Yeah I know, I’ve been completely MIA. Unfortunately, I’ve been running out of hours in the day for the past 2 months. But I know I’m going to bludgeon myself to death when I realize I’ve once again let my gainful employment keep me from watching baseball all summer.
So apparently there are a few things going on, most notably that the Yankees are playing like they’ve resigned themselves to just playing for a first pick in the draft next year. The other thing going on is that A-Rod has become the face of all things evil in the world of our Great American Pasttime.
Ima go backwards in terms of addressing both of these things. Tomorrow I’ll get to the Yankees, but first, here we go again…
|Maybe I'm just a moron, in addition to |
being one of the "oxy-" persuasion.
I know I’m a minority here—like, a big one—but as I see it, everyone’s attacking the guy that it’s safe to attack. Some people are hard to defend.
But for my money, it’s even harder to defend social hypocrisy.
I’m not saying I condone steroid use, or lying, and particularly not lying about using steroids.
But I do have a categorical aversion to inconsistent condemnation of behavior based on predisposed antagonism.
The chief problem with spearheading the Crusade Against Haters is that my “client” is guilty. A-Rod did indeed admit to using steroids at one point, so to speak.
(Perhaps the most beautifully candid line in this whole sordid ordeal is Cashman's hilarious, "I don't think that Alex is very good at communicating, to be honest." In the docket of historic understatements, file that one alongside the penetrating questioning from the reporter at the 1956 World Series, "Mr. Larsen, was that the best game you ever pitched?")
"You're the one who weazed off his gig the whole time...cuz you thought maybe he'd get you somewhere. Now the guy gets a little crusty and you're gonna bag him."
When the Yankees hadn’t won a ring in a decade, and when we were being harassed non-stop about this fact, A-Rod gave you a ring. A-Rod won the 2009 series for the Yankees.
At least A-Rod can comfort in knowing that Yankee fans have also bestowed the same kind of alienation treatment onto Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, etc. Yeah, Yankee fans BOOED these guys.
A-Rod came back into the lineup to replace the 3B who was treating our team to a bright .143 batting average. I know my math is less than stellar, but I’m pretty sure I’m okay with seeing how well life-time all-star fielding magician A-Rod can do at 3B.
There’s a pretty good chance he’s going to help the team. Because, well, he has.
If you’re going to say A-Rod has always been awful in the clutch, then you may as well subscribe to things like Bleen, and other fungible worlds of math inanity.
In 2012, when the entire Yankee team batted a breath-taking .147 in the ALCS, A-Rod’s .111 average was the one that was most severely lambasted.
Why should we boo A-Rod? He’s one of the greatest that ever played. This is true.
If you want to say it’s only because he used steroids, then you must be prepared to strip EVERY single player of their merit who has ever been suspected of steroid use.
You must be prepared to strip Gaylord Perry of his stats because he threw a spitball. Or Bobby Thompson because the Giants were stealing signs. Or Whitey Ford. I don't think any of them deserve to be stripped of what they did for baseball. Neither should A-Rod. Especially because...
ON A CLINICAL NOTE….
Steroids can be pretty helpful when used safely and properly. I mean, it basically puts you back in the game faster after an injury. You’re not wasting time puttering away on the sideline trying to get your game back to snuff.
THAT SAID, I’m going to play the medical copywriting card here. I’ve done a fair amount of reading and research on diseases such as acromegaly that are based on overproduction of growth hormone and IgF-1.
And without getting too much into the clinical data etc, I will say that based on what is known about these types of diseases, it does not support the fact that an increase in both GH and IgF-1 (which is the core output of steroid abuse) promotes any kind of performance enhancement.
Basically, there are rare diseases in which “steroid abuse” occurs naturally. So you’d think that in these patients, there would be evidence of muscle hypertrophy, but there’s actually a notable LACK of physiological/performance changes.
In one clinical review article of published literature on manifestations of GH impact, the results showed that “although growth hormone may alter body composition, it has minimal effect on key athletic performance outcomes and may, in fact, be associated with worsened exercise capacity.” [Liu H et al. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148:747-758.]
This is consistent with the Mitchell report, which actually noted the lack of evidence supporting growth hormone use and enhancement of athletic performance.
ON A MATHEMATICAL NOTE…p ⊕ q
(Either "p" or "q" but not both)
Here’s the thing about steroids. And, well, everything, actually. It’s extremely difficult to make claims about the relationship between A and B, if everything is not known about the prevalence of A.
For example, you can’t say, “Eating carrots help your eyesight” if you do a study of 5 people who eat carrots who have good eyesight. If you do a study of 10 people, 5 of which eat carrots, 5 of which don’t, and the only people with good eyesight are the ones who eat carrots, then you can make that case.
But we don’t know that A-Rod ate carrots. Or say that we do. Say we absolutely know he did steroids for his entire career. We’re mad because he had an unfair advantage, and all his years of greatness made it impossible for the non-steroid-users to succeed.
But is that what happened?
If steroids gave A-Rod such a huge unfair advantage, then where do we get off spitting vitriol at his years of barely creeping pasting the Mendoza line when he should’ve been banging it out all over the place?
