win the World Series. His teammates swarm the plate. Jason Grilli walks off the mound, having fought his way back to the major leagues only to have his entire legacy turn into Mitch Williams squared. Also, they were playing the Pirates. A-Rod's home run sinks the Pirates in the seventh game of the World Series.

There would be riots. Well, I'd set my apartment on fire, at least, and see where the night took me. Yankees fans would go nuts, of course, but even the most stereotypical Yankees fan would have a quiet moment of introspection, in which they would say, oh man, that kind of sucks. That kind of sucks. That really sucks. Oh, no, I feel dirty, so dirty. A-Rod ruined what would have been the best baseball story of the decade, and I can't even pretend to be happy.

Okay, that's the dramatic version. But it doesn't have to be Game 7. It can be Game 1 through 6. It can be the ALCS or the ALDS. It can be the Wild Card Game. And it doesn't have to be a ninth-inning home run. It can be a first-inning double, or an eighth-inning sac fly. Nor does it have to be the Pirates. Could be the A's, Tigers, or Rays. The Rangers, Royals, Indians, or even Red Sox. Something like that would devastate any team.

It would be the Year of the Alex Rodriguez-Ruined Playoffs. And there would be stories about it to read for the rest of our lives. Not just from hacks like me, either. There would be a Pulitzer-winning novel in 2056 that revolved around this year's playoffs because they would symbolize America or some crap. Every time the highlight would be shown, baseball would seem just a little bit worse. Not worth the extra suspension that comes with standing your ground, MLB. Not worth it.

There are two problems with my doomsday scenario that you've already picked up on. First is that the Yankees aren't guaranteed to make the playoffs. They're behind the Royals right now, and have about a five-percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Baseball Prospectus.

But you might remember that the Yankees are a bunch of deceptive liars. They were supposed to be bad. They haven't been that bad. They're over .500 and better than the Nationals and Angels, who were supposed to be playoff locks. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and A-Rod have each missed the majority of the season, if not all of it. The actual Lyle Overbay is fourth on the team in plate appearances, and the actual Vernon Wells is fifth. Someone named David Adams has started more games at third than anyone else, and he's hitting .198. CC Sabathia is having a bad season. CC Sabathia.

The Yankees look like a team that's going to miss the playoffs, alright. The third-best OPS on the team? Overbay. He's hitting .251/.301/.425.

Nope. Still not buying it. Alfonso Soriano is going to whatever, and Derek Jeter is going to I dunno, and somehow the Yankees are going to be in that play-in game. I don't believe in the baseball gods, but I'm scared of them. When it doesn't happen, I'll stop worrying. Until then, I'm going to assume that the Yankees will always get some sort of weird-but-good break.

The second problem with my doomsday scenario is that it requires Alex Rodriguez to get a big hit. I'll admit, that had me stumped for a while. But what if he grounds into a force-out, and then barrels into the catcher, who drops the ball to give the Yankees the World Series? That could work. That might be even more distasteful. More than that, though, hits can come on broken bats, you know. And baseball sure does love to troll us.

Baseball Prospectus puts the adjusted odds of the Yankees winning the World Series at .2 percent -- two out of every 1,000. But the fear of those minuscule odds would have driven me into compromise. The upside is that Alex Rodriguez is properly punished. The downside is all of that up there. What if Rodriguez affects the pennant race? What if he gets a memorable hit? It would be weaponized annoying. And we'd have to sit through the replays for decades. I would have jumped at the deal. I am a cowardly, superstitious man. But I would have worked something out that didn't get appealed and kept him out of the playoffs.

Now if he does all that to the Dodgers, mind you ...

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