There is a story that I would like to share with you all. A story of two young boys. These boys were close. Whenever these two were together, you could just tell that the bond went deep. It was a brotherhood in the truest sense. But along the way something happened. They were made to be polar opposites. One was demonized and chastised, while the other was praised and respected. Then, the one being chastised did something terrible, and while the other didn't outright say it, you could tell there was disappointment there.
"The Good Son" with Elijah Wood and Macaulay Culkin is probably one of my favorites. I will admit that I kind of wanted Henry's (Culkin) mom, Susan to realize there was something wrong with her son and get him help. I never thought that I would witness something like that in baseball. Don't know what I am talking about? Look no further that Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter.
ARod, and Jeter came up at about the same time. Arod making his debut at 18, and Jeter at 21. The star shortstops were the best of friends. But we did something horrible to that relationship. Where we began to put Jeter on a pedestal, even in his rookie year, we never gave ARod a chance. And by we, I mean the fans.
Maybe it started with that Rookie of the Year race. Back then, even the news papers argued against ARod winning. We debated over their ability of the field. Jeter usually won out, in part because of the uniform he wore. We, the fans, put a pressure on ARod to be like Jeter. But why? And how would that effect ARod? Think about it! He was 18 when he made his MLB debut. A kid, for the most part. Still developing a self worth. You tell someone that age they are inadequate often enough, they believe it. And sure, it is easy to say that he should learn to tune it out, and be a professional, but he was a KID. Frankly, as a parent, I don't care how old my children are, if someone attempts to devalue their self worth, they'd have to answer to an angry mom.
But ARod couldn't do that. He couldn't run to his mother. He was a kid, playing at being a man. Spending money, and putting on a brave face. He wanted to perform. He wanted to be like Jeter, because that is what the fans wanted. It is what they expected.
I wonder some days what would have been the story of ARod if he didn't start with Jeter? What if they had been perfect strangers before the came up? What if there never had been a friendship? Would we have judged him by his own talents? Accepted his ability without the comparison to Jeter? Or is it in our nature to belittle, and destroy guys like ARod? Would his downfall have been inevitable?
There is no denying that before he became a Yankee, even before the steroid allegations, he was a talented player. Between he and Jeter, it was a tough contest. But somehow, ARod got pushed into the shadows of our Captain. He became the other guy. And while I adore our Captain and am in NO WAY bashing him, I fell for ARod. Because the "could have beens'" could have been great!
--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer
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