If Ryan Braun dominated the sports headlines on Tuesday morning, Alex Rodriguez dominated the sub-headlines. News of Braun’s plea bargained 65-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs was followed near-universally with the question, “Now, what about ARod?”
It’s a relevant question: Not only is Rodriguez one of the most famous and hated players in any sport, but like Braun he’s a repeat visitor to the PED circus. But just because it’s a relevant question doesn’t mean it’s the best one.
Soon after Braun’s suspension news broke, Buster Olney was on the phone with the broadcast team calling Monday night’s ESPN telecast of the Yankees and Rangers. Olney offered this insight: while Rodriguez is the biggest name on the docket, the player most likely to pursue a deal with MLB is Texas’s Nelson Cruz. As a free agent after this year, Cruz is best served serving his suspension now and entering the open market as an available yet questionable talent. If he waits, and the suspension gets handed down over the winter or next spring, Cruz might find it hard to sign if teams are unsure of his availability.
The astute Olney cut through the flash and the clutter to identify the real story – and good for him. Now, back to the coverage of the royal baby.