Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Return of Random Ramblings

I guess that some draft happened earlier today, with the M's picking the wrong pitcher, which is just about awesome. Of course, that impacts my life just about as much as the M's winning 3 of 4 against Kansas City, which is, very little.

No, I have a slightly different topic to blog about today, one that I have been pondering for the last couple of months. It deals with one former Mariner superstar, and the change of feelings towards him over the past year. Yes, I'm talking about A-Rod.

No ex-Seattle athlete has quite earned my scorn like Alex Rodriguez, though Bobby Ayala sure came close. During the 2000 season he said all the right things about playing for Seattle, how much he loved it here, and how money wouldn't be a factor in his decision. Then came the infamous $252 million contract with Texas, and the Seattle sports world erupted. How could he betray us like that? How could he be worth that kind of money? And, even worse, how could he have left us for a team in our division?

I scoured the internet and saved numerous articles from newspaper columnists decrying A-Rod as a traitor, a faker, an idiot, etc. I lapped up the insults, because I was hurt, and the insults seemed to help.

Gavin was lucky enough to attend what must rank as one of the most surreal Seattle sports moments ever; the return of A-Rod. I doubt he realized the depth of the hatred Seattle-ites had for him until the game began. Money rained down from the sky. Money was held out on a fishing pole for A-Rod. The boos cascaded through SafeCo, leaving poor Dave Niehaus wondering where his happy place was, and Rick Rizzs.... well, I doubt Rick Rizzs even noticed beyond saying once again that it was a bee-yootiful night at the Safe. I loved it. Take that, A-Rod!

Even better, the Rangers struggled while the Mariners soared, staying put in the AL West cellar during most of A-Rod's tenure. The M's, on the other hand, had a season for the ages followed by two 90 win seasons, quality and entertaining without the $252 million dollar man. I remember one sports columnist in 2001 writing about how A-Rod had to create a wooden personality because he was so hurt by all the backlash about his contract. He had no idea how to handle it for the first couple of years, though he received an MVP award during his last season in Texas.

Alex then pulled the SAME switcharoo on Texas fans, showing up in a tux to pronounce himself team captain while, behind the scenes, helping engineer a trade to New York. All of a sudden the most hated ballplayer was playing on the most hated team, the Yankees. I eagerly read more articles of people talking about what a horrible person he was, and laughed when I heard Texas fans boo him.

Then came the 2004 ALCS, when the BoSox came from 3-0 to beat the Yanks, and A-Rod looked horrible, defining the series with a cheap play, hitting the glove of the Red Sox (pitcher?) player to try and get a single. A-Rod looked as human as I have ever seen him, and the Red Sox completed one of the greatest postseason events of my lifetime.

After that series, A-Rod has continually been trying to prove himself as a Yankee. To Steinbrenner. To the media. To the fans. And, you know what? He hasn't succeeded in any of those things, but he has proven himself to me.

How?

Maybe nothing he has done, but I have come to an acceptance of A-Rod. For his contract, his ego, etc., etc. Look at it this way. He plays hard, he plays team ball, and he is one of the best ballplayers of all time. And, for that, he has more crap written about him than anyone. Manny Ramirez can be an absolute jerk and watch his home-run ball sail over his head and everyone just laughts and writes about how interesting a player Manny is and how fun he is, yadda yadda yadda. A-Rod does that and countless writers bemoan the end of civilization. Derek Jeter opens up the 2005 season hitting below .200 and no one bats an eyelash. If A-Rod had done that, he would have heard boos constantly. Bernie Williams has a TERRIBLE arm in the outfield, and he never gets booed. A-Rod muffs a grounder? You know he will get booed. I guess I'm just sick and tired of him being the ultra bad-guy in baseball. The guy doesn't deserve this kind of crap.

Plus, if some idiot had told me he would pay me $20 mill a season? I probably would have taken that money. Just guessing.

So.... I'm officially out of the A-Rod hater club. No, he never will be a favorite of mine, but I can apppreciate him more now that my bitterness is out of the way. Appreciate his greatness, for talents like his are rare and should be rarified. Appreciate his smooth, smooth swing. Appreciate his talent in the field. Appreciate how it's all natural, no steroids in there. Appreciate how, with all the ink given to Bonds, A-Rod is on pace to obliterate the home-run record.

However, I still hate Bobby Ayala. Sorry, buddy.

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:50 AM  1 comments

1 Comments:

At 7:17 AM, Blogger nach said...

I was there when A-rod returned... I lost my voice somewhere in his first at-bat. Satisfying at the time, sure, but how long can I hate the guy? I think he got exactly what he wanted playing for the Yankees... only this is as close to heaven as he'll ever get. My feelings have moved from hate and bitterness to pity. Well, I pity the fact that millions of poeple who've never met him have firm opinions on his character and everything he does ends up in a newspaper. That sucks. That's why I never want to be famous.

But getting paid enough to buy Kyrgyzstan to play baseball beautifully? That rocks.

I forgive you A-rod, but I can't root for you just yet either.

 

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