Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

Archive for the month “February, 2009”

My all-time Red Sox team: Second Base

A lot of second basemen have come and gone during my years as a Sox fan (starting in 1969). With the exception of the current occupant, none of them are what you would call a superstar, and, unfortunately, Dustin Pedroia is ineligible for my all-time team because he hasn’t played three full season with the Sox yet — Who made up these rules? Oh, yeah, I did.

So, two players stand out the most to me: Jerry Remy, and Marty Barrett. The Rem Dog might be the sentimental choice, as he remains a major figure in Red Sox Nation — president, I believe. He played 685 games at second base for the Sox, scoring 385 runs and knocking in 181.

Barrett had a longer tenure, playing 906 games at second, scoring 417 runs and driving in 311. Both players had about the same batting average, around .280 or so, and both were heads-up, smart players.

What tips the scales for me, however, is Marty Barrett pulled off the old hidden ball trick three times — twice against the California Angels in a two-week period! I remember hearing Ned Martin call one of those games. Only Johnny Pesky had as many outs with the hidden ball trick as Marty Barrett in a Sox uniform — so Marty is my all-time Red Sox second baseman. (Check with me a year from now and I’ll have to make my choice Dustin Pedroia, but give Marty his due for now.)

Next up: Third Base

Young and stupid

When asked by a reporter why he failed to do anything about steroids in baseball before their widespread use became public knowledge, commissioner Bud Selig responded, “Back in the ’90s, I was young and stupid.”

Sports reporters don’t get it

Since the A-Rod story broke over the weekend, the sports talking heads and scribes have been bending over backwards to make excuses for the guy, to wonder at the anger of fans, and to insist he belongs in the hall of fame. I heard commentator after commentator on ESPN radio say steroids should not be part of the equation when it comes to Hall of Fame balloting.

And today, Dan Shaughnessy of the Globe writes, “Why all the hate for Alex Rodriguez?”

These guys just don’t get it. We are all aware that A-Rod isn’t the only one… painfully aware. But no player in history has profited more from baseball. He lives a dream life so far removed from the rest of us — and STILL he has to cheat. That’s what galls us. And let’s not pretend, though so many of the sports mongers do, that A-Rod is the only one absorbing hate. There’s plenty of hate out there for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds… and those guys are all but retired.

Shaughnessy says:

He’s not really sorry, the saying goes. He’s only sorry he got caught. How does that make him different from the rest of us? Any of you ever call the IRS to mention that you forgot to report some of your income from your 1998 tax return? Bet you’d tell them you were sorry if they caught you.

Alex Rodriguez being caught using steroids is not the equivalent of you or I being caught cheating on our taxes. It’s the equivalent of Bill Gates being caught cheating on his taxes. Someone who has it all, but wants more. Most of us can forgive some low-level relief pitcher just trying to get to the majors who might turn to PEDs… not that we excuse it, but we can understand the motivation. 

Shaughnessy also reminds us there are 103 other names of players who tested positive in 2003, and suggests we might whistle a different tune should any Sox players turn up on that list… Well, this is the whole point. We shouldn’t have to worry about this, but now we do. Why, because A-Rod was outed. You can blame the union, MLB or the Feds (or, as I mentioned before, Barry Bonds), but ultimately it was Alex Rodriguez who made the choice to use. It’s his responsibility. That’s why we hate him — and the truth is (again, Dan is using hyperbole) that it isn’t hate directed at A-Rod. It’s anger.

By the way, Dan, I don’t cheat on my taxes. If you do, maybe that explains your attitude.

Roid Rage

The Alex Rodriguez story hit Saturday. Maybe you heard about it. I know we’re all getting somewhat jaded about the issue of performance enhancing drugs and our elite athletes. In fact, some people have started to feel sorry for A-Rod. Not me.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmero, Mark Maguire, Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettite and now Alex Rodriguez decided they wanted an edge, that their god given talents were not enough. So they took steroids. They did this for selfish reasons. For a bigger contract. For the prestige of hitting the most home runs. Whatever. They made this decision.

On ESPN Radio all weekend I heard talk of who A-Rod should blame for leaking his name and his test results. Is it the feds, the union, MLB? (Personally, I think it was Barry Bonds or his attorneys, as he is the only one who stands to benefit from this disclosure.) If A-Rod is ashamed, embarrassed or if he loses endorsements because of this, and wants to assess blame, then he should check his mirror. No one forced him to take steroids. He made this decision. Is it right that his name has surfaced in this connection after the players were promised anonymity during the 2003 tests? No. But it happened and A-Rod has no one to blame but himself. Live with it.

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