Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez. (AP file photo)
HOT dogs and baseball go hand in hand.
They are as Americana as a Norman Rockwell painting.
But something else bollixed up this mix.
It’s called doping, or the use of performing-enhancing drugs.
And most of those suspended were highly-paid stars.
None of them is better paid than Yankee All-Star Alex Rodriguez or A-Rod (he’s still owed $100 million on a contract that does not expire in four or more seasons).
He also would forfeit $30 million to the Yankees if they don’t make the post-season.
A-Rod’s contract for 10 years totals $275 million.
With such an unimaginable fortune, why did A-Rod turn himself into a dope and cheated not only himself but his fellow Yankees and the venerable Yankee organization?
Can it be pride, ego or utter bravado?
The disgraced Yank is standing his ground, and vows to fight his 211-game suspension, apparently hiring the best lawyers money can buy for his defense.
What is he defending, his character or his sterling career that has been tainted with his use of steroids?
It was in 2009 that A-Rod admitted in a Tampa press conference that he used PEDs from 2001-03 with his cousin.
But that didn’t seem to hurt his image as the Yankees won the World Series, with strong assist from the slugger.
Buoyed by the thought that he could do no wrong, A-Rod continued mingling with shady characters over the years.
Aside from his personal humiliation (he does not look or sound like a fallen hero), he broke the hearts of millions of adoring fans in New York and elsewhere, including youngsters who look up to him as a role model.
What a waste.
Although he’s in line to top Willie Mays’ 660 home runs, he’s not likely to be installed at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Winners of 27 World Series titles, no wonder New Yorkers are loyal Yankee fans through the years.
But there is a sprinkling of fan support for the hapless Mets, the Yank crosstown rivals.
Despite their recent misfortunes, we find ourselves sill rooting for the Mets.
But the Mets had their heyday too, capturing two World Series championships in 1969 and 1986.
Indeed, as a new arrival in that period, our hearts and heartaches (mostly) belonged to the Mets.
The current Mets are experiencing a resurgence with the emergence of ace pitcher Matt Harvey and phenom Zack Wheeler, to supplement star third baseman David Wright.
With minor league prospects Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Travis d’Arnaud on the horizon, the future is looking brighter in Flushing.
Hope springs eternal!