It’s one thing to be a sports fan who is sick of Alex Rodriguez to lament how much coverage he’s getting. I mean, yes, you can avoid that coverage if you want, but I do appreciate that that can be difficult at times and it can seem like such things are impossible to escape. For reasons I gave on Saturday I think people overstate the severity of “A-Rod fatigue,” but I do sympathize to some degree.
It’s another thing altogether if you’re Mike Lupica and you lament how much coverage A-Rod is getting. Like he does in his latest column:
[Mariano Rivera] will bounce back because he always does and always has. But what was just as striking over the past week wasn’t the single that Adam Dunn got off him in Chicago or the ball that Cabrera tried to hit out of sight late Friday night.
It was this:
His last baseball summer has been hijacked by Rodriguez.
If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, and Rodriguez doesn’t get hurt again before game No. 162, it means that so much of the precious little time that Mo has left — and even with all the ways teams around baseball have found ways to honor him — will involve the drama and controversy and the under-the-big-top circus that that might be the end of Rodriguez’s career as well.
If you’re Mike Lupica you have the biggest column in one of America’s largest circulation newspapers, you host a prestige show on ESPN each week and you have, presumably, free reign to talk about whatever you want to talk about in sports. Yet, here you are, choosing to talk about Alex Rodriguez in a column that is ostensibly about Mariano Rivera. You don’t have to do it. You can write a thousand words on Mariano Rivera if you want to. You really can.
That aside, he’s dead wrong too. Mariano Rivera’s summer has not been hijacked by Rodriguez. Neither has the Pittsburgh Pirates’ great season, Miguel Cabrera’s drive for a second straight MVP, Clayton Kershaw’s crazy-good pitching, the Phillies’ time at the crossroads, the races in the AL East and AL West, the Braves gigantic division lead and any number of other fantastic stories about the quite enjoyable 2013 baseball season.
It may be hard for people to find as much coverage of that stuff as they’d like because of A-Rod news, but Mike friggin’ Lupica has no excuse. He is — or at least was — an agenda-setter in the sports writing world. For him to to sit back now and cynically milk A-Rod outrage to fill column inches while simultaneously lamenting the column inches such outrage fills is both a joke and an abdication of his responsibilities.
Want people talking about Mariano Rivera? Write about Mariano Rivera. It’s not that hard.