By Daisy Gomez
San Diego, Calif.
TRENTON—On Aug. 5, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and 12 other professional baseball players were suspended by Major League Baseball for their involvement with banned performance-enhancing drugs. While the 12 other players received 50-game suspensions, Rodriguez made headlines for his 211-game suspension.
On Aug. 3, Rodriguez played for the Trenton Thunder, as part of a rehabilitation stint from off-season hip surgery. Rodriguez had to face accusations of being involved in the case against the now-defunct rejuvenation clinic Biogenesis of America.
The Biogenesis investigation has created a scandal. In March, MLB sued six people connected with Biogenesis for providing MLB athletes with banned testosterone and human growth hormones. Rodriguez received punishment for his involvement not only from MLB, but also from his fans.
Seats at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton sold out within 24 hours of the line-up release, which included Rodriguez, according to the Thunder’s general manager, Will Smith.
“Rodriguez is a great player and people are exaggerating the drug accusations that are being made,” Pedro Santiago, a 59-year-old fan, said. “Rodriguez is not the only player who uses drugs, he was just one that was caught. People are just jealous because he is rich now and before he was so poor.”
Smith estimated that there were 3,000 more fans at the game than at typical Thunder games. However, that did not mean that all the fans supported Rodriguez. While some fans cheered for Rodriguez the entire game, others thought his suspension was necessary in order to enforce MLB regulations.
“If you get a speeding ticket, you suffer the consequences whether you are A, B or C,” Antonio Perez, who traveled from Florida to support Rodriguez, said. “If he is found guilty, then he should suffer the consequences, but that does not change the fact that he is a great player.”
Rodriguez formally appealed the suspension last week. “I’m not here to judge people,” Joe Girardi, the Yankees manager, said, according to reports. “That’s not my job. He’s a player as long as he’s in our clubhouse.”
Girardi may not think Rodriguez should be judged by his actions, but some members of the public thought otherwise.
“Players should be role models, but sadly, that is not always true,” Lauren Bosak, a 33-year-old from Lawrenceville, said. “The investigation of the athletes is very inconsistent. If he wants to take drugs and ruin his career, then he should face the consequences. If that means that he spends the rest of his life suspended from baseball, then so be it.”