Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Collecting personal favorites: Alex Rodriguez

You make up a list and follow your favorite players by collecting their cards because you like watching them play - or they present a particular image you can identify with in some way. However why chase after someone's cards when you feel like if they appear unreasonable or merely unaccessible?

I was on the Alex Rodriguez bandwagon because he is either the best and most identifiable baseball player in Major League Baseball or at least he is 1A to a guy in St. Louis named Albert Pujols - I found it disappointing for A-Rod to become the most prominent face of the Steroid Era in baseball when he was outed with his positive steroids test.

I was eager to see if he would react by admitting fault or taking the road to denial - he ended up taking the initiative and apologized during an interview with Peter Gammons of ESPN.

During the interview on Monday, it wasn't a surprise A-Rod didn't really answer the pointed questions about the 'who, what, where,' of his PED use specifically - Gammons would ask a question and A-Rod would take a bird walk and call himself out as 'stupid or naive.' Sometimes he'd cite the culture of the era. It seemed like he was more clear about lying about his use [with an interview with Katie Couric in 60 Minutes in 2007]

However, what was surprising is he established a definite time period of his use [2001-03] and if he really couldn't be any more clear about what he took for whatever reason - he did admit to taking PEDS.

Come to think of it, as a guy on the A-Rod bandwagon, I didn't know what to make of his Texas Rangers' years after signing a $252 million contract - he was supposed to be the man down there, but even as he juiced up and put up monster numbers, his teams went nowhere. It was kind of a joke as far as being the best baseball player in the world playing on some garbage teams that weren't able to win. If we are to believe A-Rod's word, his PED use in 2001-03 really is the nail in the coffin to invalidate whatever he did as a Texas Rangers' player.

In the end, some guy named Jose Canseco was again proven right - I snickered when snippets of Canseco's book were starting to come out and he was accusing A-Rod of:

*Being a scumbag for ogling and showing an unhealthy obsession for Canseco's wife.

*A-Rod not being the guy who we thought he is and he may have partaken in some steroid delights.

I can just laugh now because it is all true - and also kind of disappointing.

All the controversy swelling up with tabloid pictures of him with strippers on the road, cheating on his wife, getting a divorce and hooking up with Madonna pissed me off because he was the face of the game - if for nothing else, at least show some class, though he was no different than a Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, who were no saints, but at least have bounced back from their personal problems.

I thought about being petty and in my mind, leaping off the bandwagon - in recent months, things were relatively quiet and I thought it was the end of it. Maybe A-Rod's ability to hit 40 home runs and stink it up when it counts in October was something to watch again as far as drama playing out in Major League Baseball was concerned. I kind of enjoyed the drama of a guy making so much money making the game so simple, yet struggling in the key moments during the postseason.

We thought Joe Torre's [with Tom Verducci] book was the start of a new controversy, but with I don't know what to say - I think people are more disappointed than angry. As much as people don't like A-Rod, he was a golden child compared to Barry Bonds.

Now there will always be doubt and silent critics - no matter what A-Rod does.

Here are my personal favorites - who knows if any of these guys are 'pure,' but certainly there hasn't been anyone outed for PEDs except for A-Rod, right?

Vladimir Guerrero
Tim Salmon
Jim Edmonds
Cal Ripken Jr.
Alex Rodriguez ?
Derek Jeter
Ken Griffey Jr.
Rotating interests [non player specific]
- maybe Manny Ramirez, Ichiro, Albert Pujols

No comments: