Dear media: Get off Alex Rodriguez’s back.
Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Alex Rodriguez. But the continuous lampooning of this one player, singularly cast as the official poster-child for all the wrongs of the game since the introduction of steroids, is beyond hilarious.
How about some context and perspective here?
A-Rod is the perfect target for the pitchfork-wielding mob. If you didn’t know any better, you might assume that Rodriguez not only juiced, but also distributed drugs to the entire major-league community out of the Yankee Stadium clubhouse.
The Yankees designated hitter, away from the game for a year, remains such an easy target. Why? Because all factions despise him. The media can’t stand him. His fellow colleagues across the game can’t stand him. And most every fan who follows the game can’t stand him, either.
Perhaps I could live with this if A-Rod were a unique case—but that’s far from reality. Let me get this right. Alex Rodriguez is the worst of the worst, on another level from everyone else in the game now and in years gone by…but Mark McGwire is forgiven of all of his sins?
McGwire perpetuated the biggest hoax on the game since the 1919 Black Sox scandal in his 1998 imitation-like breaking of one of baseball’s most hallowed milestones, the single-season home run record held by the late Roger Maris. Baseball and the media endlessly celebrated this phony spectacle during that summer. So what was the result of the McGwire scandal? How did McGwire’s credibility suffer? Incredibly, McGwire has served as a major league hitting instructor the last few seasons, first on Tony LaRussa’s staff in St. Louis and the last few years in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.
How about Barry Bonds? Here’s a guy who probably needed to special order batting helmets to fit his enormous head while he played. He swatted 773 lifetime home runs while also breaking McGwire’s single season home run record three seasons after McGwire artificially set the new record. If you haven’t heard, Bonds coaches at the spring training facility of the World Series champions this week (as he did last year). San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters last week that there was a chance that Bonds could get an increased role with the organization this year.
But A-Rod stands as the absolute worst of the worst? Give me a break.
When journalists go after players such as McGwire, Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and virtually every other user and abuser with the same venom they exhibit for A-Rod, then maybe I’ll listen. Until then, please shut up—and get a clue.
Dino Costa is a talk show host who may be found at www.dinocostalive.com @dinocostanews.