In what has become an all-out war of words between Major League Baseball and Alex Rodriguez, once the game’s biggest star, MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred issued a statement Thursday calling Rodriguez’s use of performance-enhancing drugs “longer and more pervasive than any other player.” Manfred was responding to an equally combustible charge made earlier in the day by Rodriguez, whose representatives issued a statement accusing baseball commissioner Bud Selig among other things of “turning a blind eye, knowing that crimes are being committed under his regime,” as MLB’s investigators pieced together the doping case against A-Rod that resulted in the 211-game ban he is appealing in arbitration. Manfred wasn’t finished, either. “This latest, sad chapter in Mr. Rodriguez's tarnished career is yet another example of this player trying to avoid taking responsibility for his poor choices,” he said. “When this process is complete, the facts will prove that it is Mr. Rodriguez and his representives who have engaged in ongoing, gross misconduct.” Rodriguez claimed earlier on Thursday that he is battling MLB not only to protect his scandal-scarred legacy, but in order to protect future generations of major leaguers. Rodriguez: "I have 100% faith in my legal team,” his statement continued. “To be sure, this fight is necessary to protect me, but it also serves the interests of the next 18-year-old coming into the league, to be sure he doesn't step into the house of horrors that I am being forced to walk through." Manfred: “Given the disappointing acts that Mr. Rodriguez has repeatedly made throughout his career, his expressed concern for young people rings very hollow,” MLB’s chief operating officer fired back. Rodriguez’s statement also addressed comments Selig made during the World Series that he was "very comfortable" with the way the case has been handled by MLB's Department of Investigations. “I am deeply troubled by my team's investigative findings with respect to MLB's conduct," Rodriguez said. "How can the gross, ongoing misconduct of the MLB investigations division not be relevant to my suspension, when my suspension supposedly results directly from that division's work?" Sources close to the embattled Yankee superstar have complained for months that MLB officials engaged in unethical and sometimes criminal behavior as they investigated Rodriguez's ties to Biogenesis, the now-defunct South Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied performance-enhancing drugs to baseball players and other athletes.