By now everyone has heard of Alex Rodriguez's Andy-Pettite-esque "apology" for taking in his case, anabolic steroids.
We can make all the jokes, signs, and T-shirts we want calling him "A-Fraud," "A-Real Fraud" "A-Juicer", "A-Loser", "A-Roid" or "A-Liar" We can even take the approach the NY Post did yesterday by inferring A-Rod as an, ahem, "A-HOLE". but what good would it do?
NY fans, dumb as they are, are sure to defend A-Rod's actions to a point, at least until he stops hitting them home runs, meaningless as they may be in a 12-1 game. After all, this is the same state that elects carpetbaggers to the U.S. Senate and re-elects them apologetically even scoffing at the label.
This was a state that likely would have elected another Kennedy to the same Senate once her un-earned appointed term had expired in 2010, so why would we be surprised that they try and rationalize A-Rod's actions, as long as they are winning.
The only way this A-Rod revelation could have been any funnier, is if the Golden Boy, Derek Jeter would have been the one in his shoes. I can already see the "Derek Cheater" headlines, lame as they may be.
As the World turns, otherwise known as the Yankee way, everything revolves around Jeter so this headline should be no surprise either, grammatically incomplete as it may be. (Good job, ESPN).
If anyone listened to Jim Rome this afternoon, they already know that Rome as only he can do, masterfully stated the obvious in his usual brash and unapologetic tone.
He said A-Rod did only apologize now because he got caught and once backed into a corner, did the only thing he could do which was half-confess.
This same theme continued on Around the Horn with several of the panelists who echoed and criticized this same hand-in-the-cookie-jar confession.
But perhaps no one captured the mood best than this crew who also publicly and finally questioned (along with Rome) as to what the heck being "pretty accurate" means when asked by interviewer Peter Gammons if the alleged years 2001-2003 covered his entire time on performance enhancing drugs.
This makes me wonder if he's not trying to cover his own backside again should another positive test, or more information surface in the coming months or years down the road during the rest of his now tainted career. Either this was the entire duration, or it wasn't Alex, which one was it?
Here's hoping he does get caught again sometime down the road, not so much for the now mandatory 50-game suspension which the Yankees would recover from since they were able to withstand Jeter's ugly 2003 third base collision with then Jays catcher Ken Huckaby, but rather so that all of his numbers get questioned and his credibility along with his Hall of Fame chances are gone forever.
Some may see this as being too harsh on one player, but nothing I've wrote here so far should be seen as any worse than the truth that professional commentators like Rome and those from Around the Horn spoke earlier today and actually shortened this column since they covered most of my points.
Additionally, haven't we just about had it with seemingly good savior athletes only to find out they are no better than those we criticize on a nightly basis?
Concerning the harshness of any one player it should simply not be taken as such because this shouldn't be about any one player, convenient as it may be.
I would like the other 103 names released so that those that are not on this list, or the Mitchell Report can have their good names cleared so that the cloud that covers baseball can slowly float away.
People think that Major League baseball players should be protected with confidentiality based on the agreed upon drug tests that they provided. I say, why? How is that going to get to the root of the problem?
Many people also note that no player is safe since they don't even know if they are one of those 103 now anonymous players but what are they scared of if they have nothing to hide?
Some will say "if you hate Jeter, A-Rod, and the Yankees so much why do you continue to watch, and attend baseball games?"
I answer this with a simple, I do it as a courtesy to those who did it the right way and didn't cheat even if it isn't clear who they are.
I do it because I believe baseball can be fixed and once the corruption that is the MLB players union, specifically Donald Fehr (fear) and crony Bud Selig who allowed this to happen for profit$ $ake are long gone I want to be there when it recovers.
Lastly, I do it because baseball is an American institution that I refuse to allow selfish self promoters to manipulate and sully.
Upon recently looking at the New York Yankees 2009 schedule I was disappointed to see that they will not be making road trips to places like Philadelphia or the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Instead they catch a break by hosting the Phillies in an early interleague series in New York.
Additionally, they face the tough competitively but not critically NL East where it can be assumed that the nice people of South Florida and Atlanta won't give any one player too harsh of a time no matter who is is or what they did.
Now I'm not a Mets fan, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night either, but as Mets fans, as natural rivals along with the rest of the American League East, it is your duty to get up this season and act like true rivals if you are to be taken seriously.
Too many times, have Jays fans seemingly sat idly by while the big bad Yankees come to town as they try as they might to fill up Rogers Centre.
At the end of the series, they appear to be more content with gate receipts and winning the series than actually ensuring that the Yankees and their fans who actually made the trek have the wost possible time, and disadvantage in "their house."
The same can be said for the decade-funk Orioles and their losing mantra. Not only to we have sellout Teixeira to rattle when the mercenaries come to town, but now we have A-Rod and I expect Camden Yards to be filled to the rafters and fans flowing out beyond the confines of Camden Street.
If we are truly to be rivals, we must act like it and it starts with how well a natural and division rival is received each time they come to your town.
Fans can look at the records and the competitiveness but when Oriole Park at Camden Yards, one of my favorite venues is defiled with majority Yankee fans in a pseudo home game as is often the case, there can be no rationalization or justification.
Sad to say O's fans, the upstart Tampa Bay Rays seem to demonstrate the fire that we lack, even though their interests seem to be smartly aimed toward their nearest competitor, that being the wily Boston Red Sox. It all starts with you. How will you react?
Red Sox fans, I know your in good hands once A-Rod comes to town and I expect and await many a Sports Center confrontation and controversy that you muster. Don't let me down :)
We also have the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, two also-rans that deserve to vent their frustrations over how their teams were cheated and how their franchises were taken advantage of, and I hope they don't disappoint.
The only real question remains, why did A-Rod do it? He talks about pressure to perform but as someone who was the first overall pick in the 1993 draft and has known nothing but success since he first learned to play the game why would someone of his immense talents even need to consider such an action?
As someone who averaged 31.5 home runs a season and 99 RBI in his six years prior to joining the Texas Rangers in 2001, did he suddenly doubt his own talents and fear he may face a drop off?
If so, why? Its well known that the Ballpark in Arlington, beautiful as it may be, is the American League's version of Coors Field in that its a hitters park launchpad. By simple mathematics, he should have figured that his numbers would dramatically increase, as they did, during his tenure there, thus alleviating some of this pressure.
Finally, the last place Rangers, observers of the post-season the past three seasons, were coming off a 91-loss season in which they missed third place by over ten games.
If he felt the personal need to turn things around, I admire his competitiveness and sense of responsibility, but now appears more likely this was rather done out of selfishness since financial gain or return from injury, the old stalwarts were off the table, and all that remained was personal glory and legacy concerns.
Why should we believe anything at all that he said now? Don't you just get the feeling there is more to the story and five years down the road he'll get caught again?
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