Saturday, June 20, 2015

Alex Rodriguez

When I go to the health club, which I do at least 5 times a week when my schedule permits, I like to listen to music while watching sports without sound on my TV screen. But I switch the channel if they're showing a Yankees win - although I am usually willing to see highlights of a Mets loss.

Today, I was vexed to find that all sports networks had basically gone to full-time, wall-to-wall A-Rod coverage in honor of his 3,000th hit, making all of them unwatchable for me because it was associated with a Yankees win. The Mets network was part of this as well - they appear to cover the Yankees almost coequally with the Mets (and they used to run lots of Jeter ads), whereas I have the impression that the Yankees network not only covers nothing but the Yankees, but verges on covering only Yankees wins - if they lost yesterday or it's the offseason, they show past Yankees wins.

Why am I really not particularly anti-A-Rod?  Well, it's true that he's an admitted cheater, but consider lots of other baseball and football superstars. He also appears not to be an enormously nice person, but again think about other superstars in all the major sports.  Being a jerk may both help one to become a great player, and then is encouraged by the treatment one gets from everyone.

Perhaps I like the fact that A-Rod is so NOT a "true Yankee."  First, in 2000, he wanted to come to the Mets.  But they were too stupid to want a 25 year old superstar, who had a realistic chance at that point to be the greatest player in baseball history, and who perfectly fit their needs. They preferred, not only to refuse even to negotiate with him, but also to insult him gratuitously.

Then he wanted to play for the Red Sox, but the players union wouldn't let him.  The deal would have required a modest salary giveback, which he was willing to accept, but the union, fearing the "precedent," preferred to make sure that only the Yankees would be interested.

Finally he went to the Yankees, where Jeter selfishly made him to switch to third base even though, at that time, A-Rod was a vastly superior defensive shortstop.  But Jeter didn't care about the team's welfare, as his own ego was evidently more important.  He of course has always gotten a free pass for this.  Glad though I was to see the Yankees weakening their defense (relative to what they could have done) for no good reason, I felt a bit bad for A-Rod about this, as he might otherwise have ranked either just with Honus Wagner, or else all alone, as clearly the greatest shortstop of all time.

Anyway, here's hoping that the Yankees lose the next game at which he reaches a milestone, if I am going to the health club the next day.

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