“Alex Rodriguez peed on our house!” – Carmen Sucart, wife of Yuri-former A-Rod cousin, confidant, steroid mule.
YOGI BERRA MUSEUM, LITTLE FALLS, NJ – As Major League Baseball heads inexorably toward the “modified” reinstatement of Pete Rose, there are other prominent baseball figures whose reputations need a bit of buffing. And yes, Rose will be partially reinstated this Summer. The “mid-Summer classic,” the All-Star Game, takes place in the Queen City this July. So dust off your old Marge Schott Nazi paraphernalia and welcome back your extremely flawed favorite son. “Partial reinstatement” is a compromise made by gap-toothed Wilpon-lover/Commissioner Manfred Mann, who lacks the balls to do nothing and allow a lifetime ban to mean “lifetime.” Rose’s reputation soon will be improved, younger generations will see his statistics and declare him a “great” and they will be wrong.
Alex Rodriguez doesn’t seem to be generating any of the good feelings now being thrown Rose’s way. Public opinion has labeled him the world’s worst guy and maybe he is. I get it. He’s smug, he’s lied pathologically and hurt the game immensely. Except for the fact that…he hasn’t. Over the past 15 years that have paralleled Rodriguez’s ascent, descent and crash & burn, MLB has achieved popularity and revenues that have made owners, players, advertisers, and television executives extremely wealthy. Revenues will top $10B in 2015. How’d they get there? On the backs of guys like Rodriguez, who in the process of shooting his giant head up with every synthetic steroid his money could buy, generated record-shattering attendance and TV ratings along the way. Lightning [A-]Rod? Yup. Attention whore? You bet. Detestable? Oh yeah. Magnetic, dynamic and charismatic? Check, Check, Check. More than any single player, Rodriguez has driven the growth and expansion of his sport.
The New York Yankees don’t want to pay him his “bonus money.” He stands 2 homers shy of Willie Mays‘ 660 career total-a figure that will earn A-Rod a $6M bonus when he reaches that number. But the Bombers don’t think he deserves that bonus. The Yankees brought him back to play. Shockingly, he’s played very well so far. And now, TV ratings and both home and road attendance are soaring because of him. Making the game more profitable every day? Yes he is. The Yankees though want to enjoy these spikes in revenues that his playing drives, but they don’t want to pay him money for reaching records both parties agreed to in his last deal. Can’t have it both ways, Randy Levine and Yanks COO Lon Trost. This Yankee exec Trost has an insufferable, imperious and out-of-touch style that makes Sandy Alderson seem like the cashiers at CVS who creepily make you say hello to them when you walk in the store.
Speaking of Real Sandy, his comments about Jenry Mejia are puzzling. The Mets closer was recently suspended 80 games for testing positive for steroids. To hear Sandy talk about it, you’d think Mejia was on the street that morning waiting for the bus with Etan Patz. But the Mets GM is talking about Mejia not being assured a spot on the team when he returns, and hopes the team doesn’t need him any longer. For a guy who’s made his entire undeserved reputation from a team he ran 30 years ago – and whose success then was owed entirely to the PED-infused performances of 80% of his players, he’s picked a weird time to grow a conscience. The master of looking the other way is sure picky when it comes to whom he buries and whom he defends.
Finally, I’m rooting like hell for Wally Backman. Hope he gets the Marlins gig.
Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward, a guy we all root for.