Thursday, November 6, 2014


A lot can be said about Alex Rodriguez. He’s a scumbag. He’s a liar, a sinner, a juicer, a 'roid head… go ahead, go on and on. If you’re a sports fan, a baseball fan, a parent... you're disappointed. You are entitled to your opinions.   I however am not going to go down that dark road.  I’m also not an Alex Rodriguez fan.  “How’s that possible?” you ask.  My answer is simple… I choose wisely. I was always a Jeter guy, not a Nomar Garciaparra or Alex guy. That being said, the guy's human, he's had missteps, we all have at one time in our lives. And to be perfectly honest, unless the guy came after me and my family, I'm not about to hate the dude.

Now look, I'm not exactly here to reprimand anyone for hating Alex. I am however curious as to why.  Alex Rodriguez is not the only one who made stupid decisions in life. He is however the only one being whipped fiercely.  The only thing I can tell you is that as a parent, as a fan of this great game, you need to rise above it.  We know Alex is tainted. That's old news. Here's a reminder on some other old news... many others have done the same thing or worse to disgrace the game or other sports... and they've been "cleared".  Not Alex. Never Alex. 

Alex Rodriguez admitted to using Performance Enhancing Drugs.  He didn’t come over to the states and infect everyone with Ebola and he sure as hell didn’t murder anyone. He did however lie to baseball fans everywhere… to my son, to your son,  and had denied ever taking PEDs.  But let’s make sure we tell the whole story here…

Ray Lewis was involved in a murder trial for an actual murder. Remember that?

Ryan Braun denied taking PEDs, had a sample collector fired from his job because he was hell bend on looking like he was wrongly accused. Then, later, Braun admitted he lied about it.

Lance Armstrong went on national television and told Oprah Winfrey he never failed a test after he won 7 Tour De France championships only to later admit that he made up the whole thing and doped for years.

Yet, Lance Armstrong is interested in coming back to racing, and his fans still wear his yellow LIVE STRONG bracelets all over the world. He's forgiven because he apologized. Braun returned to the Brewers after a 65 game suspension and continues to play… his fans welcome him with opened arms because he fessed up.

Ray Lewis’s attorneys negotiated a plea deal with the D.A. involved in his murder case and charges against Lewis were dismissed. He even gave a misleading statement to police on the morning of those killings!  I guess that didn’t matter... 

He was given 12 months probation and then went back on the field. The Ravens won the Super bowl with his help in 2001… and Ray Lewis was the MVP.  Ray Lewis was forgiven.  But Alex Rodriguez is the liar, the scumbag, the sinner and the juicer.  Not the others... just Alex Rodriguez.

I was surprised by Ian O’Connor’s piece on the ESPN pages. It was titled “Don’t bother with the apology, A-Rod”. In it, he began: 

“This time around, Alex Rodriguez should take a pass on the apology. We know that he is not sorry he used performance-enhancing drugs, again, and that he is only sorry he got caught… “

Well… OK. But in the context of what I just told you about the others, it would make sense to apologize for your bad behavior.  Fans forgive, don't we? Oh yeah, it's Alex, I guess an apology won't work. 

What ARod did was dumb, really dumb. But as a father, I think it’s more important that I steer my children away from him more than hate him directly.  He’s clearly a poor role model. He clearly made mistakes, but so did the others. And not just Ryan Braun, Ray Lewis and Lance Armstrong, but many before them as well. You can fault Alex for being dumb, maybe even for not having a spin machine PR firm showing him in a more positive light. But I ask you... if you're constantly being beaten up in the press, how would you react?   You'd serve your sentence and come clean. Alex did that.... it clearly isn't enough.

Athletes are role models.  I remember once Manny Ramirez, who by the way, tested positive for PEDs twice, only to recently be considered for a job as a coach with the Chicago Cubs, said  "I don’t want to leave the game like I did. I also want to show my kids that if you make a mistake, don’t quit. Just go back and fix it. And if you’re going to leave, leave the right way....I want to be a role model."

Positive quote. I applaud that. The only problem with it was Manny didn't realize that he was a role model all along. At the time, I wrote in WHY YOU WERE ALWAYS A ROLE MODEL MANNY... this:  

"Ramirez is just too immature to realize he was ALWAYS a role model for kids."

I also wrote in that piece that Manny deserved a 3rd chance. Call me crazy, but I did.  Whether you want to be a role model or not, you are one, and it’s how your present yourself that’s important.  Manny was selfish, and so is ARod. But strangely, Manny is forgiven… Lance is too… but not Alex Rodriguez.  He continues to get crucified by the fans, by ESPN and others.

I was shocked by a few tweets from Dick Vitale today. He tweeted:

Interesting. So, while not coming out directly and blasting ARod, he'll pin it on others... and wait! Mike Lupica hates ARod? Where’s the news? As a fan of Dick Vitale, it's pretty disappointing to see him, under the ESPN name to blast a player publicly.  Meanwhile David Ortiz showed up on a positive PEDs list ,but Dickie V has no problem posing for pictures with him.   

Amazing. Now look, I have nothing personal against Lupica or Vitale. I just wish they'd see the double standard here. Hey Dick, you're a hypocrite. Get over yourself.   

