Alex Rodriguez is one of the most scorned athletes in the media today. There is a palpable amount of hatred towards A-Rod from the media, fans, and hell, even Yankees executives. And yet, the reasons for all of the disdain towards Rodriguez are petty at best. Yet, that doesn't stop media members from taking snipes at Rodriguez whenever his name pops up, despite the fact that he's never hurt anyone and he's never done anything to put anyone in danger, unlike so many others in the sports world today.
The media has made me do the impossible, and right now, I feel sorry for Alex Rodriguez.
The hatred towards A-Rod is nothing new. Six years ago, he shouted while an infielder was hovering under a pop-up, causing him to miss the ball. This, of course, brought up numerous discussions about the ridiculous "unwritten rules of baseball", which makes Rodriguez apparently the first player ever to violate them. The same argument came up in the 2004 ALCS when Rodriguez smacked a ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove while running down the first base line. Both of the incidents were questionable, but if Derek Jeter committed either act, he'd get lauded for his smart thinking and heads up play.
Speaking of Jeter, he gets lauded for his postseason success, while Rodriguez gets relentlessly railed against for postseason failures...despite A-Rod's career postseason OPS being just five points lower than that of Jeter's. Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and Jorge Posada all have worse career playoff numbers than Rodriguez, yet they all escape the undying criticism that is thrust upon A-Rod.
Rodriguez admitted to taking steroids from 2001 to 2003, and is still beaten to death for it. Andy Pettitte also admits to taking PEDs, and you never hear any ill will towards him. David Ortiz tested positive in 2003, and gets a bye on the basis of a weak excuse. Jason Giambi was juiced to the gills leading into his massive contract with the Yankees, and not only isn't he persona non grata around baseball, he keeps getting bench jobs and is talked about as a future manager. Aren't double standards swell?
The snipes surrounding Rodriguez right now are laughable. We have Jeff Passan telling him to get a clue and Jon Heyman dragging up Jeter's name once again, all because Rodriguez has the unmitigated gall to want to play and help the Yankees. Reports about Rodriguez's condition are loaded with anonymous sources slandering him and a stunning lack of perspective. The Biogenesis scandal that has centered around Rodriguez and Ryan Braun seemingly forgets that others players, including Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, and Gio Gonzalez were also mentioned in the documents. Yet, Rodriguez is the one being vilified incessantly now that Braun has been suspended.
So here we are. One of the greatest players of the steroid era is making a sport of being dragged through the mud. The relationship that baseball writers have had with steroids over the last 15 years has enveloped the game. In 1998, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were hitting balls were fans never ventured, we gawked. In 2001, when Barry Bonds, Sosa, and Luis Gonzalez were smashing homers at an absurd rate, it wasn't a big deal. In 2013, revisionist history is causing all of them to be wiped from the record books...except the fans are smarter than that. Once you start down the slippery slope of excluding players from the record books, the line you need to stop at becomes more and more blurry until you're left with a significant portion of baseball history missing. The overbearing attitude towards Rodriguez by the mainstream media is just one step towards traveling down that slippery slope, and if more steps are taken, things could get quite hairy in the future.
I'm a Yankees fan and I supported A-Rod since he got here. I get criticize for supporting him from fellow NYY fans. Some of Yankees fans are unreal treating Jeter and Rivera like Jesus and won't ever criticize them while other guys on team are subjected to being criticized.
like brian cashman being mad at Arod for wanting to play baseball? yet Arod is the bad guy? get the hell out of here!
finally someone who writes some sense. Arod is treated so unfairly by people that they themselves become gigantic hypocrites, and jackoffs
Joe, Thanks for this post. You don't have to like Rodriguez but this piling on is a little much. I agree with Paul that the contracts with Tex and NY are probably the main reasons for the hull-a-ba-loo (is that how it's spelled?) but there is more to it.
I have always wondered why Rodriguez gets slammed but David "Just Supplements" Ortiz walks. Of course Ortiz is a media darling and A-Rod certainly is not. That is it in a nutshell. I would like to thank Joe for having the brains to at least bring up Ortiz for some perspective.
I have not taken seriously what the media has said about A-Rod since they deemed it his fault that Jason Varitek attacked him when Varitek was in full catcher's gear. Really now. Any other situation and Varitek would be rightfully blistered for being a weenie. But since it was A-Rod vs. the Red Sox it got all twisted.
As stated before you don't have to like Rodriguez, or anybody else, just be a little consistent with your actions.
Amen! A-Rod's problems are overwhelmingly his own doing, but everyone else gets a pass. I think part of it stems from the $252M contract with Texas 12 years ago. He got that money because he gets on base ~40% of the time. You, me, and just about every other person on the planet would take that money for something we did just 40% of the time.
Saint Derek, A-Rod's fellow Yankees, and others from the Steroid Era such as Sosa and Ortiz are often viewed as gregarious, jolly sorts while A-Rod gets mistreated, even before steroid allegations and the 100 names.
ESPN is garbage at this point, tabloid televison for sports & sports related matters. Their only concern is to make money & act as the equivalent to Top 40 radio for sports television, dictating who & what in sports is newsworthy (Tebow, anyone?), but that's a different debate for another time.....
Of course they're the same. ESPN did such a great job of building this guy up; now its the fashionable thing to do in tearing him down. Same way they act in disgust against all pro athletes who used PEDs. They forgot somewhere along the lines that as reporters, their jobs aren't to be fans, but to ask questions.
I know right? 9 years of 141 OPS+ ball (600 PA a year despite injuries), 302 homers, 2 MVPs, a World Series ring (and he was also the best player on the Yankees throughout the 2004 playoffs, for all those who do the 'from the 4th game of the 2004 ALCS onwards' thing), and much of it in his early to mid 30s rather than his prime (not like his age was a surprise to anyone). What a flop.
You can't tell me that a lot of the same guys burying A-Rod now weren't the same ones cheering him when he was putting up big numbers. They're around the game so they know. And they're acting shocked (shocked! I say!) now? Not buying. They're complicit.
You get paid big bucks and go to a big market and prove to be a big flop and a big cheat expect big backlash. I don't feel sorry for A-Rod the A-Hole.
Only the New York media could make somebody feel badly for someone who has disgraced the game as often as A-Rod.