This happened last night. Mere hours after Major League Baseball officially handed down their 211 game suspension for Alex Rodriguez, among 12 total suspenesions the league mited out yesterday, Alex Rodriguez made his season debut.

The only player among the Biogenesis Dozen to appeal, A-Rod is entitled to continue playing until his appeal is heard. And so play he shall, playing third base for the Yankees – hoping to power their pitiful offense to a shock playoff berth. Which, should this unlikely event actually happen, would only deepen the crisis currently facing baseball.

The choice of 211 games is an odd coincidence for me, as it equals the number of Alex Rodriguez think pieces I’ve left unread in my browser. The cartoonishly over the top articles decrying Alex Rodriguez’s greed and avarice. The apologists killing Bud Selig and MLB for their take-no-prisoners pursuit of all the Biogenesis cheats.

It feels like Alex Rodriguez has turned so many of our heads to mush. The convenient rewriting of history and some of the most outlandish examples relativism I can recall. Someone I like and respect used the words “bully” in reference to Alex Rodriguez using the opt-out clause included in his original contract and negotiating a new deal with the Yankees. An entire generation of polarized talking heads, picking our positions on the matter based on how odious the supporters are on the other side.

So rather than have this wrapped up into a neat package, this ugly story will only get worse. The sideshow will continue on for days, weeks, even months before Alex Rodriguez accepts a lesser sentence during a season in which his salary is less than its current figure. A-Rod is set to earn $28MM this year, the peak figure for the life of his current deal.

Money is what it is all about. Owners can sit down with sympathetic New York Times writers and cry about how badly Ryan Braun hurt their feelings but any owner’s sole concern is that of consumer confidence. Just like Alex Rodriguez’s persistent and unabashed flaunting of baseball rules was about ensuring that previously mentioned contract extension. If some reports are correct and he recruited other players to the Biogenesis clinic, his sales pitch probably wasn’t any longer than “this will help you get paid.”

Alex Rodriguez is a cheat and a liar, one of the best baseball players I’ve ever seen and a no account scum all at the same time. The things Alex Rodriguez says between now and the end of his appeal is nothing more than following a script designed to minimize financial exposure. He doesn’t have to believe what he says, he simply cannot make MLB’s case any easier.

The owners are no better. Alex Rodriguez is an easy target because he’s widely disliked for his universally douchey behaviour. There is no better in this mess, only worse. We’re all the worse having lived through it, the only hope we can cling to is that the game comes out better in the end. The players support change, as some union members have lashed out through the media against the cheats and liars – anger that is well-received until the entire hypocrisy of “performance enhancing drugs” gets a good, long look.

So this is it. The Alex Rodriguez circus – coming soon to a town near you! Get your anger ready and bring your booin’ lungs! The face of steroids in baseball – the real enemy. Make sure you slap down your hard-earned bucks (mind the ticket surcharge) to visit the stadium (publicly-funded, of course) to let him know. If the Yankees aren’t coming to town, watch live from home (on the regional sports network that singlehandedly drives your cable bill through the roof) so you don’t miss a thing!

And the rest

Mike Trout versus Miguel Cabrera redux [Fangraphs]

What do those little numbers on the side of the graph mean? Are they used to provide context, by chance? Whodathunkit!

Jamey Carrol, how do you feel about making your big league pitching debut last night?

2013 Minnesota Twins Photo Day

Pitching IP H R BB SO HR ERA BF Pit Str Ctct StS StL GB FB LD
Jamey Carroll 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 3 9 7 3 1 3 1 2 1
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/6/2013.

jamey carrol zone

Working the edges, Jamey. What I like to see.

You pitched well, Jamey. Congrats.

Minnesota Twins Photo Day

Yup. The players are the devils here. The nerve.