It’s too easy for sports writers. It's too easy to write about a player being a disgrace because, if they wrote what I'm writing, they'd get trashed. 

My thought is this; How about being provocative and write something that's different.  I didn’t bother reading Lupica today… because it’s more of the same.  “Alex is a disgrace.” Yup, we get it… and we agree… my question is… what about the other tainted athletes in all sports? What about the other athletes that skate for bad behavior?  They are never included in sports guy's articles ripping of Alex, but they should be.  It’s poor journalism. Hey Mike Lupica... Hey Bill Madden, your agenda is boring. Do some research. Sorry, that’s my opinion.

A person tweeted this the other day: “Alex makes it so hard for me to root for him.” It’s heartbreaking for a fan, and it’s 100% accurate.  ARod blew it and he’s blown it over and over again. But the haters just can’t get enough.  You all wanted him to get suspended for the full season, and he was.  Now he’s done the noble thing, he admitted using PEDs, and suddenly, that’s not enough either.  Now you want him banished, hanged, whipped into submission… even dead.  Why?  Again, I don’t like Alex Rodriguez as a player, and as a human being, I kind of feel sorry for him. It's ridiculous. When is Alex allowed to be forgiven?  Before you tell me "he did it to himself", I ask you... what did he do to himself? PEDs? OK, and? 

O’Connor writes this in his piece, literally insinuating that ARod would do it again if he could:

...if he were being completely honest with himself and the fans, Rodriguez would admit that in an attempt to extend his career and earn the $61 million the Yankees owe him over the next three years, he might cross over to the dark side again if he can only find more discreet chemists and cousins.”

Really Ian?  I love ya, but really? That's absurd.

Look, forgiveness is a bitch. As fans, we don’t want to be disappointed when it comes to players and many times, when players come clean on wrongdoing, it’s over and we can all move forward.  Alex messed up many times, and fans have left the slugger's side. It’s a wicked web, but here’s the thing; it’s HIS wicked web, not mine and not yours.  As a father, as a fan, all I can do is hope the guy figures it out and steer my kids toward positive role models. I can't hate him, I just realize that he's not my problem.  Hating him gets me nowhere.  For me personally, I just move on.

Look, there is no question that if I’m the New York Yankees, I am figuring out a legal way to void Alex’s contract.  The marriage is clearly not working. He's clearly a poison they don't want to deal with. The once home run champion is tarnished forever and if the Yankees are truly full of class, they would suck it up and cut him loose.  But will they? Who knows, honestly.  That's the business side of it.  

Personally,  I believe in 2nd chances, 3rd and even 4th. But right around the 4th mess up, I'm reconsidering how to channel my energy.  Am I gonna yell that Alex Rodriguez is a loser? Not really... I just need to circle the wagons and make sure my kids understand what positive role models are.

As a fan of the game, ARod is a sad story, but it was also sad when the whole "PEDs gang" went before Congress years ago.  Mark McGwire has since admitted to using and then secured a hitting coach job with the Dodgers.  Nelson Cruz failed a PEDs test and came back with the Orioles this year and cranked out a bunch of home runs to help get them to the playoffs. 

When he was finally finished with his suspension, this appeared on the Gammons Daily: New Life for Nelson Cruz. Seems like a positive headline to me.  You'd never see a headline like that for ARod.  Cruz and McGwire are forgiven.  Alex Rodriguez is the liar and scumbag though.  I don’t get it. Or maybe I do. This isn’t about ARod’s sins at all… this is about ARod, the individual.

I often wonder is Alex didn’t sign that monster deal with the Texas Rangers all those years ago, if he would have that stigma attached to him. Sure, the PEDs use, the foolish way he deals with the media doesn't help, but I almost feel like him looking greedy came off bad.  From that day forward, people were gunning for him to fail.  Even Selena Roberts did. 

She probably sold 10 books in the process, but there is no question she was trying to help destroy him in 2009, all the while capitalizing on his popularity.  Well, it was a pile on and it sucks.  Since 2009, when that ARod interview with Peter Gammons took place, there have been 22 times a major league player has been caught or accused of using PEDs, some have been repeated.

But Melky Cabrera is back playing with the Blue Jays. Marlon Byrd’s still playing. Even Jhonny Peralta apologized and signed a big deal this past winter with the Cardinals.  But Alex Rodriguez confesses and according to Ian O’Connor… according to Mike Lupica, or the "hate ARod" fans… it’s too late.

Forgiveness for ARod will never be in the cards. No matter how much Bald Vinny wants to sell his T-Shirts or Mike Francesa backs Alex or no matter how much I think there’s a double standard, it doesn't matter.  Alex is a criminal. A murderer. A rapist, oh yeah... and a PEDs user. 

It’s finally crystal clear to me.  It’s not about his sins… it’s about him. He's the most hated man in America who virtually did the same thing as the many I’ve listed, and in some cases, not as bad.  But it doesn’t matter. ARod’s the bad guy.  ARod will never be forgiven. 

The others? Yup.. they’re free from judgement.  

Not Alex. He's the worst and it makes no damn sense.

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