Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A-Rod Fallout

I said what I had to say about Mr. Alex Rodrigeuz the other day. There's been much more to come out since then, including his confession that he did indeed use steroids (or whatever term you want to use) while with the Rangers from 2001 to 2003.

Bravo for doing the right thing. Now go out and play ball, and don't be a jerk like Barry Bonds. That's why Bonds is so despised outside of San Francisco - he's just not very likable. A-Rod's only slightly more likable at this point, but he's not a jerk.

I stand by my initial assessment that I'm exceedingly disappointed. He's a hero to kids (including mine). I'm sick of the topic (and Joe Torre now seems so in the past).

And Derek Jeter's sick of addressing it as well.

Yet let's review. This is now, clearly, the steroid era. Before that, it was the cocaine era. The amphetamine era was prior to that. It was alcohol, and "white baseball" (the pre-Jackie Robinson) days, and I guess, even the spitball and gambling eras.

What I'm saying is that a lot of bad stuff has been in the sport. Some were illegal; some weren't.

Jim Kaat has some extremely interesting thoughts.
All of us former players would have understood. Everyone wants to get an edge if it's not illegal or they won't get caught. At the time a lot of these players were taking these substances, it wasn't illegal according to baseball rules. I'm sure I would have done the same thing if I knew that everyone else in the league had this edge over me. Jim Honochick, a veteran umpire, approached me about putting a foreign substance [pine tar] on the ball and I told him "Jim, it's not a foreign substance, it's made in North Carolina" and he laughed and went back to his position.
Great comments by Kitty. Read more here. I have enormous respect for him and broadcast booths haven't been the same since he left. He's a guy who deserves consideration as one of the best ever and a possible Frick candidate.

Let's be clear, all. I'm not even beginning to try to defend Alex Rodriguez. I will say this - he confessed. He came clean. Good. So did Giambi and Pettitte (both in a matter of speaking). From there they let there on-field performance and personality win fans back. What The Big G and Andy did can never be washed from my mind, but I'm more willing to give them another chance based on how they have behaved.

Now it's your move, A-Rod.

Be smart. Get away from the Madonna-types. Be cheerful and fun in interview sessions, but show leadership and firmness. Go on "Lettterman" or "Regis and Kelly." Continue to be contrite, and let your play on the field speak for itself. Talk to Mike...and the Mad Dog (you've always liked them). Be mysterious, to an extent, but don't shut down.

In short, BE LIKE JETER.

At this moment, if I have my way, Sean will become a Jeter fan. Or a Mark Teixeira fan.

For years, I heard talk of which shortstop people wanted. Nomar? A-Rod? Jeter?

You know what my answer was. Say what you want about the defense (it's overrated, to me), but for pure leadership, baseball smarts, clutch play, and overall intangibles (not overrated, in my opinion), it's number two every single time. And the behavior of A-Rod makes me appreciate him, Mo, and Posada more every day.

I want to root for A-Rod. Not simply because he's a Yankee but overall, he's a remarkable ballplayer. I want to believe that he made a bad choice, but was clean before and after his time in Texas (which I'm struggling to do). But his image of the straight ballplayer is gone forever. It is now tarnished.

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