Okay I get it. A-Rod made "A-Mistake", as he calls it, and forever will be A-ligned with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire. We all wanted to believe that he was clean since he had the most potential to break every meaningful offensive record. A-Rod is 33 years of age, 1 year into his 10 year 0.272 billion dollar deal. He has 553 home runs, 2404 hits, 1606 RsBI and 0.306 BA. With 9 LONG years left in New York, A-Rod will hold records A-Plenty by the time he cries his way into the final year of his contract. Now given his A-dmission (I'm reaching, I know), would I say that he let down his fans?
No. No way in hell. Not even the children whom many assume are "fans" of A-rod are let down. Do you know why? Because no one really cared about A-Rod. I'm a Yankees fan and I can say with utmost sincerity that no Yankee fans really liked him. Yeah, we all loved when he hit home runs and made a flashy play at third but did we really LIKE him as a person? No. He was never Jeter or Cone to us. He was never Tino Martinez or Scott Brosius. Not only that but he didn't make it easy for fans to like him, what with all the Madonna stuff, the masculine strippers, the divorce, the World Series opt out, the Esquire article, the therapist/ life coach stuff, the mental midgetry with RISP, the Arroyo slap, do you get the point? Now that he admitted using performance enhancing drugs, the shock will wear off, and we'll just add this to the aforementioned list of reasons why no one liked him in the first place. We knew too much about A-Rod to give ourselves a chance to like him.
Fans like old timey players because we didn't know them. Sure, we know the Mick was a raging booze hound and skirt chaser (You like the old timey lingo there?) We know Babe Ruth frequented brothels. Hell, even Hank Aaron probably did something wrong (excuse me, Dr. FoxyRotten, but being black is NOT wrong). Maybe we like them because those golden era players weren't under the same scrutiny of players today (Hello Internet, Around the Horn, ESPN, Deadspin, this site, etc.). We see those old players in a mythic light. They had their flaws but the chinks in their armor were never exposed so vehemently. A lot of the salacious material didn't reach the public until the players were gone from the game. In this age, everything happens immediately. If Mickey Mantle got drunk one night, the next day he would be sent to rehab and given the Britney Spears/Linsay Lohan treatment. Babe Ruth would be Elliot Spitzered as a sex fiend. Hank Aaron, and I'm quoting Dr. FoxyRotten here, "would be strung up by a local gang of vigilantes and hung from a tree without a fair judicial hearing" (He called it justice, I called it murder).
Today, A-Rod and all athletes in general, will be torn to shreds because of the era the play in. There are too many sportswriters, too many blogs, too many opinions out there. Is that wrong? No. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but sometimes opinions should be kept private or at least toned down. ESPN's Jayson Stark (Every time I read that name, I think he's a black man) has an article titled "A-Rod Has Destroyed Game's History". Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown has an article titled "A-Rod Hurts Baseball's Past, Present and Future". The NY Daily News' own Bill Madden is calling for the Yankees to cut A-Rod in an article titled "Eating $270M worth it for Yankees to Finally Ditch A-Rod". Helena DeMoura of CNN, has an article titled "Amazonian Indians Accused of Cannibalizing Farmer". I never thought A-Rod had such a strong grip on America's pastime. But why am I telling you about these articles? Well I'll tell you because I'm feeling generous.
Sportswriters, columnists and other media members desperately wanted A-Rod to fit into the mold of their boyhood idols. They wanted a bust of A-Rod to sit next to a bust of Babe Ruth in Cooperstown. They wanted someone to make them forget about Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and every other supposed Willie Mays heir apparent turned steroid abuser. The problem is that sportswriters are the only ones who feel this way and they want us to feel the same. Media members want us to throw ourselves to the ground in tears at the news of A-Rod's confession. I hate to tell you but sorry Bill Madden, the American public gave up A-Rod a long time ago when he screwed Madonna and divorced his wife. Yes, we're all shocked by the confession but will it ruin our lives and the sport of baseball? No. Maybe it ruined Jayson Stark's life or shattered Michael Kay's world, but me, an average baseball fan, well, I just shrug my shoulders and move on. It's just baseball. It's not my life. It isn't the whole world. A-Rod didn't ruin baseball for me. 104 players won't ruin baseball for me. Hell, 100,004 players won't ruin baseball for me. Unfortunately for people like me, and I'm a HUGE asshole, we'll be inundated with this broken legacy, tarnished image, and fallen idol stuff for a long time. Albert Pujols, you're our only hope.