We probably will never know the real truth, just like we won’t know the details of Rodriguez’s performance-enhancing drug past, but Dempster appeared to become the first pitcher this season to intentionally hit the New York Yankees third baseman.
The message: We don’t like what you’re about.
The Fen-way Park crowd was screaming, “You’re a cheater,” when Dempster drilled Rodriguez in the back with a 92-mph fastball.
The crowd loved it. Yankees manager Joe Girardi, thinking it was clearly intentional, and irked his pitchers were issued a warning, became unglued and was ejected. And, just in case anyone was wondering, at least Rodriguez’s teammates appeared to support him.
There were no cameras to see the reaction from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who is afraid to even talk to Rodriguez these days.
Yankees President Randy Levine, who told Rodriguez “to put up or shut up,” was likely watching from his New York home.
Presumably, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun might have tuned in from his Malibu, Calif., home.
Braun detests Rodriguez but, suddenly, A-Rod is his new best friend.
The circus act surrounding Rodriguez has improbably improved Braun’s fortunes, particularly in the eyes of Major League Baseball.
Sure, Braun messed up big time. He is serving a season-ending 65-game suspension for his connection to performance-enhancing drugs.
But at the least, in less than a month he has gone from the game’s biggest pariah to Not A-Rod.
And with every public relations misstep Rodriguez commits, that’s not a bad role to play.
Braun has done that by staying silent and avoiding possible missteps. That changes this week with a public apology, nearly a month after he became the first player to step up and accept his suspension in the 14-player Biogenesis drug scandal.
He has sent letters of apology to Commissioner Bud Selig, MLB officials and specimen collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. He has spoken with players union chief Michael Weiner, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and several of his teammates.
There are so many questions for Braun to answer, particularly regarding his treatment of Laurenzi.
Yet as long as Braun displays candor and contrition, it will be a strong first step out of the batter’s box in a journey that might ensure he doesn’t suffer the same treatment as A-Rod next season.
If nothing else, Braun admitting guilt should assure that the 2014 Brewers avoid the circus of daily allegations and conspiracy theories engulfing the Yankees, thanks to Rodriguez.
Let’s see, did A-Rod really rat on Braun and teammate Francisco Cervelli, leaking their names in the Biogenesis records, to take the heat off himself?
Did the Yankees purposely deceive one of Rodriguez’s doctors, or tell another, as Joseph Tacopina, one of Rodriguez’s attorneys, alleges, that they never want Rodriguez to play again?
Does it matter that Rodriguez’s attorneys have asked the union to formally begin a grievance process against the Yankees for allegedly mishandling his medical treatment and are peeved the union has been slow to react?
Does it matter that Levine offers to publicly release all of Rodriguez’s medical records for the world to see, waiting for Rodriguez to provide permission?
When does it stop?