"It's about his legacy," Rodriguez said of Selig. "To put me on his big mantel on the way out, that's a hell of a trophy."
Self-serving? Of course. But the legacies are ultimately what will matter, once we've moved on from Twitter and knee-jerk reactions. Once the emotion subsides and we can see the forest and not just the trees, how will this episode in the game's history be viewed in five years, or 10, or 50?
• First, Selig. The two biggest blots on an otherwise strong résumé as commissioner are the 1994 World Series cancellation and the steroid explosion in the 1990s. Selig can never get 1994 back, but Biogenesis at least helps him cast the steroid era in a somewhat different light.
In reality, the steroid era was a group fiasco, starring an obstructionist union and owners who were happy to count the gate receipts, with a less-than-vigilant press and giddy fans aiding and abetting the process. Selig's success in suspending A-Rod, Ryan Braun and a dozen others in the absence of failed drug tests can't change the fact that the Mark McGwire- Sammy Sosa home run race and Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron occurred on his watch. But it does help Selig make the case that MLB learned from its mistakes and will do anything in its power to attack the problem and that he's leaving the game in a better place for his successor.
• We got a glimpse of Rodriguez's future last week, when Palmeiro dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot with 4.4 percent of the vote and Sosa and McGwire inched closer to oblivion. A-Rod has already admitted to taking performance enhancers in Texas from 2001 to 2003, and any hopes of quarantining those Rangers years and claiming they were an unfortunate lapse in judgment are history. Maybe Bonds and Roger Clemens have a prayer of making it to Cooperstown one day. But A-Rod can kiss his hopes goodbye.
His future in New York beyond the 2014 suspension is a call the Yankees will have to make. Maybe he can return to his native South Florida in 2015, reach a few milestones and sell some tickets for Jeffrey Loria as a Miami Marlin. It won't quite compare with the warmth that Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter elicit when they leave the Bronx. But A-Rod is still owed more than $61 million after next season, and the man needs to do something to occupy his time.
• Beyond the impact on Selig, A-Rod and the Yankees' 2014 payroll, MLB's "war on steroids" will continue to play out against a constantly evolving background. We've seen a profound shift in player sentiment since the 1990s, when the reasonable voices were cowed by the majority and stayed silent. Players are speaking out in abundance about their desire to rid the game of PEDs and staying silent only when it comes to defending the Ryan Brauns and Alex Rodriguezes.