The Globe’s Pete Abe — in passing along an observation from his colleague Bob Ryan — drops some righteous wisdom:
If Alex Rodriguez broke his foot, cast aside his crutches and took
grounders from his knees in the infield a few days later, he would be
universally ripped as being a glory-seeking fraud.
But when Dustin Pedroia did it yesterday, he was hailed as the
personification of guts and dedication.
Funny how that works, isn’t it?
That leads to a nice little exploration of the double-standard A-Rod faces. At least until the end when Abraham basically says “but people are right: A-Rod is a clown.” Let’s not allow the conclusion to distract from a perfectly fine observation, however.
In other news, Dustin Pedroia was on the radio yesterday and was asked about how he hurt his foot. His response:
“When you hit the ball that hard and you hit that part of your foot,
something’s going to give. You should have checked the ball. The ball
was pretty messed up, too.”
Funny! But again, if anyone else said it, they’d probably be mocked.
I suppose there’s the perception that when Pedroia says and does the kind of stuff he says and does he’s being genuine, whereas A-Rod or whoever comes off calculated or studied or whatever. But I think it goes deeper than that. People don’t merely take issue with A-Rod’s delivery — which is admittedly poor — they take issue with the substance too.
Like Abraham points out: Both A-Rod and Pedroia work their tails off. If one says it he’s called a hard worker. If the other says is he’s a phony. Doesn’t matter if what A-Rod says is true. He’s trashed.
I’m not suggesting that there’s some long-standing conspiracy against A-Rod (though at times I think there has been at least a loose, unspoken agreement that he was a great target). I think this phenomenon says a lot about human nature. What we find repellent, what we find attractive and the like.
Could it simply be physical? Pedroia is small and balding and even though it’s totally silly to even suggest that he’s “like us” — he is a world class athlete, after all — we can at least squint and pretend that he is like us. A-Rod, on the other hand is a tall, obviously otherworldly-talented specimen who has made it very clear to us from his play alone, that he is very different from us.
We tend to cut people who we perceive to be like us more slack than we cut people who are somehow . . . other. That has always been the case with race,* but I think it applies to tall and short and any number of other factors that makes Pedroia seem less foreign to us than someone like A-Rod is.
Oh well, that’s my deep thinking for the afternoon. What do you think?
*I’m not suggesting that Pedroia-A-Rod is a racial thing, so please
don’t go there.