You can’t hiss at A-Rod for being a shitty ballplayer for bouts of time in his career and then in the same breath hiss at him for taking steroids for that entire time. Because that would suggest that steroids did not, in fact, give him an unfair advantage.
And if he didn’t have an unfair advantage, then why are you mad at him for doing steroids?
It’s almost identical as the arguments made by Yankee haters around the whole “they buy their team” nonsense. And then when the Yankees deflate in the first round of the playoffs, everyone starts pointing at them screaming “THEY PAID BAJILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR A RING AND THEY COULDN’T EVEN GET PAST THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS!!!!”
Wouldn’t that suggest that spending money on your team doesn’t actually have the “championship guarantee” that everyone seems to think it has? If there are teams failing and succeeding across the entire financial gamut, then there how is there a proven statistical significance to the impact of payroll on success?
SILENCE IS GOLDEN UNLESS IT’S A-ROD’S
A-Rod cannot do anything right, because apparently his handling of steroid accusations are the WORST possible way to go about it. As long as you don’t do what A-Rod’s doing, you’re granted immunity of social stigmatization.
Ryan Braun “apologized” without ever apologizing, much like a boyfriend caught cheating who admits he cheated. A-Rod no-comment-ed his way through all queries, but you know if he had done anything but that, he would have been seared for disloyalty, deflecting blame, and taking down hoards of people with him.
A-Rod did steroids before there were penalties in place for them. So did half the free world. So we can’t get angry at that, unless we are prepared to be equally as incensed by every other soul who did the same.
A-Rod said he never did it, and that makes him evil because he did do it. Bitch, please. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone here. Obama signed a sweeping, tough bill for an anti-smoking campaign, but never really kicked the habit himself.
Is the crime here that A-Rod fraudulently aligned himself with an anti-drug campaign when he himself was (allegedly) doing the very thing he was telling kids not to do? Is that why everyone is so up in arms?
You think that every spokesperson for every charity is innocent of the evil he or she purports to loathe? Would A-Rod be absolved of such harsh criticism if he had never aligned himself against steroids publicly?
If that is the case, then why are we getting on his case for his silence? Spike Lee gets all on his soap box about NBA players being essentially slaves, and how cruel is the exploitative business of pro sports. But no one’s hating on him for not giving up his courtside tickets.
What about celebrities who go all high and mighty about how their perfect physique is the product of a vegetable diet and cardio or whatever? Would we be so incensed to find out that to no one’s great surprise, they had work done and actuallllly it turns out they’re not really 100% au natural?
NARCS vs FARCE
You know what? I’d be ok with the criticism if it wasn’t a charity with which A-Rod aligned himself, but rather, if A-Rod was in a position of doling out punishments.
Like, if was fining people, or if he was a PED-hall-monitor-narc-type person, or otherwise was in charge of exposing steroid use for the purpose of furthering swift punishment. Then his own alleged use would be the height of insidious hypocrisy.
But all A-Rod did was tell kids not to use steroids. That asshole. I bet a lot of kids didn’t do it because of him. I bet he had an impact on a lot of kids’ lives because of that. If you disagree with that sentiment, if you think that he had zero bearing on these kids, then you really have no reason to get upset that he lied to them in the first place.
Hey, you know who DID try to enact punishments? David Ortiz. He wanted to ban everyone who tested positive.
"I think you clean up the game by the testing," Ortiz said. "I know that if I test positive by using any kind of substance, I know that I'm going to disrespect my family, the game, the fans and everybody, and I don't want to be facing that situation."
"So what would I do? I won't use it, and I'm pretty sure that everybody is on the same page."
Then he was informed he tested positive.
“Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive. I will find out what I tested positive for. You know me, I will not hide and I will not make excuses."
“ONLY COWARDS INSULT INJURED MAJESTY.” –AESOP
My mom once told me “our first responsibility is to be a good person.” Is A-Rod a good person? How the hell should I know? We don’t know if any of these athletes that we adore and despise are good people. BUT they are people. They’re human. (For the most part. I wouldn’t rush to file Sneachiro under the “Born and Raised on the Planet Earth” heading.)
My point is that I get why people do steroids. I don’t think it makes them bad people. I got to a point in my life where I realized I don’t have enough energy to waste on harmless people. The only people who I’m okay with unleashing my ire and contempt are malicious people. The ones who go out of their way to be cruel. Who prey on weak, who feel better about themselves when they’re making others feel bad.
I don’t think A-Rod falls into that category. So while I can’t defend cheating or lying, I can certainly attack the treatment he’s getting.
It used to be that society sated its need for moral superiority by actively championing the underdog. But maybe that ideal has been replaced by demonizing juggernauts.
It's not enough for them to be taken down, they need to be stripped of their dignity and spirit. We've come to embrace this belief that perfection is terrifying and that the sooner we can capitalize on its armor's chinks, the better.
If you’re going to lynch someone, then make sure your fury is fueled by logic. Because otherwise you’re really no better than the supposed hypocrite that you’re condemning.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, for as long as A-Rod plays for the Yankees, then he gets my support. "If you want to be on the wagon for the glitz and glammer, you gotta stay on it when it hits the hammer."