Major League Baseball spring training camps have or will soon open up everywhere in the next week. In Tampa, that means pitchers and catchers for the New York Yankees report later this week, with the rest of the roster due next Wednesday.
And that includes Alex Rodriguez, the disgraced star returning to the team after a year-long suspension, after being busted for using performance enhancement drugs (for a second time).
The New York City media are having a field day, mocking the 39-year-old after he penned a handwritten apology to Yankees fans.
“I accept that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point,” A-Rod wrote in a letter published on Tuesday. “I understand why and that’s on me.”
Yes, A-Rod has lied — a lot. Team management tried to get rid of him, since they still owe $60 million over the next three years. And guys his age don’t usually get any better. Certainly not sans PEDs.
Yet forgive me for this, but I’m actually rooting for him a bit. Call it supporting the underdog, I guess.
Look, I get loathing a liar. That’s why most people enjoy Brian Williams being embarrassed like he has in the past two weeks. And Lance Armstrong owning $10 million now? Couldn’t happen to a worse guy.
But as an avowed Barry Bonds fan, I will stick up for A-Rod now, because, well, who else is going to?
Nobody was savaged more by the press than Bonds when he was on his way to becoming the all-time home-run king back in 2007. No one. It was as if he was the only guy to use steroids in the aughts, when the numbers were so astronomical, well, we’ll never really know. The Mitchell Report was not the final word on that. Later on we learned such favorites as David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettite, and others were consumers as well.
When Bonds was about to break Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record in ’07, A-Rod was having a sensational, MVP season for the Yanks, hitting a career high 54 homers. The same NYC scribes hating on A-Rod now were the ones then who were telling us that, based on how his career was going, he surely would surpass Bonds, and hey — this guy was the real, clean deal.
Sort of naive in retrospect, wasn’t it?
Although Major League Baseball isn’t hurting financially, it is aesthetically. Why do you think one of the missions that new MLB Commissioner Ron Manfred has taken up is determining how to speed up the games? MLB’s regular season is slow, and since they’ve ridden the game (mostly) of PEDs, there has never been less scoring or more strikeouts than ever.
So even though these writers can’t get enough complaining about A-Rod, the fact is, they’ll miss him when he’s gone.
In other news…
Have you seen that ad featuring Tampa City Council candidate Jackie Toledo wandering along a construction site off of I-275? Well, you won’t be seeing it anymore, after the Florida Department of Transportation said filming there was a no-no.
Floridians for Solar Choice, the left-right coalition working to get a constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot, is off to a smashing start.
Immigration activists in Tampa said they’re not discouraged by that Texas judge who threw out President Obama’s executive actions on deportation Monday night.