On Friday night Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays for number four on the all-time home run list. If you don’t much like Alex Rodriguez or don’t care for what PEDs did to the game, you likely ignored it. Maybe grumbled some. That’s totally fair. If you either like A-Rod, don’t get too worked up about PEDs or are a Yankees fan, you cheered it or at least noted it. In this it’s like most other things in 21st century baseball. “Meh” or “Yay,” your mileage varies.
But there are some folks who go way beyond “meh,” and for them this was inevitable, I suppose:
You know, those sentient clouds of suspicion which just decide where to be and when on their own accord? Which have nothing to do with columnists for major dailies doing the suspecting?
Madden starts out his column by saying “Time to get out the asterisks again,” and just goes on in the manner which you’d expect it to go. Accusing A-Rod of PEDs, more or less, but doing so in a way that gives him enough cover if he’s wrong.
Thing is, he doesn’t know that A-Rod is on PEDs any more than you or I know that he’s not. He could be! But the difference is that Madden has staked his reputation and happiness, apparently, on A-Rod being a juiced up monster whereas those among us not suffering from A-Rod Derangement Syndrome are content to care or not care in reasonable terms. To enjoy a moment some fans enjoy or to, at the very least, acknowledge that however flawed a person and a player A-Rod is, hitting 660 homers is an interesting thing.
Of course, Madden has long since given up any claim to knowing what in the heck he’s talking about when it comes to Alex Rodriguez. In the summer of 2013 Madden reported that A-Rod was looking for a way to retire in order to avoid the embarrassment of a suspension. He did not retire. He reported that A-Rod was physically disabled and would likely take a disablement retirement. He came back anyway. Madden said Rodriguez would be a distraction to the team as long as he hung around. A-Rod more or less disappeared from the headlines following his suspension and since he has come back he has played reasonably well while being a good teammate and providing no distractions. Now, A-Rod is a steady performer on a Yankees team that has been playing their best baseball in a couple of years, but we talk of clouds of suspicion and disgrace and ignominy.
Of course, given that Madden is the equivalent of, like, 0-for-130 when it comes to handicapping Alex Rodriguez‘s situation it’s no surprise that he gets it wrong here too. If representing the small but vocal anti-A-Rod rump is his bag, he can have it I suppose.
Back in the real world, the Yankees are saying that they don’t intend to pay A-Rod the marketing bonus for his 660th home run because they have no ability to market it. Never mind that the Yankees have marketed every single thing that isn’t nailed down for years now. And lots of things that are. They’ve marketed rakes used on the infield dirt. The team changes the bases on the field several times a game now, simply because Steiner Sports can sell them to people and the team can get a cut. If they wanted to they could sell uncleaned urinals from old Yankee Stadium or empty jars which they claim contain Scott Brosius farts. Hell, they’d get a waiting list for the Scott Brosius farts, I guarantee you.
But they can’t find a way to market Alex Rodriguez passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list. That’s just too much, it seems. How unexpectedly convenient.