Even for Chicago, what a helluva night!
That photo up there just about sums it up. Alex Rodriguez was suspended Monday for his role in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal. The 211-game ban is slated to start Thursday, pending an appeal, and would keep him out through the 2014 season.
But wait! He isn't going away just yet. A-Rod returned to the field Monday night for his season debut for the Yankees, cueing up a bizarre scene in Chicago — a much-maligned superstar playing a game hours after one of the most noteworthy suspensions in sports history.
We followed the hoopla throughout the evening. Here it is for your enjoyment.
11:20 p.m. ET — That's a wrap, folks
Alas, the Yankees were unable to mount a rally in the ninth to get him up for a fifth at-bat. A bloop single that maybe probably should've been caught will stand as A-Rod's lone offensive highlight from the night. Here is how close A-Rod was to an 0-for-4 night:
(Jerry Lai/USA Today Sports Images)
Until Tuesday ...
11:02 p.m. ET — Strikes out looking
Thought he walked on a 3-1 pitch and was summoned back to the batter's box. Two pitches later, a breaking ball from Matt Thornton landed right down the middle and A-Rod knowingly slunk back to the dugout. He's now just 1 for 4 this evening.
10:34 p.m. ET — A-Rod brought the leather
Beautiful play ranging to his left to end the sixth inning. But the Yankees still trail 8-0. Are we headed for a patented meaningless A-Rod homer in the late innings? Fingers crossed.
10:20 p.m. ET — Another healthy round of boos for at-bat No. 3
Impressive stamina, White Sox fans. On a 2-1 pitch, A-Rod flies out just shy of the warning track in left. His average is plummeting, now 1 for 3 on the night, and season.
The Yankees trail 7-0 in the top of the sixth.
10:13 p.m. ET — Hey, Yankee fans, here's how you cope with all this
Brilliant. Just own it:
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
9:35 p.m. ET — Boos and jeers again for the second at-bat
Lazy fly-out to fairly deep center in at-bat No. 2. Surprising, since he's usually at his best when the Yankees are way behind. A-Rod is 1 for 2 on the night now.
9:30 p.m. ET — Out of a jam, thanks to A-Rod!
A-Rod cleanly fields an admittedly routine two-out grounder and throws out the runner to get the Yankees out of a bases-loaded pinch in the third. Unfortunately, they still trail 7-0 and Andy Pettitte did not make it out of the inning.
9:18 p.m. ET — The many faces of Suspended A-Rod
If you missed the pre-game press conference, A-Rod put on an absolute clinic in fun faces.
8:58 p.m. ET — Adventurous play in the field
A-Rod gets a chance in the field, and is barely able to throw out Adam Dunn on a slow roller over toward the shortstop's domain. He was playing in a huge shift with the left-handed slugger at the plate. He scooped up the grounder, had a little trouble getting it out of his glove, then threw wide of first and forced first-baseman Vernon Wells into a full dive to finish off the play.
8:37 p.m. ET — Boos galore! But A-Rod gets a hit
The Chicago fans serenade Rodriguez with jeers as he steps to the plate for his 2013 season debut. It could be a short season.
Check out the fans at the game who did support A-Rod — sorta.
It's a hit! A-Rod bloops a 2-0 pitch into shallow left and it barely falls in between short and left. TAKE THAT, SOCIETY! He was, however, stranded at third base.
Here's how the hit looked:
(Jerry Lai/USA Today Sports Images)
8:30 p.m. ET — The curse of A-Rod?
The first four batters all reached for the White Sox in the bottom of the first, with one run scoring. Adam Dunn then came up about three feet short of a grand slam, settling for a sac fly. The Sox added one more before the first inning damage was done. A-Rod has yet to field a ball.
8:15 p.m. ET — The first at-bat will have to wait
With two outs in the top of the first, master of suspense Robinson Cano is thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double with A-Rod on deck. He'll lead off the second.
8:05 p.m. ET — Look at that harsh reception for A-Rod
We fans are so easy:
(Paul Beaty/AP Images)
6:53 p.m. ET — It's raining! But don't panic
Pundits are still optimistic we will get the game in. Here is the forecast for the Chicago area.
6:30 p.m. ET — A-Rod sheds little light on anything
A seemingly dazed Alex Rodriguez started with a reflective opening statement, then quickly turned evasive during his pre-game press conference Monday.
"I wish it was under different circumstances," he began, "But I want to express to you guys and the fans of baseball that the last seven months have been a nightmare. Probably the worst time of my life, for sure.
"I'm thrilled and humbled to have this opportunity to put on this uniform again and to play Major League Baseball again."
In the Q&A that followed with the media, he skirted just about every question about why he's appealing, whether that constitutes a denial of using PEDs and his feelings about the process.
One media member asked, directly: "If you didn't use PEDs, why don't you just say it?"
"There's a lot of things that have been thrown (against) the wall," Rodriguez said, "and when the time is right, we'll do all of that."
Another asked if he thinks the Yankees want him back.
"If I'm productive, I think they want me back," A-Rod replied.
Here, see some of it for yourself:
OK then. Let's play ball.
6:15 p.m. ET — Girardi speaks to media before the game
Joe Girardi responded just about as you'd expect the manager of the team that employs Alex Rodriguez to respond to this mess — yeah, it's a bummer, but I'm going to play him as long as he's around.
"There is an appeals process, so I think you let it play out," Girardi said about two hours before the Yankees were to take the field against the Chicago White Sox. "Everyone's going to have an opinion, and that's just the world we live in."
He then stated his own opinion: "I don't think there's any room for PEDs in baseball."
When asked about the players' reaction, Girardi said, "I think guys were happy to see him. He's a teammate of ours, he's a friend of ours. You heard a lot of the guys laughing. ... For the players, this is business as usual in a sense."
And this all happened after Twitter had its say.