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.
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.