Got to reading Jayson Stark’s article today about the Face of Baseball. I really like Jayson, and not because he flaunts the “y” in his name and I am “y”-free. He’s a fun guy, easygoing writing style and digs for great tidbits. His article today, as he points out, is extremely biased due to the timing of the research, which directly coincided with Alex Rodriguez‘s latest tussle with Commish Schultz, er, Selig, over additional PED transgressions. Stark, to his credit, more than acknowledges this and had it not been him writing and framing this “story”, I have no doubt that timing detail would have gone unmentioned.
Alas, some 22% of those 1,028 fans named our favorite whipping boy, ARod, as the Face of Baseball. Yawn. Next on the Evening News, man interviewed in rain storm and calls the water the biggest issue.
Really, what got me was me a little frothy, and this isn’t new news, was the fact that 91% of respondents view Miguel Cabrera (BEST HITTER IN BASEBALL RIGHT NOW) as casting a positive image for MLB. An entire 0% view him as unfavorable. The question asked of respondents was “Do you believe this player represents MLB in a positive, negative, or neutral manner?” To compare, ARod was viewed as negative by 78% of those asked, with only 8% positive. Oh and Cap’n Jetes came in at 87% favorable, 3% unfavorable. [All this has affected MLB lines as well as the games]
But why such hate to ARod and love to Miggy? The obvious answer is that ARod is the Devil because of his PED usage (both admitted and accused). I don’t much care for him on a personal level, but as long as he’s playing for my childhood team’s laundry, I will root for him on the field. I get the ARod hate and loathing. We want a clean game. What about the records? What about the sanctity of the game? What about the kids? What message does this send? I could beat my chest in mock anger for hours, and so can you. And most of you have, admit it.
We are eager and almost giddy to bash ARod and his history of PED usage and lying. Totally and completely justified. Travishamockery.
Yet, in the giant view of things, I’m only surprised that Miggy’s domestic issues and DUI issues are conveniently glossed over, if not completely forgotten. Perhaps that’s all that’s happened here, the simple, basic, helpful, cleansing passage of time. Lest you forgot:
I simply found it — what’s the right word here — troubling, convenient, unfortunate, comical… that Miguel is universally viewed as a “positive” representative for MLB whereas ARod, whose transgressions are far less onerous than Cabrera’s, is nearly as universally viewed as a “negative”. Performance enhancing drugs bad. Spousal abuse and DUI worse. Much, much worse. Yet, in the collective psyche of many, including these 1,028 fans polled, DUI <<< PED. That math does not make any sense.
This is not a slam on Miggy. Frankly, I applaud his turnaround on the personal level and beyond impressed with his continued progression as a devastatingly destructive offensive force. He’s been given extra chances and, from the distant outside at least, it appears that he’s conquered his demons. Hopefully for good. Maybe this is the reason why 0% of 1,028 people found him to be a negative representative.
Yet, ARod is the Devil. Never been busted for DUI. Never hit his (ex-)wife. Both as far as we know, of course. He’s hopelessly insecure, driven, pathological lying, egomaniacal, ball-rat. And that makes him most hated.
Peculiar. Frustrating. Bewildering.