Alex Rodriquez…Big Money, Drugs and the Politics of Baseball

I admit it.  I was a huge A-ROD fan. I thought he was most certainly in the Top 10 Baseball players of ALL TIME.  And why not?  Everything he did on the field proved how impressive he was,  deserving of a place up in Cooperstown with Ruth, Mays, Aaron, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio and the other immortals of the game.

Alex Rodriquez

Alex Rodriquez (Photo credit: mutrock)

He ran like the wind and moved with power. He hit for average while also hitting multitudes of massive home runs. His RBI totals were consistently amazing. Add to this he fielded his position with grace and authority at two of the most difficult positions in a major league infield.  His lifetime BA is a nice .300.  He has hit 648 home runs.  He has nearly 2000 RBI’s.  He has stolen over 300 bases and scored 1900 runs.

I have no axe to grind.  I don’t really care all that much about the PED controversy. I think it’s much ado about nothing really.  If you are stupid enough to put potentially life threatening substances in your body,  in hopes you might hit more home runs,  then I think you probably get what you deserve.  I know I’m in a serious minority on that point but that’s how I feel.

List of Major League Baseball players suspende...

List of Major League Baseball players suspended for performance-enhancing drugs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the years I’ve rooted for both the Yankees and the Mets.  In recent years mostly the Mets. But I’ve always been a keen observer to what goes on in the major leagues though not as closely as I once did.  Most of the childhood passion for the game has been replaced by NFL football,  but when you grow up in Brooklyn NY,  baseball will always be a part of your DNA.

I’ve been following the A-ROD saga over the last few weeks and I am amazed by the hypocrisy being displayed by the fans…the media..the player’s union and Major League Baseball itself…particularly in the person of one Bud Selig…who in my estimation will be remembered as a tool of the owners and one of the THE WORST SPORTS COMMISSIONERS IN HISTORY.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig with Ramstein'...

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig with Ramstein’s Maddie Byrd at game three of the World Series. Maddie was named the Major League Baseballl STAR of the year. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s re-cap what has gone on in baseball since the World Series was cancelled in 1994.  The league was limping along.  Their gross revenues hovering somewhere around 980 million dollars.  Interest in the game was at an all-time low.  Kids,  the lifeblood of any sport,  were way more interested in football and basketball…with even soccer making big inroads in many rural towns and the inner cities.  Baseball kicked themselves in the face by conducting a season long strike in 1994 and then,  the unthinkable…!  They CANCELLED THE WORLD SERIES ! ! !  Insane to say the least.  Owners and players couldn’t figure out how to split up huge sums of money.  Ahhhh greed…the great American Pastime!  Fast forward to 1995. Many of the best players in the game started fooling around with PED’s…performance enhancing drugs.  Why not?  It wasn’t illegal.  Everyone wants to be bigger, faster, stronger and earn gazillions of dollars playing a game, don’t they?  Suddenly “supermen” were playing baseball.  Even some of the greatest players in the game (Barry Bonds, Sammy Sousa, Alex Rodriquez etc etc)  decided they needed to cement their legacies by creating even bigger stats..even more amazing milestones, larger than life accomplishments.

As if overnight interest in the home run races, interest in the burgeoning offensive numbers, interest in the great pitching duels began to turn the tide and the game was returning to center stage in the sports landscape.  Profits were beginning to rise.  By the year 2012 baseball was doing a brisk business of  9 billion dollars a year…nearly 10 times the amount they did in 1994.  Where was Bud Selig while all of this booming business was taking place?  He was hiding in his office counting all the money,  He was holding press conferences extolling the virtues of the great game of baseball and the fine comeback the sport was making.  Where were all  those purist outraged fans while the balls were leaving the yard at a record pace? The fans in St. Louis and Chicago weren’t thinking steroids…they were thinking HISTORY BEING MADE ! Where were all those overly eager investigative reporters looking into the PED being used?  They were no where to be found.

English: Alex Rodriguez

English: Alex Rodriguez (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BIG MONEY and DRUGS.  A heady combination.  All we need is the POLITICS to sweep everything under the proverbial rug and make it all better.  And that is EXACTLY what we are getting now.

