Cris Carter said he gave Alex Rodriguez a talking-to

25 Comments

This is fun. Ex-NFL player Cris Carter ran into A-Rod down in Florida when A-Rod was getting ready to come back this year and they had a little chat. Carter said that he was concerned about PEDs and A-Rod’s P.R. problems and how his example impacts children and stuff. Then it got good. He said this on the Mike & Mike show:

“And he went into, Well, you know, I’m fighting for my life, and I basically just interrupted him and said, ‘Your life as a baseball player is over with. Now what you decide to do with the rest of your life — that’s the decision that you have to make. You and a number of other athletes have lost a whole generation of kids. Now, they’re going to be experimenting with PEDs because you guys have been successful doing it. What are you going to do to try to repair that?’ ”

Carter went on to tell A-Rod: “That’s really what your legacy should be. What you decide to do is totally up to you. I don’t care. I’m nobody — I’m just a fan. But I thought I should tell you that. You have an opportunity — and it could start today — that you could have the greatest legacy as far as PEDs, kids, high school athletes.”

I don’t think A-Rod or any big time athlete doing PEDs has nearly the impact on kids doing them as do the habits of other kids and the competitive environment in which they find themselves (i.e. if the incentive exists for them it will be way stronger a push than anyone’s example might be). But Carter is right about where A-Rod is in the grand scheme of things.

He’s not “done” in the same way Bill Madden keeps saying he’s done. He will likely still play baseball. I also believe that, yes, A-Rod has every right and incentive — in in some ways responsibility — to fight the charges against him. If for no other reason than because the precedent of MLB leveling crazy 200+ game suspensions for first time violations of the JDA is insane.

But his time as a big impact player and famous superstar is over. And it would be a good idea for him think about his future more than his present. Any move calculated to work on his present image, as opposed to his legal status alone, is probably wasted effort.

Report: Mike Trout as recognizable to Americans as NBA’s Kenneth Faried

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Monday, the Washington Post cited Q Scores, a firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, with regard to Angels outfielder Mike Trout. According to Q Scores, Trout is as recognized to Americans as NBA forward Kenneth Faried, who has spent seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets and is now a reserve with the Brooklyn Nets. Trout’s score was 22, which means just over one in five Americans know who he is.

We have talked here at various times about Trout’s lack of marketability. He has expressed zero interest in being marketed as the face of baseball. Additionally, based on the nature of the sport, it’s harder for baseball to aggressively market its stars since star players don’t impact teams the same way they do in other sports. LeBron James, for example, carries whatever team he’s on to the NBA Finals. James has appeared in the NBA Finals every year dating back to 2011. Trout, despite being far and away the best active player in baseball and one of the best players of all time, has only reached the postseason once, in 2014 when his Angels were swept in the ALDS by the Royals. Trout can’t carry his team to the playoffs and his team hasn’t helped him any in getting there on a regular basis.

Baseball is also more of a regional sport. Fans follow their local team, of course, and don’t really venture beyond that even though games are broadcast nationally throughout the week. The NFL schedule is much shorter and occurs once a week, so fans put aside time to watch not just their favorite team’s game, but other games of interest as well. A June game between the subpar White Sox and Tigers doesn’t have much appeal to it since it’s one of 162 games for both teams, and both teams will play again later in the season. Comparatively, a game between the Bears and Lions has more intrigue since they only play twice a year.

It’s kind of a shame for baseball that Trout isn’t bigger than he is because he is a once-in-a-generation talent, like Ken Griffey Jr. In fact, Trout is so good that he’s still underrated. He’s on pace to have one of the greatest seasons of all-time, going by Wins Above Replacement. Despite that, he’s anything but a lock to win the MVP Award at season’s end because the narratives around other players, like Mookie Betts, are more compelling.

Trout’s marketability is an issue that isn’t likely to be fixed anytime soon. Trout is who he is and forcing him to ham it up for the cameras would come off as forced and unnatural. Major League Baseball will simply have to hope its other stars, like Bryce Harper and Mookie Betts, can help broaden the appeal of the sport.