With the Yankees out of the playoffs, Alex Rodriguez has kept himself busy playing the blame game.
Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball on Thursday over its investigation into his ties to Biogenesis, the Florida clinic where he and other players allegedly obtained performance enhancing drugs. In the suit, he accused the league of launching a "witch hunt" in a deliberate attempt to ruin his career and mess with his contracts and business interests.
The league did go to extraordinary lengths to build a case for its record 211-game suspension of A-Rod, but the lawsuit alleges downright criminal conduct befitting a summer blockbuster. The league, Rodriguez claimed, filed a "sham lawsuit" against Biogenesis to coerce it into cooperating; intimidated Biogenesis defendants; bought documents with $150,000 in cash, "handed off in a bag at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., area restaurant"; and paid Biogenesis head Tony Bosch $5 million for his cooperation.
The suit further alleged that an MLB investigator had "an inappropriate sexual relationship" with a witness. And, in a rather perfect encapsulation of A-Rod's hubris, the suit accused baseball and commissioner Bud Selig of trying to "destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez, one of the most accomplished Major League Baseball players of all time."
It's a familiar tactic from Rodriguez, who could, when his playing days end, launch a new career as a crisis management consultant whose sole advice involves incessant finger-pointing.
Here, four other times Rodriguez threw someone else under the bus to cover for himself:
Rodriguez was already the highest-paid athlete of all time when he opted out of his $252 million contract after the 2007 season. Rodriguez came under fire for 1) Not telling the Yankees first that he planned to do so, 2) Announcing it during the decisive Game 4 of the World Series, and 3) Whining that $25 million per year was not enough to support his self-centaur painting collection.
A-Rod later apologized and took some blame upon himself. But he also harshly criticized his agent, Scott Boras, for supposedly convincing him to opt out by falsely insinuating the Yankees had no intention of keeping him — a strange claim, since details of the Yankees plan to re-sign him had already leaked.
"The whole thing was a mistake," he said. "It was a huge debacle."
The situation between the Yankees and Rodriguez has devolved into a messy love-hate relationship of necessity. The Yankees needed Rodriguez to plug a gaping hole at third base this season, and Rodriguez needed a job. (Who else would employ such a polarizing, expensive guy?)
But the two sides have made no secret they don't get along any more, with the Yankees admitting Rodriguez won't live up to his blockbuster contract, and Rodriguez insinuating — via Twitter, no less — that the team was keeping him off the field even though he claimed to be healthy.
The tense relationship hit a low point when Rodriguez, through his lawyer, accused the Yankees of trying to end his career and of having a "thug-culture." The team, he alleged, secretly knew about his torn hip during the 2012 playoffs, but played him anyway in an attempt to further injure and embarrass him.
"They rolled him out there like an invalid and made him look like he was finished as a ballplayer," his lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said.
Rodriguez has not publicly confirmed nor denied the league's allegations against him. He has, however, come up with an interesting defense to explain away PED use should he be suspended.
As his appeal hearing got underway this week, Rodriguez claimed he thought the substances he obtained from Biogenesis conformed to the league's drug policy, according to the New York Daily News. It was the old "blame the trainer" excuse players have used before to avoid responsibility for the substances they put in their own bodies.
Roger Clemens infamously claimed he thought his trainer gave him vitamin injections, not steroids. And Barry Bonds said he assumed he was using legit topical creams, not PEDs.
This one technically wasn't A-Rod's handiwork, though he came off looking terrible by association.
In August, 60 Minutes reported that members of Rodriguez's "inner circle" leaked documents implicating other players in the Biogenesis scandal — including Yankees teammate Francisco Cervelli. While Rodriguez was linked to the clinic in the Miami New Times' original reporting, the names of Cervelli, Ryan Braun, and others came out later thanks to the leak.