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The Mass Media

Sports Spiel: Thoughts on A-Rod’s Latest Scandal


Courtesy of Keith Allison on Flickr




Sure, the Red Sox have had their fair share of problematic locker room egos, the most notable of them being Manny Ramirez. Who could forget when he slapped Kevin Youkilis, or when he shoved the Red Sox’s travelling secretary? Both events are well-documented in Terry Francona’s new book, The Red Sox Years.

After the 2003 season, it wasn’t that I didn’t have faith in Manny and the “Cowboys” that would later emerge, but questions like “How can we improve this team? We were so close,” began circulating in my mind. The 2003 sequence of events, served as the pinnacle of the curse for us Red Sox fans . How does it get worse than falling short of the World Series in game 7 of the ALCS, with out best pitcher on the mound, in extra innings, by way of a walk-off homerun?

It just simply couldn’t get worse, so how could you blame me for wanting to make major changes? Grady Little had to be replaced, even if it was by a bald-headed coach that I had never heard of before. Then when I heard THE A-Rod was available, I dubbed it a no-brainer. I envisioned that even Ramirez was thinking there was no way he’d be staying in Boston for long. The A-Rod trade presented the Sox’ front office with the opportunity to trade a top-20 all-time hitter/headache for a top-5 all-time player.

By now everyone knows the A-Rod trade fell through and the Sox went on to win two rings without him. A-Rod was a great Yankee (at times), most notably in 2009 when they won the World Series and he actually played well throughout the run. Today, everyone hates Rodriguez, dubbing him the biggest cheater to ever live.

Despite his mistakes, I would still go back in time and do whatever it took to get A-Rod. In order to understand the magnitude of the previous sentence you must first understand my love for Ramirez. Manny was being Manny and I, for one, respect anyone who can be so unserious, yet still remain very serious.

Many people forget that at one point in Ramirez’ career he just couldn’t hit the slider, so everyday he had pitchers and pitching machines work him inside with those sliders. At his peak, he became one of the best tight inside slider hitters to ever play the game, a feat that many forget was attributed to his everyday hard work. If there was anything diminishing, it was his defense.

A-Rod, on the other hand, was five tools of greatness. When he gave up shortstop at the all-star game just so Cal Ripken, Jr. could man the position one last time, I thought to myself “Wow, this guy is a saint.” Then the steroid rumors became reports.

Did I/ Do I have a problem with steroids? No, I don’t, because how can we, people who don’t play these professional sports, deny those, who do play the professional sports, the ability to do what they need to do in order to protect their bodies from the dangers of the rigorous everyday grind, when in reality they are doing it to entertain you and I. 

I still wish we acquired A-Rod because I know that we Red Sox fans would have received him far better than any Yankee fan ever could. We could have offered him 81 days of abusing the green monster rather than a pesky, no pun intended, 18. Most importantly, we would have given him the ability to play his natural position.

For me it wasn’t striking that A-Rod cheated, because really, who didn’t? It bothered me to have to hate A-Rod because he was a Yankee. I could see that being a Yankee bothered him, too. He would scream rounding bags in Canada and karate chop his way through the playoffs. This wasn’t the A-Rod I wanted in a Red Sox uniform, nor was it the A-Rod that I watched in Seattle and Texas. This A-Rod had taken a backseat to the man who brought the city of New York four rings, so when the A-Rod and Derek Jeter “beef” was aired out in the media, it was only natural that the fans sided with Jeter. What A-Rod was missing was our fan base, because we weren’t looking for the next ring. We just wanted one and if we never got it we’d still love him, through thick and thin. 

We are now seeing the same exact thing in Los Angeles, a situation where someone who has won is butting heads with someone who hasn’t. I do want to thank Rodriguez for Feb. 16, 2004, the day he, the Rangers and the Yankees all agreed on a trade, effectively ending the Curse of the Bambino. So no, A-Rod, I don’t hate you for taking steroids, lying about it, admitting to it, saying you would never do it again and then getting caught doing it again. Nor do I hate you for not coming to Boston and being traded to New York because even that was way out of your hands. I really just hate you for being a b****, but most importantly, I pity you for not being great because to me, you once were.