A guide to baseball’s evolving Alex Rodriguez P.R. disaster

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Alex Rodriguez celebrates. (MLB.tv)
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The Alex Rodriguez news is coming so fast now—on the field, off the field, the battle with Major League Baseball, the battle with the New York Yankees, stories about his health, his drug use, his right hip, his left hip—it's gotten almost impossible to keep track.

Item: Alex Rodriguez is hit by Ryan Dempster of the Boston Red Sox. The HBP is so clearly intentional that an incensed Joe Girardi is ejected from the game for defending him. Girardi, by the way, works for the same organization as Brian Cashman, the general manager who that very night had renounced any conversations with Rodriguez, because he feels "we're in a litigious environment."

Reminder: Rodriguez is playing for the team he is also publicly accusing of undermining his career, health, well-being and ability to make a living.

Kicker: Rodriguez came back, later in the same game, and hit a 446-foot home run against Dempster, celebrating it as if the shot had won the World Series. It was the longest home run any Yankee hit this season. In 54 plate appearances, Rodriguez has a 146 O.P.S.+, which is excellent. He's doing great things right now for the team desperate to be rid of him.

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Item: Major League Baseball, aware that Rodriguez's lawyer Joe Tacopina was to appear on The Today Show Monday morning (and anticipating that he'd refuse to answer questions about Rodriguez drug-testing history by citing the confidentiality clause in the joint drug agreement), sent a letter offering to waive the clause if Rodriguez would release any and all documents related to the case.

The idea was to call Rodriguez's bluff, though of course M.L.B. did so in a way that would leave Rodriguez without any privacy at all. 

All this really means is that both Rodriguez and M.L.B. are fully engaged in a public-relations battle that, for a long time, mostly consisted of league leaks to sympathetic reporters. The war is on, Rodriguez's lawyers are not holding back, and neither is M.L.B., clearly concerned enough about the potential for public rallying around Rodriguez to try and blindside Tacopina.

Item: Alex Rodriguez's lawyers are reportedly preparing a lawsuit against the New York Yankees for medical malpractice.

This one is getting buried, but it shouldn't. This has the potential to finally take what had been a fairly streamlined process, a single question to be resolved over M.L.B.'s suspension of Rodriguez for 211 games, and a courtroom-free resolution that would come before an arbitrator.

A lawsuit, and one that involves the Yankees, would open both sides up to discovery. If Rodriguez's camp successfully involves M.L.B. in their case, it could do the same to M.L.B., which has a history of trying to avoid such things by settling cases. It allows the three-headed battle between Rodriguez, the Yankees and M.L.B. to get exponentially uglier, with all sides appearing to have ample money to fight and enough acrimony to see it through. This is a far less controlled environment. This is where the action ultimately may be.

Item: Brian Cashman's former mistress, Louise Meanwell, is angry that Alex Rodriguez's current lawyer didn't get her permission before representing Rodriguez, and claims that Cashman knew about Rodriguez's steroid use. Meanwell's current lawyer, according to the New York Post, said Meanwell "could be called to the stand in the A-Rod case", which may refer to the arbitration hearing to come over his suspension, or his yet-to-be-filed malpractice suit, or it could refer to absolutely nothing at all.

Relevance: None that I'm aware of, but if I wake up tomorrow and she's M.L.B.'s new star witness, or even Rodriguez's replacement at third base for the Yankees, it won't surprise me.