Previously on Bleeding Yankee Blue: ARod is in the crosshairs of MLB amongst public outrage over PEDs and the ongoing Biogenesis saga. He has the Yankees in turmoil, whether he intends to or not.
Investigations were allegedly interfered with. Accusations have flown from and at all sides. Fans are deeply divided. Contract speculations are muddying the issue. Press conferences were held. The suspension announcement was made and then itself suspended due to appeals. And our beloved Yankees are caught in the middle.
And now, New York plays the Chicago White Sox at their home park! Just a normal game, right? They aren’t fighting for their playoff lives or anything! I am sure they can focus! Play ball!
Pretty much all we have heard all freaking year has been “ARod, ARod, ARod." Walking around Brooklyn on Monday, a couple Yankee jerseys were spotted with 13 on the back. On the interwebz, wars between Bombers fans were being waged. Rodriguez was the topic of the season, let alone the day.
At any rate, when ARod stepped up to his first at-bat, he was resoundingly booed. The catcalls continued through all three pitches. There were cheers when he he singled, but they were quickly drowned out by more boos. Yes, the Yankees were away, but there were plenty of Yankee fans in the crowd. They were on ARod just as much as the Chicago fans. The camera found one guy clapping for Rodriguez.
Vernon Wells advanced ARod to third and the crowd booed him. The Yankees were down 3-0 in the Second. Getting Rodriguez home would be a statement. That wouldn’t happen. The Yankees offense sputtered, which was a statement in Alex’s defense, however unintentionally.
The White Sox meanwhile, beat the blue blazes out of Andy Pettitte. He left in the third inning allowing 7 runs on 11 hits. Preston Claiborne came in, very quickly dealing with and then escaping from, a bases-loaded jam.
ARod got exactly the same negative treatment for his second at bat. He was loudly cheered for taking a big cut at a fastball for a strike. Celebrations were held throughout the ballpark for his successive pop-out.
As the game wore on, the Yankees themselves just looked tired. Speaking objectively, it was because Chicago was killing them. Speaking subjectively, the Rodriguez 800 pound gorilla was preventing them from concentrating. Yes, Jeter clapped, and yes, the team put as brave a face as they could on it. But as someone who has watched the Yankees countless times, they looked labored and forced to me.
Speaking of Mr Pink-Elephant-in-the-Room, his phrase, ARod once again came to the box to a chorus of hate. The cameras couldn’t find any supporters this time. Loud cheers again when he popped out. This kind of hatred is reserved for special cases no matter what the sport. To receive vitriol this intense, even from fans of the team he plays on, a player has to have done something personally offensive.
Having said that, ARod sells tickets. Upon the announcement Rodriguez would play Monday night, 3,000 were snapped up. People came to see ARod, even if it was to boo him. A statement to his marquee value, to be sure. But the fact that he might soon be banned from the game must be factored into this point.
On the interwebz, ARod was a hot topic. For the most part his detractors heavily outweighed his supporters. Ozzie Guillen memorably tweeted that the whole mess is Madonna’s fault.
its all madonnas fault. every athlete she has been with has gone bad. see canseco, rodman and now rodriguez lol lol lol
— Ozzie Guillen FND (@OzzieGuillen) August 5, 2013
Fans mostly either wanted ARod gone or stoically supported whomever played in Pinstripes. Rodriguez supporters were fewer in number but very vocal. Clashes between camps were frequent. Also entertaining, considering the circumstances.
As for myself, I do my best to stay in the “support him while he is on the team" camp. It is no secret that I personally dislike him. I think he merely plays for the Yankees while Derek Jeter IS a Yankee.
Tonight I supported Rodriguez for three reasons; I have friends who have kids that love the guy; Jeter made a point to support and sit next to him; I don’t want to agree with the guys at the New York Post and their crap. We will not post that jerk-wad front page here. Screw that.
So. At-bat number 4, and fans began singing “Na Na Na Na, Goodbye" to Alex amongst the boos. As he walked back to the dugout after making his out, I could not help but feel bad for him. No matter how much you get paid, no matter how many mistakes you have made, it cannot feel good to have a ballpark full of people celebrating your failures.
By the ninth inning, the Yankees were down 8-1. I just wanted this whole thing to be over. Both the game and the ARod mess. It didn’t take long for that wish to come true and I hated myself for it.
Was it Rodriguez’s fault that the Yankees lost? Not directly. Andy got shelled and Yankee bats once again looked like those ice-stick things you put into beer pitchers at some sports bars.
The Yankees have bigger and better things they need to focus on. ARod, with apologies to those who support him, is only distracting them from this. New York will not win with his mess weighing them down. And as Michael Kay pointed out, Rodriguez has not denied the allegations of steroid abuse against him this time.
Is it any wonder I am writing about baseball figures right now? Who needs this mess?
Anyway, your final: White Sox 8 - Yankees 1.
Chad R. MacDonald
BYB Features Writer
Facebook: New York Yankees the Home of Champions
My Blog: ChadRants
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