Last night, CBS’s 60 Minutes also solidified its position as the official Voice of the Police State. In the same way that it recently soft-balled the head of the NSA to assure us that government surveillance is for our own good, last night it trotted out Anthony Bosch and Bud Selig to do postgame interviews on the A-Rod story. A victory lap. Baseball defeated drugs. The game is safe now, everybody.
Well, I hope the Woodward/Bernsteins of ESPN/Disney start asking the Steinbrenners and Levines what they knew and when they knew it. If Chris Christie goes down because his aides were cutting throats, shouldn’t the Yankees front office be required to explain how hard they investigated those joking email concerns that A-Rod was juicing? Or are owners off-limits? Do owners have to be held accountable, in the way their employees are?
Oh, hell. Well, why am bothering to ask? It’s over, folks. There is no sense defending A-Rod anymore. It’s like trying to claim the Redsocks didn’t win the World Series, or that the Yankees are still a better franchise – because long, long ago in a universe far far away, they won a bunch of world championships. The last ring we won, 2009, looks tarnished and rusted – not only by the money we spent on free agents to win it, but by the drugs A-Rod ingested to get there. He’s OJ Simpson. He’s Lance Armstrong. They’re going to delete him from the record books. And here’s the cool part: The Redsocks will skate. Oh, Manny Ramirez will take a hit; they soured on him. But the others, all those great “Cowboy ups” and “Idiots,” including David Ortiz… nobody will raise a peep. It’s good business to have heroes. The Yankees will go down, folks. And if we’re going to root for them, we go down too. So why should we?
Once again, we enter a season without one young player - not one rising star - to give hope. It’s like being a Democrat in Alabama, knowing they can run a hyena against you, and they’ll win. It’s like being a Knicks fan, and knowing you’ll finish last and not have a draft pick. (In fact, the Yankees will have no draft picks next June; they practically don’t need to attend the draft.) We once were the Evil Empire. Now, we have no empire. We’re just evil. Right now, Hal Steinbrenner’s claim to the Yankees is based on the belief that he is the smarter brother. But that’s a low bar. He’s up against self-made billionaires who own other teams. Do we really think this franchise will ever be the smartest?
Yesterday, the Yankees announced the signing of Scott Sizemore, a scrap heap acquisition for third base. This signifies the 2014 plan: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled free agents. We will take in your Vernon Wellses and Travis Hafners, and we shall give them clothing to wear. I keep thinking it can’t get worse. Then I look at the infield and wonder what it will look like in July. I keep thinking we’ll turn the corner. Then I imagine the fifth year of Brian McCann’s contract, and the seventh year of Jacoby Ellsbury.
Listen: We cannot justify rooting for the Yankees. Don’t try to explain it. It’s like cigarettes. If we could quit, we would. But like cigarettes, they’re going to kill us.