Everyone is crying out for peace, yes,
none is crying out for justice.
Peter Tosh, "Equal Rights"
|Tears of a Clown: New York City, of all places, allows A-Rod to bow out "gracefully."|
I come here not to bury A-Rod, although today's performance makes me tempted to grab a shovel.
My emotions are somewhat conflicted when it comes to PEDs.
I don't downgrade PEDs as some would, equating them with the greenies of the 1960s and 1970s. But there's little I can do about the fact that everyone in the MLB of a decade or two ago looked the other way. There's little choice any fan, historian, scholar, writer has to do but do the same.
The truth is, the numbers are the numbers. You can't selectively erase them. And once it became clear that it wasn't just the hulking homer hitters who were doping up, but pitchers, runners, and fielders, the unbalanced became more balanced.
[Quick aside, I never will understand the fraternity that protects users. You had White Sox like Paul Konerko and Frank Thomas adamantly, violently against PED cheating—but ultimately, they looked the other way. The Big Hurt was a HOFer in any era, but Konerko on a more even playing field goes from an are-you-kidding candidate to well, yeah, Hall of Very Good.]
All that said, so much of the coverage of today's unsurprising announcement that the New York Yankees no longer wanted to pay Alex Rodriguez to play baseball for them was effete, flaccid, kowtowing. Press row may feign garrulousness, but damn if the hankies weren't soaked and the Hallmark aisle at Walgreens ransacked bare as A-Rod limped into the sunset.
To wit, MLB.com's Richard Justice, who goes beyond his customary feckless horseshit to set a new bar for beer crying:
Here's hoping that [Rodriguez] understands that plenty of people know how hard he worked to change, and in the end, how much he contributed to the game.
He was a joy to watch. He would do things that would bring you out of your seat, and two innings later, he would do something even more spectacular. For that, every baseball fan owes him.
We were part of the lucky generation that got to watch Alex Rodriguez play baseball. Let's how the ovation he hears at [his last game at] Yankee Stadium on Friday rings in his ears forever.I "owe" Alex Rodriguez? Great player, unique talent, but, nope. A thousand times, nope.
Barry Bonds is the greatest player of my lifetime as a fan. I have mixed feelings about the hubris that drove a no-brainer Hall-of-Famer like Bonds to PEDs. But Bonds never even got the chance to weep his way through a midseason retirement after a shitty partial final season.
Why's that? Well first, he never had a shitty partial final season, rocking a 3.4 bWAR in 2007 that was just three years removed from his final full-season, 39-year-old bWAR of 10.6.
Second, in the most convenient collusion ever called, no team rang him up again. Coming off 3.4 and 4.0 bWAR in his 40s. Three years removed from his fourth consecutive MVP. Remember, it's not that Bonds was insulted with lowball offers and called it a day, or demanded only to return to the Giants.
No calls. No tears.
I get it, Bonds was as tone deaf to the adoration of media and fans as Rodriguez was driven by it, and that makes a big difference when it comes time to roll credits.
Justice, to be fair, pitched the Astros to sign Bonds in 2008—although it's hard to imagine a guy who despised Bonds as much as Justice did wasn't writing it up to take the piss out of the sub-.500 Astros, Bonds himself, or simply to amuse himself for a day.
No matter: Justice sure didn't write a tear-stained homage to Barry as Bonds sat by the phone in March 2008, waiting for a call. Or in April 2008 ... May 2008 ... June 2008 ... ad infinitum.
There are a lot of things that should ring in Alex Rodriguez's ears forever. Cheering isn't one of them.