Posted by FlyAtTheThigh | 5/09/2009 11:05:00 AM | Alex Rodriguez, Arod, Steroids
I'm not the type to care what a player does off the field. I don't hold athletes up on some pedestal or consider them heroes/rolemodels/whatever. What players want to do in their lives isn't my business or concern.
I'm also not the type to get hung up on how a player goes about performing his business on the field. I don't care if players run hard on every ground ball or whether they are "trying" or "caring about the game". I don't care why Adam Dunn hits his 40 homers, they count nonetheless. Maybe I should care, but I don't. Clubhouse chemistry? It may be important, but I don't give it as great a weight as some in a sport, like baseball, that is mostly driven by individual performances.
In short, I just can't bring myself to -hate- most players for anything. A strong dislike as to a player is about as far as I can go, and even then, it's not an all encompassing ordeal like it's becoming with ARod.
Watching Albert Pujols or Ryan Braun on the field makes me want to burn things to the ground, but it has nothing to do with who they are. I simply dislike them because they hit 45 bombs a year against the Cubs and probably worship Satan in the dugout. Brett Favre's play doesn't send me into histrionics, but the constant media play has greatly contributed to my stomach turning any time someone mentions the number four. Alex Rodriguez, however, has mixed both the on field and media aspects and created a perfect storm of garbage that has convinced me that I do, in fact, hate him.
Let's start with the latter aspect: the media coverage. Who can forget ARod's assault on Selena Roberts a few months back (the one where he was glowing like a pregnant Oompa-Loompa). She stalked him, she came to his house - where he sleep! where he goes to play with his toys! Has any major superstar ever come off as more of a child than ARod? He had just gotten caught for using steroids, so he starts throwing stones at the person who caught him. This is akin to a boy getting caught with transgender porn and then blaming his mom for walking into his room (sorry Mom). Add this little incident to the press conference yesterday when Rodriguez made the inherently condescending remark that he had "let his bat answer the questions" and you've got a mix of off field remarks that earns my ire.
Rodriguez isn't fully to blame for the media that surrounds him in the same way that Favre isn't wholly at fault. ESPN's coverage of yesterday's first at bat homer really turns my stomach. Rodriguez is a caught cheater who goes yard, the very act that people most readily associate to his brand of cheating, and all becomes right in the world once he hits a bomb? Is Major League Baseball reeling so much from the Manny situation that they need to brush Rodriguez's shortcomings under the rug so as to give the sport a face? Within three segments, ESPN discussed ARod's heroics and then had a segment of various players discussing how disappointed they were with Manny. Are Arod's sins no longer relevant?
It's not just the way he handles himself in the media spotlight, or how the media handles him, that contributes to my newly born hatred. Watching him play has made me sick. Let's not even deal with the infamous slap in the playoffs a few years back or the game against (I think) Toronto a year or two ago where he stopped behind the third baseman and allegedly yelled "I got it" so as to have the third baseman give up on the play and the ball fall to the ground. New allegations have arisen saying that he had deals with players from other teams to tip signs so as they would do the same for him should he be slumping. Personally, I find this much more disgusting than any performance enhancing drugs.
The action that really put it over the top for me was Rodriguez's reaction to hitting the homerun last night against Baltimore. Considering my second paragraph, it's ironic that something as simple as him standing, watching, and flipping a bat would be what puts my hatred on the map. It's not just that he stood there, posing, and then flipped the bat before trotting. That move was more of the straw that broke my back. We have a guy in Rodriguez who has been nailed for cheating, lying, looking like a complete ass during national interviews, comes across as a prima donna, and generally rubs people the wrong way. In his first at bat, an at bat that he should know everyone would be watching, he elects to act in the exact same manner that has cost him a lot of fans in the first place.
Is he just stupid? This is the same guy who got into a car with his cousin within 24 hours of stating it was his cousin that had injected him with steroids. Does he think he is above the public eye? He apparently has a full staff of image consultants, yet he seems to be incapable of doing anything to repair the damaged view that the public holds for him.
It's hard for me to hate a public figure (or anyone, for that matter). I'm a sports fan and when I sit down to watch a game, I want to be entertained for three hours and then spend the next couple of hours complaining about Aramis Ramirez dislocating his shoulder. As far as I'm concerned, athletes are simply tools for my entertainment. How they go about their business on the field or what they do at home isn't my concern. Rodriguez has found a way to change my perspective. He's pompous, stupid, and seems to have a belief that he is better than the rest of the world. He breaks the rules then attempts to shift the blame. He is the epitome of a spoiled, petulant child. He is everything that is bad about sports, both on and off the field, which is an incredible thing to say about a man with his talent. I have become convinced: I hate ARod.
As Teams Look On, Rodriguez Details Steroid Use (New York Times)
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