Commentary

Out of order in A-Rod's court

The Alex Rodriguez-Bud Selig feud just reached the fifth level of absurdity.

Originally Published: November 21, 2013
By Jim Caple | ESPN.com

If you're scoring at home, it was A-Rod 1, Bud Selig 0 on Wednesday.

Sure, Alex Rodriguez acted like a petulant teenager when he angrily stormed out of his scheduled grievance hearing Wednesday afternoon in New York over the arbitrator's decision that Selig won't be forced to testify. ("This is f---ing bulls---!" A-Rod reportedly said as he pointed a finger at MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred.) But even if the commissioner agrees to testify, it's doubtful Selig could top Rodriguez's subsequent comments during his interview with WFAN's Mike Francesa.

A breakdown of A-Rod's most provocative comments in that interview …

[+] EnlargeRodriguez
G Fiume/Getty ImagesMeet Dr. A-Rod, Ph.D. (In baseball, of course.)

"I reached out to Selig several times early on and I said, 'Hey, I'll fly up to you in January, I'll fly up to you in February. I'll come see your house, we can have coffee, we can have brunch -- in your house in Milwaukee. Or in a Starbucks.'"

Don't believe him? Just read the NSA transcripts leaked by Edward Snowden.

SELIG: Brunch is out. I always screw up when I try to flip pancakes. And then they always get stuck to the pan and burn.

A-ROD: Yeah, I know. And I'm even worse with omelets. So how about just coffee, then?

SELIG: Maybe. But not at my house. The wife is still complaining about the mess Ryan Braun left behind over the summer.

A-ROD: How about Starbucks?

SELIG: What's Starbucks?

A-ROD: It's a coffee shop. There are like 20,000 of them all over the world. They're even in ballparks. How could you possibly have not have heard of Starbucks?

SELIG: I don't know. Too busy trying to crack down on PED cheats, I guess.

A-ROD: [NSA recording devices unable to pick up A-Rod's mumbled response.]

SELIG: So does this Star Books serve Folgers or Maxwell House?

[+] EnlargeBud Selig
AP Photo/Darron CummingsA little coffee klatch with Bud Selig? What could go wrong?

A-ROD: Ummmmm, neither. But they make a great salted caramel mocha.

SELIG: A salted caramel mocha? What's a mocha? That's not something you got from Anthony Bosch at Biogenesis, is it?

A-ROD: [NSA recording devices unable to pick up A-Rod's mumbled response.]

SELIG: Oh, and I have a vacation to Bora Bora and a couple of dental appointments in January and February. So all this coffee meeting stuff will have to wait.

A-ROD: Good lord. And people claim I'm overpaid.

"This is the funny thing. There are a lot of people that don't like me. Look, I get it. People in the streets tell me, 'I hate your guts [but] you're getting railroaded.' …

"In an ironic way, what's happened to me over the last six months has been the best thing that has happened in my career. It's humanized me -- people are coming to my defense."

Major League Baseball IS hosing A-Rod. No, I don't believe he's completely innocent, but league rules are clear that a first-time offense for PED use is punishable by a 50-game suspension. Because A-Rod's first proven use of PEDs was before this rule went into effect, this would be his first offense (if indeed he is guilty). If baseball wants the players to obey the rules, the league must follow them as well. If not, Selig absolutely has an obligation to testify in this case.

All that said, A-Rod has been humanized less by this saga than Siri receiving a Brooklyn accent from a hacker.

And as for the last six months of fighting the PEDs charges being the best thing that has ever happened in his career, I would rank this a little below winning the 2009 World Series, winning three MVP awards, making 14 All-Star teams, hitting his 500th home run, hitting his 600th home run, signing his $252 million contract and then turning it into a $300 million deal, and hooking up with Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson.

But it might be slightly ahead of slapping the ball away from Bronson Arroyo in the 2004 ALCS.

"[Selig] hates my guts, there's no question about it. … One hundred percent, it's personal. I think this is about his legacy and it's about my legacy. And he's trying to destroy me -- and by the way, he's retiring in 2014. And to put me on his big mantle on the way out, that's a helluva trophy."

Hmmm. I'm not sure that banishing the active leader in home runs for what could wind up being the rest of his career would be a "helluva trophy" for the commissioner of baseball. Then again, it might look better mounted on the wall than a painting of yourself as a centaur.

[+] EnlargeAlex Rodriguez
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesOK, so maybe Wednesday's performance ranks a little higher for A-Rod than this particular moment.

"I can't believe that someone would have the courage to make a historical decision on my life -- on my daughters' lives -- I'm going to have to explain this to my daughters. And the guy who Rob Manfred said, 'It's his decision and his decision only' not only goes on David Letterman and embarrasses me and talks about one player -- just one player! -- and says they owe me $100 million -- but he doesn't have the nerve to come and face me face to face?"

That's a pretty emotional response, but it's also meandering and redundant. (Face me face to face?) So when it comes to outbursts related to legal proceedings, it definitely ranks below Jack Nicholson telling Tom Cruise, "You can't handle the truth!" or Al Pacino shouting, "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!"

"I exploded much worse than Paul O'Neill with any of the [water] coolers."

He's exaggerating here. Yes, A-Rod reportedly swore and pounded his fist on the table and kicked a briefcase at the hearing. But unless that table is now nothing but splintered wood, I'm going to say O'Neill still holds the Yankees record for most explosive public tantrums.

"This is what I have my Ph.D. in: Baseball."

So that's Dr. A-Rod to you.

"I'm so heated up right now -- so pissed off -- that I can't think straight."

In other words, business as usual.

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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