Why A-Rod has been let off the steroids hook but McGwire has not

Leave a comment

Bob Klapsich explains why A-Rod has been allowed to moonwalk from his steroids scandal while McGwire keeps getting ripped. As an explanation, I find it to be lacking:

First, he appeared to be more honest than McGwire in revealing the
detail of his cheating. While A-Rod may have fudged some details, he at
least provided the name of a complicit family member, as well as the
exact time frame of his cheating.

Wait, A-Rod gets credit for throwing a family member under the bus? Where I come from that makes things worse. And what
about “the exact time frame” of his cheating stuff?  If I remember
correctly, he took all kinds of flak over the claim that he stopped taking PEDs the moment he donned the pinstripes, as well as for other things.  Klapisch goes on:

Second, A-Rod was able to dodge the backlash by falling off the Yankees’ radar while he underwent hip surgery. Unlike McGwire, who will face
daily scrutiny as the Cardinals’ hitting instructor, Rodriguez was
absent for almost two months during his convalescence. By the time he
returned in May, he’d decided to stop talking – or, if he did agree to
be interviewed, kept his comments short, scripted and, most
importantly, safe.

If McGwire “fell off the radar” like that he’d be excoriated for ducking the media. Oh, wait, he’s already being excoriated for that even though he’s given more interviews that A-Rod ever did following his unmasking.  C’mon Bob, what’s really going on?

It doesn’t hurt, either, that he’s now officially a creature of the
postseason. Those massive home runs off Joe Nathan in the ALDS and
Brian Fuentes in the ALCS led to A-Rod’s breakthrough moment in the
World Series – driving in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of Game
4 against Brad Lidge.

Ah, there we are.  All it takes to atone for the sin of taking steroids is to hit “massive home runs.” Nope, I see no cognitive dissonance there at all.

Look, I’m not ripping Klapisch here because, unless I’m mistaken, he’s merely explaining why, in the minds of the public, A-Rod is off the hook now, not arguing that he deserves to be off or McGwire deserves to be on or both.  But it’s pretty clear that McGwire is being held to a different standard here, and those who will pass judgment on him are going to do their damnedest to ensure that he cannot win.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
11 Comments

The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.