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Only cowards insult injured majesty. –Aesop

When it comes to sports, I can live with steroids and drug use every day of the week and twice on Sunday, before I can stomach the pathetic rejection of integrity and character that manifests itself every time I have to listen to the latest journalist try to leverage another person’s misfortune into her own career coup d’etat.

When Katie Couric had her way with Sarah Palin, she made history. And by “she,” I mean both Couric and Palin. I loathe when comedians make Bush jokes for the same reason I don’t believe in the gym: it’s tiring, boring, everyone does it, and there’s no challenge.

It's the easy way out. And you take it when you can't gain ground on your own merits.

Say what you will about Sarah Palin, but you don’t become governor without being intelligent. Yes, she sounded like an unequivocal buffoon, she looked atrociously daft, and she ultimately cemented her persona as certifiably vapid. Because on the other side of the political see-saw was Katie Couric: the degree of Palin’s perceived idiocy was a direct result of the level of generic, hackneyed condescension that Couric bestowed on her. The most despicable aspect of this sociological push-pull was that both Couric and her proponents mistook Couric’s insipid questioning as seering investigative reporting.

Now look at Selena Roberts, who reached baseball diety status by taking down A-Rod with her latest novel. The similarities between the two tight-lipped, opportunistic, self-aggrandizing, banal also-rans* doesn’t end at the official haircut of middle-aged women who take their careers seriously.

Both were floundering in declining ratings, despite both having all the makings of a blockbuster career. Being a minority in the field may cushion you with the novelty/human interest pad, but it can only do so much if you lack fundamental integrity. And posturing without substance is like a house of's also typically symptomatic of aggressive deflection.

Without a leg to stand on, the only thing people like Katie Couric and Selena Roberts can do is shift the focus away from their emptiness and towards easy stories--essentially larger scale bullies in a much bigger playground.

It's not uncommon for professionals to throw their contemporaries under the bus for the sake of their own career. While it doesn't make it right, and I will NEVER subscribe to the "it's not personal, it's just business" tenet, it's so firmly entrenched in society that all I can is accept it. What I cannot accept is the cowardly behavior of both Couric and Roberts of taking the easiest target in their respective industries and exploiting their vulnerability.

There is no honor in that. None.

A-Rod is far from a saint. I won't even try to defend his extramarital activities or foray into steroids (regardless of the extent of it). Those are irrefutable facts. He cheated on his wife. And he did steroids.

And let's call a spade a spade, that describes the lion share of the current pool of players in the MLB.

I don't care that he went to strip clubs, or had a relationship with an escort. I don't have a daughter I'm trying to marry him off to, and I'm not suggesting he's the poster child for family values. He did steroids and as far as anyone knows, that ended prior to his Yankees' tenure. You can speculate all you want, but until there is proof he juiced in the last few years, there's as much validity to that claim as there is to accusing any other active player. (Speaking of, still no word on the other 103 names on that list, huh. Seems fair.)

It's easy to toss A-Rod another grenade. Just as it was easy to perpetuate the already robust perception of Palin's idiocy. Neither journalist did anything beyond exploiting a celebrity that not only was so profoundly subject to criticism, but even more despicably manipulative, a celebrity that was effectively indefensible. In other words, you can't support A-Rod without it tarnishing your own perception, and you can't defend Palin without being seen as equally "imbecilic."

It's like being an asshole to someone and then saying, "My best friend from camp almost died 6 years ago today." You can't respond to that, even if this is the first you've heard of this "best friend." Because then YOU'RE the asshole for being insensitive. You can't defend A-Rod because then you support drugs and adultery. Roberts found the one person who could garner her unanimous rallying support.

She's using another person who--like him or not--has been through hell. He just got hip surgery, he can't lace his cleats without being accosted. Think about that life. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Unless he killed someone. Unless he molested someone. Unless he committed some crime that was so inhuman that I could muster no sympathy.

But he didn't do any of those things. He screwed up in the same ways that most people in the league already have or are currently doing. And for this, his life has been smeared from here til eternity.

