Saturday, December 19, 2020

For Hypothetical Saturday, here's a question you didn't see coming: Should A-Rod make the Mariners Hall of Fame?

There is a bizarre, supernatural relationship between the Yankees and Seattle Mariners. Geographically, they sit on the opposite edges of America. But like particles in quantum theory experiments, when one itches on the East, the counterpart on the West scratches. There's some sort of wormhole. Frankly, it's spooky. 

The Mariners greatest moment - the 1995 playoffs - came over the Yankees. Their greatest player, Ken Griffey Jr., grew up with his dad as a Yankee. Then there are the weird crosscurrents: Robinson Cano, Randy Johnson, Tino Martinez,  Ken Phelps, Raul Ibanez - should I go on? okay - Ichiro Suzuki, Jeff Nelson, Russ Davis, James Paxton - had enough? no? - Freddie Garcia, Miguel Cairo, Edwin Encarnacion, Ben Gamel, Michael Pineda, Justus Sheffield - don't make me do this -Jesus H. Montero... JAY BUHNER!

Memory Lane has potholes, eh? But I've neglected perhaps the most onerous and overwhelming Seattle-NY connection of all: Alex Rodrguez. 

Seattle launched his career. New York capped it - and killed it. 

Hence, one of the more enjoyable hikes along the Avenue of Pandemic Time-Killing: Lookout Landing asks whether A-Rod should make the Mariners Hall of Fame

I love this article because:

a) It conveys information. The Mariners have a Hall of Fame! Who knew?

b) It argues that, yes, A-Rod belongs. (It recently argued that Robbie Cano also belongs.) 

c) The writer nails it.

Alex Rodriguez was so, so, so good at playing baseball for the Seattle Mariners. The circumstances of his exit are messy at best and selfishly vindictive at worst, but for the five seasons when he was the M’s starting shortstop, there wasn’t a better player in the game.

Okay, I know what you're thinking: What about the steroids? Well, for starters, by all indications, A-Rod did not start popping pills until he moved to Texas, where everybody was doing it, and - frankly - when MLB had yet to ban it. He played SS, not a position for steroidal brutes. Then there is the broader philosophical question: How self-righteous should we be when judging old ball players?

I have a hard time assigning great moral debates to retired jocks. I know - it's complicated, and there is the old chestnut: Cheaters never win and winners never cheat. But the older these guys get, the more I realize that very few players ever get to be described as "great." And to deny their past seems rather foolish. 

I understand if folks simply hate A-Rod and his seemingly perfect, beautiful, golden, Minotaur-self-portrait-in-the-bedroom life. But something tells me that, up close, it's hell being married to an aging pop goddess. I wouldn't know from experience. Just imagining it, though. 

Which raises another question: Does he belong in Monument Park?

The answer, of course!

Here are the Yankees currently honored in Monument Park: Miller Huggins, Lou Gehrig, Jacob Rupert, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Thurman Munson, Roger Maris, Elston Howard, Phil Rizzuto, Billy Martin, Lefty Gomez, Whitey Ford, Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Ali Reynolds, Don Mattingly, Mel Allen, Bob Sheppard, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Red Ruffing, Jackie Robinson, George Steinbrenner, Mariano Rivera, Tino Martinez, Goose Gossage, Paul O'Neill, Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Willie Randolph, Mel Stottlemyre, Andy Pettite, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter. Yeah, it's a crowd.

I don't like to use the argument that, "If A is in, then B belongs." But with two MVP awards, A-Rod certainly passes the greatness test. He practically carried us to the 2009 world series. All these people are worthy. So is A-Rod. 

Yeesh, are we supposed to hate him forever? I reserve that distinction for Redsocks.


Publius said...

Of course ARod should be in the Mariners' HOF, and he should be in Monument Park. But not yet, at least not Monument Park. Let time, and perhaps a different Yankees management group, heal the wounds. Senior citizen ARod, out of the public eye except pperhaps for some play by play, might actually appreciate the honor, and be appreciated by nostalgic fans.

