NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees looks on during batting practice against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Two of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on October 29, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Alex Rodriguez
Did you happen to hear about that Islamic cleric who blamed cleavage for producing earthquakes? Pretty crazy, right? Everyone knows that all seismic activity on the face of the Earth is Alex Rodriguez's fault.
Same thing goes for forest fires, genocide and the continuing popularity of reality TV. If there's any other force of evil permeating your little corner of the world, feel free to go ahead and blame A-Rod for it as well. Lord knows that there isn't anyone alive who feels the least bit of doubt when it comes to ascribing him blame for all manners of things that have little to nothing to do with him.
Tracy Ringolsby of FoxSports.com took up the banner this week when he placed his aim on A-Rod for eroding the essential values of the National Pastime. He rehashes the greatest hits -- opting out of his contract in 2007, yelling at an infielder trying to catch a pop fly, knocking the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hand -- and adds the wildly overblown mound fiasco from Oakland to the ledger. All well and good, although you wonder if there's really any point to constantly going over these things in a sport as rich as baseball.
What's funny about rants like this, egotism and steroids make their appearances as well, is that they romanticize the bygone era of baseball. You know, the good old days when pitchers threw at hitters' heads for whatever reason and were celebrated for playing the game the right way.
Is threatening a man's health really a more noble act than yelling "Ha!" while a pop-up is in the air? It's gotten to the point that you'd expect Jeter to be praised for doing what it takes to win if he were the one shouting while A-Rod would be pilloried for sticking up for a teammate or whatever else is used as justification for headhunting.
Ringolsby goes further, though. A-Rod hasn't just made baseball worse, he's actively trying to ruin people's lives!
Tom Hicks, the man who is attempting to sell the Texas Rangers, was able to cover the Rangers’ share of Rodriguez’s 10-year, $242 million deal signed before the 2001 season, despite Hicks’ bankruptcy problems. It’s the working stiffs with the Rangers, the ones who had their future caught up in a Hicks-created retirement plan, who are left with nothing to show for their efforts. Not that it would matter to Rodriguez. He lives in his own little world, and he is oblivious to anyone else.
What a dastardly fiend! Clearly A-Rod had planned all along to crush the poor employees of the Rangers by accepting a deal that was offered to him willingly and then advise Tom Hicks to leverage his business interests in such a way that he was left without enough money to operate them effectively.
Well, that would explain it other than the fact that A-Rod was more than willing to accept a trade out of Texas to help Hicks get out from under some of his contract. And, come to think of it, he also rid Hicks of any remaining financial responsibility by opting out in 2007. That would bear mentioning, if not for the fact that Ringolsby already used that as a reason why everyone is supposed to hate A-Rod.
We get it, Rodriguez will never be embraced by the baseball world. He cheated, he's a glory hog and all the rest. He's an easy target and, more importantly, a safe one because there aren't many people willing to stand up and say anything positive about him.
That's cool, everyone's free to their own opinion. Let's just stick to things remotely close to factual observations of the world A-Rod inhabits, though, and leave the flights of fancy for the fiction section.