Tuesday, August 3, 2010
6 Reasons For 600 Home Runs: Why People Hate Alex Rodriguez
There has been little positive press for the A-Rod mark, in fact when lovable Jim Thome passed Harmon Killebrew for 10th all-time recently there were well-wishes and congrats from all over the Globe. It's also safe to say that when Thome blasts #600 sometime next year that it will be a far happier event amongst sports geeks.
In sports polls around North America, Alex Rodriguez always fares badly. Even certified douchebags like Jose Canseco and Ben Roethlisberger fare better in some polls. Wherever you go, Number 13 is the player that people love to hate, but why?
#1: Not Only Did He Do Steroids, He Lied About It
Fans don't like being lied to and they hate cheaters. Alex Rodriguez is part of the era that steroids ruled, but he denied it until he was caught. He denied using them in an interview with Katie Couric and to other members of the press. And when he was caught, he blamed the fans for his drug usage whilst also claiming he didn't know he was actually using banned substances. It seemed like a backhanded apology. He also tried to blame his cousin for buying him the drugs and fans don't like the idea of throwing a family member under the bus to save face.
If he had come clean instead of lying and coming up with new excuses by the day, he would have skated like Andy Pettite.The only thing worse than a roid rocket is a rat.
#2: The Contracts
Seattle is one of those sports markets that has few heroes and treats them like Gods. And fans felt slighted by team honchos who traded heroic Ken Griffey and Randy Johnson prior to the 2000 campaign. Amazingly the M's made the playoffs and the fans wanted more A-Rod. But he LEFT, and that sting was the largest psychological boo-boo to a city until LeBron left Cleveland. Mariners felt cheated even before they saw the numbers.
And those digits made Alex Rodriguez a marked man all over the sports world- 10 years and over 250 million bones. He took the money to play for a team he hated which violated the unwritten moral code of baseball fandom.
Next, when he was unsure whether he'd be given a monster salary, he opted out of the final year of his lucrative contract and subsequently signed a new 10 year deal worth $275 million meaning he'll likely retire as a Yankee after making over half a BILLION dollars playing America's pastime. He was blamed for skyrocketing player compensation, and for good reason.
You can make money in the game for sure, even loads of it, but if it becomes the sole determining factor when and where you'll play, you may never be forgiven.
#3: He Cheated On His Wife And Lied
Yes, players cheat on their partners. Some see it as part and parcel of the pro sports experience. One pro (non-baseball) team even has a staff gynecologist to deal with the STDs that players bring home to their spouses. But Alex Rodriguez seemed different. He had the nice psychologist wife and a couple of wee daughters. Like Tiger Woods after him, he seemed to have the dream life. And it was a lie.
A-Rod cheated on his wife with dozens of women in both the U.S. and Canada- strippers, models, and hairdressers. He frequented prostitutes and was seen out with married women like Madonna. He was a womanizing jerk with a difference. Not only did he lie about his daliances, he tried to bully his wife into having references to them removed from court records. He has also never apologized for any of it.
Alex Rodriguez distanced himself from fans by coming across as a spoiled bully with no sense of remorse or accountability whatsoever. And female fans don't like a guy who treats women like they are chattel. It was a lose situation all-around.
#4: He's Too Hollywood
Alex Rodriguez is a pretty man. Through DNA, he just has that certain thing that gruff beer-drinking jocks hate. But not only is he cute, he knows it. He dates actresses and prances around in haute couture and flashes that perfect smile on red carpets. Camera-friendly, A-Rod has been in commercials, movies, and even been on the O'Reilly Factor. He plays for the most pampered team in the game, but seems eerily above the game. He's on the sports page every day with his interviews that seem far too scripted and seems off-put and snide when someone asks a question he doesn't like. A-Rod lives in his own world and you aren't invited in.
He comes across as an aloof, self-absorbed, attention-seeking prettyboy who will do anything or anyone for the spotlight and its accompanying dollar.
Sports nuts love someone they can identify with. They want a guy who goes home to his wife and kids, doesn't pluck his eyebrows, and might have a wrinkled shirt. They want the guy who would rather volunteer his time in a hospital than party with the famous. They want Jim Thome, and Alex Rodriguez is not Jim Thome.
#5: He's A Choker and Unsportsmanlike
Baseball players have an unwritten code of on-field conduct that Alex Rodriguez seems oblivious to. From notorious crossing-the-plate incidents to slapping the ball out of basemen's mitts to calling out during the opposing team's fly ball, A-Rod has pissed off players and fans alike. He sometimes has a childish manner about him- firing hurt glances, arguing calls, and being a general pest. He's prone to defensive lapses resulting in horrendous error streaks and can scare himself in close-and-late situations. A-Rod is emotionally fragile and can indeed crack under the pressure he puts on himself and booing fans don't empower him, they can ruin his game. Rodriguez is also prone to horrendous slumps like the one he is currently mired in. His 5 year long streak of 0-for-29 with runners on base during the postseason instilled a reputation with the fans that may take several repeats of the 2009 postseason to erase.
There is nobody in baseball more watched and critiqued than Alex Rodriguez. Fair or not, his play is analyzed to meticulous detail and he is expected to perform like a man with his salary night in and night out.
#6: He Is Too Damn Good
Once in a generation comes a man who has as many natural gifts as Alex Rodriguez. From high school to the pros, there has been something special about A-Rod. Drugs or not, he is a long and lean embodiment of talent. #13 holds 12 Major League records and is not even close to finished. While his Gold Glove seasons are long behind him, he makes up for it at the plate. A-Rod is a threat to go longball or walk and steal second and third. His statistically-awful current season is still pretty decent and he leads his team in RBIs. With 13 seasons of more than 100 RBIs and 30 home runs, he could be the first admitted steroid user to become enshrined in the Hall of Fame. His dainty swing and svelte body mask a beast of offense. It is terrifying to think of the numbers that this dude would post if he wasn't so focused on trying to impress people and didn't live in his head.
Fans are conditioned to love the underdog and a guy who has been THE ONE since Day One strikes a weird chord in a lot of hearts. Not everyone is blessed with an effortless swing, incredible wheels, and movie-star looks. Folks cannot just be Alex Rodriguez. And because they will never be him, they envy him. And jealousy can become hate.
Alex Rodriguez WILL become the youngest man in North American baseball to hit 600 home runs and once he hits that mark will likely hit 700. Love him or hate him, #13 has cemented his place in sports history. The man who took Cal Ripken's lead and eclipsed him is one of the greatest baseball players of the past half-century. Nothing Alex Rodriguez does off the field nor his conduct on hit will alter his place in the great American game. Baseball is a game of finite numbers, of statistics that young and old can see and analyze and dream about. A-Rod is baseball's dog in lamb's clothing, and like a Bloodhound will smell a new target and capture it.
It's up to us as fans whether we will accept Alex Rodriguez as-is or loathe him. It is our privilege to witness a player of such skill for we may not until we are old and gray. Are we willing to look past the obvious flaws of a monumentally imperfect man to see the perfect player?
Posted by Michel-Exildas Galipeau at 01:17