I’m not a fan of his antics, obviously what he displayed wasn’t the first display of his lack of respect for the game or those playing it, so that never sat well with me. He’s just an individualistic player. That’s his approach to the game, he plays for the name on the back, and I don’t know if he’s noticed, but he doesn’t have a name on the back over there. He should play for the name on the front a little more.
Here is the thing I find myself coming back to: what antics is he talking about exactly? I had a conversation with some other A-Rod haters right after this incident happened and they said essentially the same thing and I quite simply don’t get it. By all accounts, A-Rod respects the game so much it’s almost to his detriment. Other people describe him as an awkward baseball dork. He studies every element of the game. He works amazingly hard, to the point where in recent years he’s had to be told to take it easy. He loves the history of the game.
But A-Rod is a bit more of an introvert than the Derek Jeter‘s of the world. Again, he’s a little awkward. He’s a baseball junkie who happens to also be one of the greatest baseball talents ever. He doesn’t give smooth interviews. He has trouble coming up with the right things to say. Does any of this mean that he somehow respects the game less? I’m doubtful.
So again, let’s get back to the original question: what antics? Okay, the steroid thing. I’ll concede that and I won’t even get into all the issues I have with the steroid witch-hunt and the way A-Rod was treated versus other players (but fair warning: there’s a post on that coming).
The funny thing is though, when people talk about A-Rod’s disrespect for the game, they often don’t even mention the steroid thing. It’s the slap play or the time he yelled when a player was catching a pop-up. Those kinds of things. But I can’t help but feel if Jeter had done those same things, they’d be described as crafty and smart. The slap play in particular: if someone puts the their glove and the ball in the baseline, it is fair game. The person applying the tag needs to control the ball. But because it’s A-Rod, he obviously was being dirty.
The second part of Braden’s accusations about A-Rod are even more absurd. He needs to play for the team more rather than for himself? How, I wonder, does one go about doing that? When A-Rod hits a homerun, when is it for him and when is it for the team? Wasn’t A-Rod the Yankees’ most important offensive player in their World Series run? What else does he have to do exactly? I just went to his baseball-reference page and I couldn’t find how many hits he had for himself versus those he had for the team. If I didn’t know better, it would seem they are exactly the same.
So it appears that not only do fans and media members buy into these ridiculous fabricated narratives, but other players do too. And in Braden’s case, he insinuates he’s going to end it with violence. Luckily for A-Rod, Braden’s a pitcher and won’t have a catcher’s mask to hide behind.