Alex Rodriquez has been accused of being a bad boy.  Never mind that nothing was ever proven and he was never suspended or disciplined.  but now you see EVERYONE IS OUTRAGED!  The fans are mad…the media want to crucify him…Bud Selig figures he can save his own legacy by crushing anyone who might have been involved with PEDS,  and the NY YANKEES?  Boy would they love to unload that HUGE contract that A-ROD is signed to. The Yankees had signed several players who had serious ties to possible steroid use. But no one was making anywhere near what A-ROD makes.  Coupled with his injuries and declining production, I’m sure  they will do their best to dump him.

it’s sort of funny but when it was OK it was really OK.  But the tide has turned. It’s no longer OK.  Let’s make an example of Alex Rodriquez. Let’s go on a witch hunt the likes of which haven’t been seen since they jumped all over Roger Clemons and Barry Bonds. I find it truly incredible that we would waste our time, energy and money on such a useless and silly pursuit.  Hey Bud…maybe you should step down since you were the guy who turned a blind eye and presided over this mess in the first place.  Maybe if you had shown any guts and leadership 10 years ago,  this PED circus could have been headed off before it became bigger than the game itself.

Personally I’m very disappointed with A-ROD.  I thought he was creating huge moments because he was a naturally gifted athlete.  I really thought he was different.  I really thought he was a GIANT.  Silly me…but it’s a shame what BIG MONEY..DRUGS and POLITICS will do to a society, much less a game and even more so to an individual.  He had it all.  Did he need to get involved with this?   But there it is…plain to see by anyone who cares to look.

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10 Responses to Alex Rodriquez…Big Money, Drugs and the Politics of Baseball

  1. Joanne F says:

    Another great blog with a great perspective. I didn’t know much about the politics behind it all (especially re: Bud Selig), so this was an eye-opener for me. All I know is that I resent any professional athlete using PADs. Not only is it stupid (who knows what the long-term effects will be?), but it’s unfair and unnatural. If you can’t play with your normal talents and body, then you shouldn’t be playing at all.

    • joeref says:

      thanks Joanne. I have mixed feelings about the entire issue. people have been trying to gain”unfair advantages” in sports, business and basically in life. can we legislate that? Hmmmm..IDK

  2. Lou Refano says:

    PEDs have ruined the game. It is sad how many athletes feel they have to cheat to get an upper hand when many other players stay clean and use their own athleticism to succeed. Whom can you trust? Going forward, any player who has a breakout season is going to be suspected of juicing. There’s even talk of Albert Pujols using them. What a shame for the grand old ballgame.

    • joeref says:

      I f Albert Pujols is found to be on PED’s, I believe that baseball may find itself back in the DARK AGES, where they were after the cancellation of the 94 World Series. That would most certainly be the last straw for a lot of people.

  3. Bill Deegan says:

    I believe it’s the insane money being thrown at these guys that has ruined the game and led to the PED situation. The reward of a $200 million contract far outweighs the risk of using steroids to some of these players. ARod is the poster child for this, because despite whatever suspension and criticism he receives he has or will collect well over $250 million dollars in his career. Way too much temptation for some.

    • joeref says:

      BIG MONEY corrupts even the most saintly of us. We all like to think we’d act differently in that situation but who really knows? $250 million dollars is a ridiculously large amount of money to give to a young man. And I guess they are driven to protect that income no matter what. Of course with all of the huge egos they probably think that THEY could never be cauf=ght because they are so BIG and insulated. I blame Bud Selig. He too was driven by the BIG MONEY to look the other way at a time when the Major Leagues were srtuggling.

  4. Bill Deegan says:

    Without a doubt the owners are as guilty as anyone. They turned a blind eye to this as McGuire, Sosa and Bonds generated billions of dollars in revenue. Selig should resign.

    • joeref says:

      that’s my biggest problem with all the investigations and witch hunts on this issue. Now they (Selig and owners) want to be seen as the “Knights in Shining Armor” saving the game for all of us. Where were they (Selig and the owners) when this was out of hand? And while we’re on the subject…why is an owner the Commissioner? Isn’t that supposed to be an impartial position looking out for the interests of ALL baseball?

      • joeref says:

        The last few days have been A-ROD amazing ! Now they are saying he’s a rat. yesterday Mike Francesca on NY’s WFAN was saying that the possibility exists that the evidence MLB has might be flimsy. WOW. He’s a Yankee fan but I doubt seriously he would make a statement like that unless he knew something.

  5. Pingback: NY BAseball 2013…not much to root about | Joe Refano's BIG MOUTH

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