COMMENTARY: A-Rod's PED Scandal Won't Slow Yankees

Charles E. Sutton | 8/20/2013, 11:48 a.m.
For those of you who thought Alex Rodriguez's off-the-field struggles would divide and destroy the New York Yankees — get ...
Alex Rodriguez

For those of you who thought Alex Rodriguez's off-the-field struggles would divide and destroy the New York Yankees — get over it! This team is so determined to succeed that they'll rally around nearly anyone or anything, including a guy in the midst of a PED scandal.

Rodriguez continues to linger under a cloud of allegations related his use of performance enhancing drugs. His story is the hottest in sports and, in all likelihood, will continue to be for the next few weeks.

The independent arbitrator responsible for ruling on A-Rod's appeal probably won't make a decision until October or November. This means that he won't miss any games this season and, with Rodriguez's lawyers and Major League Baseball's lawyers embroiled in what amounts to a legal wrestling match, he may not miss any games next season either. That's right! Even though A-Rod is facing a 211-game suspension, he may not miss a single inning.

But in the meanwhile, he might as well walk around with a bulls-eye on his chest. Against the Yankees' arch-rival Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park on Sunday, A-Rod ignited a comeback that was arguably his team's biggest win of the season — and one full of controversy.

In the second inning, Rodriguez got plunked by a Ryan Dempster fastball, the fourth consecutive inside pitch of the at-bat. That strange sequence led to Yankees' manager Joe Girardi's ejection, putting him in the clubhouse while A-Rod blasted a home run to center field — the 649th of his career — sparking a four-run sixth inning that was the deciding factor.

Rodriguez's fellow Yanks showed with their response to the Rodriguez-Dempster altercation that they'll support all of their teammates — even one spending much of his time off the field verbally sparring with critics.

As the scandal trudges on, it will be interesting to see how well the Yankees continue to play. They've now won three consecutive series in their effort to make the playoffs, and this one over the AL East-leading Red Sox was critical.

This team has displayed a lot of grit over the last couple of weeks, and I'm thinking that if this team doesn't make the playoffs, they're going to come awfully close and frighten a lot of teams in the process — to the chagrin of many.