The text message i never wanted to receive…

“Are you watching Sportscenter? If you aren’t, turn it on…something about your boy Alex, and you’re really not going to like this one”.

amd_arod_2003.jpg

No kidding.
I don’t even really have or know the right words to say right now. To put it simply, I am devastated and on the verge of tears. This is AWFUL news for baseball, period. I’m not going to act like this affects me more because i am a HUGE A-Rod fan. I am not going to act like it affects me more because ever since he came to the Yankees in 2004, i have ALWAYS ALWAYS defended him, be it in the stadium, online, in person or on the phone.
It affects us all. A-Rod fans, Yankees fans, and Baseball fans in general. The game we know and so wholeheartedly love carries around tarnished legacy and each one of our superstars is being impacted.

Barry Bonds.
Jason Giambi.
Sammy Sosa.
Mark McGwire.
Jose Conseco.
Miguel Tejada.
Rafael Palmeiro.
Jason Grimsley.
Chuck Knoblauch.
Roger Clemens.
Kevin Brown.
Andy Pettitte.
Eric Gagne.
Brian Roberts.
Jason Gibbons.
Troy Glaus.
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.
Jose Guillen.
Scott Schoeneweis.
Gary Matthews Jr.
Rick Ankiel.
Paul Lo Duca.
David Justice.
Jeremy Giambi.
Gary Sheffield.
Paul Byrd.
Mike Stanton.
Alex Rios.

And now,

Alex Rodriguez.

All these players have been implicated in one way or the other by steroid allegations.

Alex + 103 other players were implicated today.

I remember when the thing to say was “At least we have Alex who can help wipe the slate of the Barry Bonds saga clean”. What do we say now?

For all we know, no one is clean. Everyone seems to have been doing it in 2003. No one is a safe bet.

The sport we know and love has been forever tainted.

Well, at least i will always have Mickey Mantle.

++++

I am still trying to compose my thoughts, but despite how crushed i am by this news, i still love A-Rod and yes, still do believe he is the best player of our time. I am so so so so sad this had to come about and tarnish a great player’s image, and allow anyone to question his natural ability, but unfortunately now, i guess i’ll have to live with it.

I still love and support Alex Rodriguez.

Right now, i do not have the energy to explain why and i am so grateful to Rob Neyer at ESPN for doing it for me, so i’m just going to go ahead and copy and paste. My sentiments, exactly.

———–

However it shakes out, A-Rod still a great player
– By Rob Neyer (ESPN).

Today — Feb. 7, 2009 — a date which will live in infamy …

At least for Alex Rodriguez.

His image, so obviously, so often clumsily constructed, has been shattered into a million tiny pieces. You could say whatever you wanted about his astronomical salaries and his postseason struggles and his “Single White Female” relationship with Derek Jeter, but you couldn’t argue that he wasn’t perhaps the most talented baseball player on the planet.

Until now, perhaps. Now, some of the pundits will argue that A-Rod wasn’t so great after all; and further, that even if he was a great player, his (alleged) cheating should taint his entire legacy and perhaps even keep him out of the Hall of Fame.

But then there’s this …

I’m reading Tom Verducci’s new book, and flagging passages worth returning to later. As you’ve no doubt heard, most of the material about Alex Rodriguez isn’t particularly flattering. I’ve flagged most of those parts. But I also flagged this one:

Rodriguez did impress his teammates with a relentless work ethic. They found him to be the baseball equivalent of a gym rat. He knew everything going on around baseball and he never stopped working. One night in 2007 he showed up in the dugout 10 minutes before the first pitch with blood dripping from his hands and knees. “What the hell happened to you?” somebody asked.

Rodriguez explained that he just had been running full tilt on the treadmill in the weight room when the belt broke and he went flying off the back end of the machine, skinning his hands and knees as he was thrown into a wall. Who the hell ran at sprinting speed on a treadmill right before a game was about to start? The most talented player in baseball did. That was A-Rod, too.

“Nobody has ever worked harder in my memory than this guy,” [Joe] Torre said. “Jeter, I’m sure he does his weight work in the wintertime. In the summertime he gets dressed and gets the hell out of there. He doesn’t hang out. Nobody’s in better shape than Alex. Nobody works harder than Alex. For a star player, who gets there as early as he gets there, and still he might hear Coach Larry Bowa say, ‘You need to take groundballs.’ And he’ll do whatever it takes. He’ll do it all the time. He’s just a workaholic.”

Said Bowa, “If he missed on a slow roller, the next day he’s out there early and we’re working on slow rollers. If he missed a backhand, the next day we’re working on backhands. This guy would be the first one to admit, ‘I need to work on that,’ or, ‘I didn’t approach that ball the right way, so let’s go work on it.’ And that’s why he was such a great player.”

I hope Alex Rodriguez didn’t cheat. If we do find out that he cheated, I will wish that he hadn’t. But whatever happens, I’m not going to change my opinion that he’s a great baseball player. Like many of the greatest players, he’ll do whatever it takes to be the best player he can be. For a stretch of five or 10 years — and yes, perhaps even today still — being the best player could have meant cheating. Maybe the cheaters were wrong; that’s the direction in which I lean, probably because I’ve got a streak of the moralist in me. But I will not sit idly while great athletes looking for an edge — not all that different from the many generations before them — are demonized by the high priests of baseball opinion. I will not.

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4 comments

  1. levelboss

    Lola Belle, MS – congrats on your graduate degree

    first of all.. where ya been? although it’s been the offseason, there have been things happening like CC, AJ, and Mark.. and then Torre’s book.. and now..ugh

    i was shocked when i read about A-Rod this morning, and i wonder who the other 103 players are

    i’m usually at..
    Confessions of a She-Fan – http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/
    Flair For the Dramatic – http://flairforthedramatic.mlblogs.com/
    The Yankees Baseball Whisperer – http://tybw.mlblogs.com/
    The Future Blog of the Red Sox – http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com/

    or any number of other blogs.. mlblogs is rockin now with quite a tight community
    keep blogging, Lola!

  2. Lola loves the Yankees

    Levelboss!!!! I missed you!!!!!!!!
    Thanks so much for the congrats :-D. You have always been a great supportive friend here. I am so sorry i have been away. Theres been so much going on in the baseball world. I have been away too long. I told Mark that i plan to be in full swing once the season starts. I’m talking back to old times…live blogging, analysis, news coverage, the whole nine. I miss here sooooo much!! =)
    How are you?

  3. Lola loves the Yankees

    I know…this economy is bananas 😦 We all are affected, but i hope u arent too affected!

    I was going to head over to Spring Training this year, but i decided to just save the $$ for going to games. I cant wait to see the new stadium!!! =)

    How do u think the Yanks will do? I love all the off season shuffling, especially CC and Tex!! 😀 How badly do u think this will affect A-Rod’s game? 😦

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