He's the defendant.
No, he's the plaintiff.
No, he's the victim.
Could anyone but Alex Rodriguez try to pull off that hat trick, all in the same week? Would anyone but A-Rod even try?
Rodriguez and the Yankees didn't make the playoffs, but baseball will be lucky if any October series matches the A-Rod saga for drama. No chance any series matches this one for comedy.
Or for sex. Yes, sex, because one of the accusations in the lawsuit Rodriguez just filed against Major League Baseball is that MLB investigator Dan Mullin had an "inappropriate sexual relationship" with a witness he interviewed.
The rest of the 31-page filing reads like a recitation of "A-Rod's greatest hits," with all the stories that A-Rod and his camp have been pushing all summer: MLB was out to get him from the start, commissioner Bud Selig is only trying to protect his legacy by stomping on A-Rod's, and the only way MLB was able to bring a case was by paying or intimidating potential witnesses.
All that was missing was the famous "pink elephant in the room," from Rodriguez's accusatory speech in Trenton, N.J., in early August.
Actually, there was one other thing missing, the same thing that has been missing from everything A-Rod and his people have said since we first heard the name Biogenesis. While there are plenty of claims that MLB has broken rules and laws and acted unfairly in its investigation, nowhere does it say that A-Rod didn't do it.
Perhaps he's trying to make that case in the arbitration hearing that began Monday and could continue for a while, the one where Rodriguez really is playing the role of defendant. MLB slapped him with a 211-game suspension, and he and his army of lawyers need to convince arbitrator Frederic Horowitz either that he did nothing to deserve that kind of penalty, or at least that he did nothing to deserve that long a penalty.
The lawsuit is different, even though it covers much of the same ground. A-Rod is the plaintiff here, asking to recover some unspecified amount of money that he claims MLB has cost him through its investigation, supposed leaks and efforts at "harming Mr. Rodriguez and interfering with his business relationships."
The suit says Rodriguez had a "sterling reputation," which was "permanently harmed" by the way MLB conducted the investigation into Biogenesis. It accuses MLB of a "witch hunt" (twice), of "vigilante justice," and of conducting a "scorched earth investigation."
True or not, it really does make for some good reading. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Then again, maybe that was the idea, because whether or not A-Rod actually recovers any money, you've got to believe that a big part of filing the suit was to help him in the court of public opinion.
He's not a dirty steroid cheat, you see. He's not a rat.
He's the victim.
And he's standing up for all victims, because just as he did in that press conference in Trenton, A-Rod in his lawsuit says that he is not just fighting for himself.
"MLB thus is trampling Mr. Rodriguez's collectively bargained rights -- and, indeed, those of every player in the league," the suit reads. "The time has come for this egregious misconduct to stop, so current and future players may know that MLB cannot and will not commit willful torts against them, and otherwise trample their rights with impunity."
Yes, A-Rod as victim, fighting the good fight for the cause of all that's right. A-Rod as victim, a theme he stuck with when he also filed suit against the Yankees team doctor and the hospital where he works for allegedly misdiagnosing his hip injury last October.
That's A-Rod, the victim, inspiring (or paying?) people to take to the streets.
That's A-Rod, playing offense even as he plays defense. And entertaining us, even when he can't play.