Alex Rodriguez made his return to the Bronx on Friday night and was peppered with a mixture of boos and cheers during his first at-bat while the New York Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in 10 innings.
As seen in the video below, when the 14-time All-Star and former MVP was announced in the bottom of the first, some Yankee fans booed harshly, others held up posters declaring their allegiance to the third baseman appealing the 211-game suspension for his alleged involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
With New York already up 1-0 Rodriguez stepped up to the plate with a runner on second and two outs to face Tigers starter Rick Porcello.
Eventually the boos and cheers subsided, and Yes Network announcers Michael Kay and Kenny Singleton pointed out that Rodriguez has dealt with mixed reactions during his entire stay in New York and since he became the highest paid player in baseball. Yankee fans will praise Rodriguez if he can somehow lift them up the Wild Card standings, and deride him should they continue fade in the final two months of the season. New York is currently seven games back from one of the two Wild Card spots, and 10 games behind first place Boston in the AL East.
Rodriguez would strikeout on four pitches, and finished the game 0-for-4 with two more strikeouts, seeing 22 total pitches.
While Rodriguez isn’t short on detractors, one major sports figure has spoken out against Major League Baseball and their treatment of Rodriguez.
At one time in line to purchase two MLB clubs, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban lambasted MLB and commissioner Bud Selig for essentially running the league like his “mafia.”
Cuban appeared on the "Tonight Show" on Thursday, and told Jay Leno and the world that while he thinks Rodriguez does deserve a suspension, he believes the league is taking things to a personal level.
"Horrible," Cuban said. "I think it's disgraceful what Major League Baseball is trying to do to him. Look, it's not that he doesn't deserve to be suspended. He does. They have policies in place: A first-time offender is 50 games, and a second time is 100. [Two hundred and eleven games], that's personal."
Cuban then spoke about his previous dealings with Selig and MLB when he tried to buy stakes in the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs.
"I've got to tell you, with my experiences with Major League Baseball -- and after all of this, there's no chance I'm getting to buy a team -- it's basically become Bud Selig's mafia," Cuban said according to ESPN Dallas. "He runs it the way he wants to run it. They don't want me to own a team. When I was trying the buy the Rangers, even after the Cubs, when I was trying to buy the Texas Rangers, it was an open option.
"I sat in there with my good, hard-earned money trying to bid, and they did everything possible to keep me from buying the team. They had lawyers in there trying to change the rules; they had people trying to put up more money. It was horrible."
Leno suggested that perhaps the league was making an example of their top players, but Cuban disagreed.
"It shouldn't be that way," Cuban said. "That's one of the poor things about sports. How much money a player makes should have nothing to do with the way you treat them.
"The reality is the guy broke the rules. He basically admitted that he had broken the rules before. But to come out and try to give him a lifetime ban, that's just wrong."