Alex Rodriguez Finally Faces The Music 

Alex Rodriguez finally melted under the burden of proof and the suspended New York Yankees third baseman abandoned his fight against Major League Baseball on Friday by dropping his lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Rodriguez also withdrew lawsuits against Commissioner Bud Selig and the Major League Baseball Players Association, ending his battle to overturn a historical 211-game suspension in connection with baseball's Biogenesis investigation that was reduced last month to 162 games plus the 2014 playoffs by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to most people who felt A-Rod was guilty all along, but we know that this case was never about A-Rod’s innocence or guilt.

The only way to expose the grossly hypocritical, malicious and disingenuous last five years of the Bud Selig Era was to say he didn’t do it. By prolonging his acceptance of a PED ban, A-Rod at least allowed MLB to take some heat in this situation for their go-hard, desperation maneuvers. That didn’t sit well with some people.

MLB wanted A-Rod to take the fall for all that is bad with PEDs in baseball. A-Rod didn’t feel like joining the list of deserved Hall of Fame martyrs who will never sniff baseball’s prestigious retirement palace because of their association with PEDs and the self-righteous attitudes the many instigators of the homer-abundant era (media, commission, managers, owners, media) now express.

Therefore – guilty as a jewel thief stuck in the chimney shaft – A Rod still decided to fight. It’s surprising that so many people chose to be fooled by MLB and join the open witch hunt on the game’s former shining stars. People act so naive to the game, like sheep so easily controlled by public opinion and fabricated truth.

Certain O.G. reporters, such as Bill Madden of The Daily News, really shocked me. They turned all of their venom on the players, but every owner, general manager and savvy exec has a firm pulse on his team, and there wasn’t a soul on the “inside” of baseball that didn’t know what was going on. But they chose to turn the other cheek so everybody can get paid and baseball could regain its lost luster.

MLB said A-Rod has “done the right thing by withdrawing the lawsuit.” They didn’t want this situation to get any uglier and A-Rod didn’t want to eventually risk perjury in an official court of law. Most people are just glad it’s over. Regardless of how this admission of guilt affects his legacy, it was obvious that Rodriguez’s lawsuits and media movie was beginning to cause a bigger resentment among his MLB peers.

“The message to me is that it’s time to move forward,” said Harold Reynolds of MLB Network. “I’m glad he’s made the decision but at the end of the day it’s not about records books…he loves the game and he didn’t want to be alienated from the players in the locker rooms."

With the suspension accepted, A-Rod immediately turns his attention towards returning to the game in 2015.

According to The Daily News, “in an apparent attempt to begin the process of mending fences with the power brokers of the game in which he was once the biggest star, Rodriguez reached out to MLB COO Rob Manfred in recent days to attempt a rapprochement of sorts, according to sources. Manfred's office led the yearlong investigation into drug distribution out of south Florida that hit Rodriguez and 13 other major leaguers with suspensions last summer.”

Despite the old journalism 101 “Hero vs. Villain” framework, this was never really about A-Rod, who’s one of thousands who juiced. He was just the best of the juicers like Barry Bonds. Very cocky and not subservient enough. They were the best of the non-juicers too, but fell victim to the game’s unregulated and changing steroids culture.

When Selig and the BBWAA were patting guys on the back, spitting superlatives and thanking them for saving the game, A-Rod probably never imagined it could get to this point. I’m glad this fiasco is over. Watching MLB pursue A-Rod was like watching a live version of Les Miserables. A-Rod had fought back against the establishment and if he couldn’t prove his innocence he was mildly successful in exposing how dirty and classless a business MLB baseball has become. Paying unsavory informants in trash bags of cash for evidence is shifty. The relentless nature and underhanded way baseball went after A-Rod, including threats to drag his name through the mud in private meetings is vomit inducing.

Sure, it doesn’t change the fact that he now admits his guilt and will serve his one year suspension, but if anyone thinks this is actually a good guy versus bad guy situation then they’re some of the biggest suckers going.

Ryan Braun had already preceded A-Rod in making a mockery of MLBs PED program, when everybody knew he was guilty but he caught them sleeping on a technicality with the specimen handler. Baseball wasn’t going to let that happen again. An entity as large and powerful and prideful as baseball will never the let “the process” work in the drug user's favor again.

But if you look at what these players did for the game with the silent approval of MLB’s highest offices, you just wish MLB could have cut cats like A-Rod some slack. You can’t hate A-Rod because he refused to let the same guy who taught him how to shoot a gun, sentence him to the electric chair for letting off. He knew he had done wrong, but he also knew he was getting hosed.

So in the end, A-Rod accomplished his true goal which was to expose the circus that is MLB’s war on steroids. He exposed the fact that there is no due process in baseball and the only guys that get a whiff of it are guys who agree to cower to the will of Bud Selig and the two-faced powers that be.

Love it or hate it, MLB flexed its long wallet and showed its teeth to let these players know that they better fall on their swords and don’t dare get any blood on the establishment’s squeaky, clean shoes. A-Rod learned the hard way while getting bum-rushed by the establishment, but he got a couple swings in on the way out of a door that’s he can walk back through one day.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.