The book is nothing beyond a glorified Burn Book, riddled with hearsay and second hand sources.

Really, Selena? People want to trash talk the most decorated, richest man in baseball? I'm shocked. You really dug deep to find that smoking gun. And for the record, I gained 20 pounds in between my freshman and sophomore years too. Please don't go digging around for urine samples from my formative years to prove I'm an HGH-freak. Thanks, appreciate it.

And pitch-tipping? Really? Sweet Christ. Much like it's suspect that A-Rod was the only name to come off this dense, 6-year old list, it's curious as to when exactly A-Rod was playing for a team that didn't have any other infielders. Because I'm thinking that if Selena Roberts can state with any degree of authority that A-Rod was pitch-tipping, that it stands to reason that someone on A-Rod's team, who played with him day in and day out, PROBABLY WOULD HAVE SEEN IT A LONG TIME AGO.

I don't know whether anything she wrote is true. I know that I very much admire Doug Mienketaskjdahs [sic] for being one of the sole voices of integrity in this whole affair: (LA Times)

You're basically accusing every kid that's gone through puberty that they're on steroids too, huh?" Mientkiewicz said. "He gained a couple of inches height-wise too, if I remember right. . . . I knew what he looked like in ninth grade. He was skinny. Who isn't in ninth grade? He was very dedicated back then, he worked harder than anyone else." One of Roberts' sources was a high school teammate of Rodriguez's, according to the Daily News.

"If you're going to have the [guts] to come out and say something like that, of that magnitude, whether it's a high school teammate or some of the Yankee teammates that have said something, be a man and put your name on it," Mientkiewicz said. "Don't give me the anonymous source [stuff]. Be a man. Be a man and say who you are. That way there's no questioning whether it's real or not."

ANYONE could write an equivalent rag about ANYONE. What stops them? Either laziness, fear of libel, or a conscience. No matter how much I hate someone, I would never do something with that detrimental an effect on their lives.

There's no honor in that.

Congratulations, Roberts. Your book will probably fly off the shelves and be devoured by haters everywhere who have been salivating for any printed word that A-Rod isn't the immortal athlete his talent would suggest he is.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "It's easy in the world to live after the world's opinion. It's easy in solitude to live after our own. But the great man is he, who in the midst of a crowd, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." It's easy to throw someone under the bus who's already been tarred and feathered. What Roberts did was little more than tell a dog who's already rolled over, "Play dead."

I bet Roberts' only regret is that she didn't cash in on crucifying Steve Bartman. I'm looking forward to her inevitable expose on the evils of swine flu, the argument for LeBron James' MVP, the outlandish prediction that Toronto will start 2009 atop the AL East, and/or the groundbreaking news about the first black president. Maybe sprinkle in something about the evils of capitalism somewhere in there, just to add that hint of controversy with significant public favor.

But most of all, I'm looking forward to A-Rod teeing off on every f'n batter he faces this year, and Selena Roberts' inevitable repeat retreat into journalistic shame, her tail between her legs and a lawsuit on her hands.

And that's when she'll realize that the worst backlash of it all--she still has to look at herself in the mirror every day.

PS...Am I taking it too far?

I don't think I'm taking it far enough.

*al·so-ran (ôls-rn) n.
1. A horse that does not win, place, or show in a race.
2. A loser in a competition, as in an election: "had enough support to place him in the middle of the also-rans" George F. Will.
3. One that has little talent or success: just an also-ran in the art world.

1 Comment:

  1. michelle said...
    If Barry Bonds could have several novels and comments trashed about him when he never even tested positive, A-Rod, who's been tested positive and been using them for a while sure as hell can be written about ALSO. There is such an unfair double standard in MLB and you're contributing to it. Barry Bonds took a lot of crap for soemthing he never tested positive for,so why are you supporting A-Rod now? Why is anyone? I have the answer below with my link. Check yourself. Huge hypocrites.

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