Friday, August 2, 2013
Posted by el duque at 8:16 AM
Well... what if you don't give a damn about Bud Selig's crackdown on performance enhancing drugs?
What if you, as a fan, simply want to root for the Yankees, and not be caught up in morality judgments rendered by characters you have decided - from past experience - not to trust?
Does that make you less a fan? Or less a citizen? Does it give you the right to root for your team?
Can we be oblivious to all this, and simply watch what happens on the field?
Frankly, it's a nice show that MLB is offering: A daily whisper here, a daily leak there... while it pressures players, one by one, to "plead guilty" and accept slightly sweetened suspensions, which in some cases don't seem like punishments at all. Ryan Braun - their Public Enemy No. One last year - is hurt, and his team sucks, so what difference does it make if he sits out the rest of the season? And apparently, MLB's plan is to waive suspensions for the likes of Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera, because they already served time. So why wouldn't they accept a "plea bargain?"
Ah, how I love that phrase. Plea bargain. Because when you hear it, you get the sense that this is some public court of law. Of course, it's not. Selig is not a prosecutor; he just plays one on TV. This is a private investigation by a private team of hired police, and their responsibility is to MLB, which is looking out for - as always - MLB's bottom line. They completely botched the Ryan Braun case last year, and now one question overrides all others: Do they have evidence against A-Rod that goes beyond the testimony of a guy with no credibility and a lot of reasons to want to spit out names that get him off the hook in a lawsuit?
Yesterday, our great Yankee friend Buck Showalter expressed the view that the Yankees will escape their huge debts to A-Rod, if he is banned. (Buck fired off an opening salvo, trying to pressure his star catcher, Matt Wieters, to say something stupid, such as he'll never go to New York.) He has a point. If A-Rod gets suspended, our problems in meeting the $189 million payroll next year seem rather moot. What a lifeline Bud Selig is extending us - just like Bartolo and Melky - as his hired investigators try to clean this up and bring everybody on board.
OK, here's where you probably disagree with me: But as a Yankee fan, I believe A-Rod is guilty of one thing: He failed us last October. Royally. He stunk. I'm sorry, but that's it. I don't care about his money or his women. I do not want the weight of Bud Selig's morality war pushed onto my allegiance. (And once again, I cannot help but note that all these suspensions hit the Yankees, while the re-sculpted Big Papi and the Redsocks never generate a peep; how does that always happen?)
Listen: I don't want our ownership to escape their stupidity: Hal and Hank Steinbrenner offered A-Rod his mega-deal at a time when the Yankee fan base was happy to see him go. They earned this debt. They created this team. They own it. They better start standing behind their man. And until MLB shows its cards, we should stand behind him too. Let's see whether A-Rod has enough juice in him to take the Yankees to the Wild Card. Wouldn't it be incredible? Booed in every stadium. Cast out from the owners of the game. And yet, still batting, still fighting to clear his name...
I know, I know... Altogether now: A-Rod is a self-kissing megalomaniac and a greedy boar. He must disappear... for the good of the game!
Well, am I less a fan because I do not want to mix morality with my emotional allegiance to a team?
I don't want the Yankees to escape their debts to society.
I just want baseball to, at least for a while each summer, let me escape mine.