Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Good Interview - A Great Baseball Player

Last Monday night I watched an interview on ESPN. The interviewer was Peter Gammons. I don’t particularly like Peter Gammons, but I do respect him for his knowledge of the game of Baseball. He is extremely perceptive; however he comes off as being very dry when making his comments.

Monday night’s interview was with Alex (A-Rod) Rodriguez of the New York Yankees. I have always been an A-Rod fan and in my opinion he is currently the best player in Baseball. Many other Baseball fans share this opinion. He is a team player, rather than being someone like Barry Bonds; who tended to look at his teammates as a supporting cast for his show.

The last time that I went to Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg), several years ago, was not to see the Rays play, but to see Alex Rodriguez play. I can’t stand the Trop; it’s a crappy Ballpark. Many others came to the Ballpark that night and the three game series with the Yankees set a record in attendance for a three game series.

The subject of the Monday night Gammons’ interview with Alex Rodriguez, was centered on his taking of performance enhancing drugs during the three years that he played for the Texas Rangers. He tested positive in 2003.

A-Rod said that he took them because of the pressure to perform up to the expectations of the fans and the Texas Rangers management (he had just signed a 10 year contract for $252 million – the highest paid Baseball player ever). He also said that he stopped taking performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 and that he has not tested positive since Major League Baseball began penalties for testing positive in 2004.

I looked up his career Stats on Baseball-Reference.com. From 1998 though 2000 A-Rod hit 125 Home Runs while playing for Seattle. In his three years with the Rangers he hit 156 Home Runs. However he played 47 more games in those three years than he had in the past 3 years with Seattle. Not to mention the fact that playing 81 games per year in Texas (historically) helps the player’s Slugging Percentage and Home Run production.

A-Rod never specifically said what he was taking and where he got it. He did however say “Back then, you could walk into GNC and get four or five different products that would probably trigger a positive test.” He also intimated that many other players were doing the same as he did, when he said “The culture was pretty prevalent.

I hope that this doesn’t blemish Rodriguez’s accomplishments. He had the guts to tell us about his drug use and he also apologized to his fans and to all baseball fans, for falling into a trap.

Instead of diminishing my admiration for A-Rod, the interview increase my appreciation of him as a player and a person.

The Beach Bum

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8 Comments:

Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

As a life-long White Sox fan I am genetically programmed to hate all New York Yankees. And, even if I weren't struggling to overcome this prejudice, I'd have a hard time finding sympathy for Mr. A-Roid and his multi-gazillion dollar salary.

But even I have to agree that he's been unfairly singled out in all this latest controversy.

The steroid revelation will probably tarnish A-Roid's legacy... and he should plan on 'making a drop' every time he sees someone approaching him with an empty paper cup. But he is right on the 'culture' angle. The owners wanted supermen. They looked the other way as physiques (and HR totals) ballooned. Because attendance did also. The sportswriters knew there were a lot of steroid users -- but they kept quiet about it for years. Or they joked about it. (Surely you, as a Cub fan, remember Sammy Sosa and the "Flinstones vitamins"....)

It's unfair to dump on the players... Bonds, A-Roid, Sammy So-So, McGwire, Clemens... because they were doing what their teams wanted. Like as not the owners didn't hook them up directly... but most, if not all, of the teams probably had someone available to steer anyone interested in the 'right' direction. Bud Selig's hypocrisy in all this is as bad as his toupee.

And that's pretty bad, indeed.

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