If you don’t care about baseball or sports, you can probably skip this one–unless you like rants. If you enjoy a good rant, no matter what the topic is, this might be for you.
As Major League Baseball begins to negotiate and hand out suspensions for the players involved in the Biogenesis scandal, the loudest of the media’s and fans’ screeching has been reserved for the one and only Alex Rodriguez. There are plenty of other writers out there who have outlined the many, many ways in which A-Rod has fumbled his way to career suicide, so I’m not going to bother with that (although, you should do yourself a favor and Google “A-Rod centaur”).
There was, rather, something else that bothered me. Yesterday, The Daily Beast ran a story for which the headline read: “Alex Rodriguez Is Facing a Lifetime Ban From Baseball, But He Was Never a Yankee.” First of all, that sentence doesn’t even make sense: a) The second clause doesn’t logically follow from the first; and b) Yes, actually, he was a Yankee, for nine seasons (ten including this one), and at the moment he still is.
But no, you say, all that misbehavior (of which the article gives a Cliff’s Notes rundown) shows that A-Rod was never a REAL Yankee. You know, the high-character players who have embodied the Bronx Bombers’ many championship teams, like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera; the graceful and classy Joe DiMaggio; Babe Ruth, who was celebrated for swatting home runs and for being a philandering drunkard (wait); Mickey Mantle, one of the greatest players of all time, but also a world class alcoholic who was notorious for being an asshole to fans (umm…); Reggie Jackson, “Mr. October,” a famously self-centered jerk who once got in a fight with his own manager (Billy Martin, who is probably baseball’s most famous drunk after Mantle and Ruth); and some of A-Rod’s contemporary Yankees teammates, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens (hold on … those guys all have something in common with A-Rod … that’s right! Suspected PED use!)
I’ll be honest: I personally don’t give a shit about PED use, especially by guys who used steroids et al. before baseball outlawed them. I can’t speak for everyone, but if I were a borderline Major Leaguer who thought I could possibly add a couple of miles per hour to my fastball or twenty feet to my fly balls to keep me in the Big Leagues, you better fucking believe I’d do it. You know how much money is at stake for these guys? I don’t even blame Barry Bonds for going on the juice: He turned himself into the greatest player of all time! Can you honestly say, if you were in his shoes, that you wouldn’t do that? Wouldn’t even think about it? And how do you call it “cheating” when it wasn’t against the rules at the time? Are Hank Aaron and Willie Mays cheaters because they took amphetamines to get up before games? (Both players have admitted to using “greenies”–a common practice in baseball for decades before it was outlawed a couple of years ago.)
The self-righteousness people have over this just pisses me off–and Yankees fans are the worst. When Melky Cabrera got suspended last year, it created a bunch of weirdness for the eventual World Series champs, but San Francisco fans didn’t say, “He’s not a REAL Giant” (hold the Bonds jokes); when Bartolo Colon got suspended last year, Oakland fans didn’t say, “He’s not a REAL Athletic” (hold the Giambi jokes); when Jay Gibbons got suspended, Baltimore fans didn’t say, “He’s not a REAL Oriole” (hold the Rafael Palmeiro jokes).
Every team had guys who took PEDs. Every team in the history of sports has employed irredeemable assholes at some point. There’s no such thing as a REAL Yankee, unless by “real” you mean, “a flawed human being who just happens to be good at baseball.” So get off your high horse, Yankees fans. You’re not special, and neither is A-Rod. To me, the worst part of this situation is that baseball might suspend A-Rod and bail you out of his ridiculous contract, because you and A-Rod deserve each other.