Retired Stratman said...

What the hell is going on with this place? Has IIHIIFIIC been hacked by the Russians?

Anonymous said...

Two questions worth answering...

1) Should A-Rod go into the Mariners HOF?

Absolutely! He was clean and played a major part in their best period of baseball. He was the best player at his position (In the league) and was beloved.

and therein lies my segue...

2) Should A-Rod go into Monument Park?

Uh, no.

Why you ask? I will tell you. Short answer? Not beloved.

If you look at the list of those honored, each name brings up warm and wonderful memories. Even the names of those I never saw, like Babe Ruth, Bill Dickey, etc. evoke greatness. A-Rod, not so much.

So let's make a different list:

a) A-Rod cheated.

b) He led others down the path of cheating.

c) His contract was an albatross.

Is there anybody else on that list who Yankee fans bitched about constantly and couldn't wait to be unburdened from? Anybody wake up, read the New York World-Telegram, and go "Fuck Roger Maris"?

Well, actually probably, but that was about passing the Babe not because he was crippling the team's ability to improve.

d) A-Rod was NEVER a Yankee. He was A-Rod on the Yankees.

And yes, we've had other larger than life characters, Babe Ruth, Reggie, but some how his A-Rodness seems more obnoxious. Reggie was cool. The Babe was the Babe.

e) Did I mention he cheated... us!

It's not just that he was suspended, it's that his suspension left a big gaping hole in our lineup.

It's one thing to get hurt. That's part of the game, or as Stanton calls it... Thursday.

But, while unfortunate, and as bitterly as we complain, them's the breaks. But a suspension for cheating is 100% on the player. A-Rod screwed the team big time.

So... Uh, no.

Doug K.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Doug K., I was cruising along, agreeing with everything you said, and then I hit:

     It's one thing to get hurt. That's part of the game, or as Stanton calls it... Thursday.

It's always good to be completely had by a joke you don't see coming. Nicely done.

TheWinWarblist said...

The only problem with ARod cheating is that we only won one WS with him. If he had delivered over and over again for the Yankees, he'd be welcome to move into my guest room.

Fuck you ARod.

Kevin said...

I remember when Baseball Men said that the ball made "a different sound" off his bat when he was a teenager. Think he wasn't juicing? Think again. Fans think that juicing is either all or nothing. Not so. No juicing goes back to the early eighties, probably even the late seventies. If the dozen or so of the most egregious users not gone crazy, MLB easily could have kept the lid on.

Kevin said...

*I was speaking of course about A-Rod.

HoraceClarke66 said...

What a great hot stove topic, Duque! And hilarious line—as usual—Doug K.

But of course, I have to quibble here and there:

—Did A-Rod only start juicing in Texas? Almost certainly...NOT.

Selena Roberts asserted in her bio that Alex was juicing back in high school. Originally, I put this down as just one more chapter in the NY sporting press' almost insane vendetta against Rodriguez.

But after reading up on early doping in Florida, I realized she was probably right. In the moral sewer of America, it's considered child neglect if you're NOT doping your child athlete like a mob-owned thoroughbred.

And sure enough, A-Rod did have some amazing transition in high school, where he suddenly became pumped and invincible.

(Mantle had that, too, but he did it the old-fashioned way, through some combination of being treated for his osteomylitis and growing up in what literally became a Superfund site.)

I share Duque's sense of tolerance about aging athletes doing what it takes—or turning to PEDs in a league where (almost) everybody is juicing. But this makes A-Rod more of a pioneer, than a follower...

HoraceClarke66 said...

For the rest of it, I have to agree with Doug K.

He cheated us, as well as cheating in general. And he wasn't beloved.

Frankly, I could never stand Billy Martin. I thought he was a terribly destructive manager, and someone who desperately needed help. When I see his No. 1 in Monument Park, I like to pretend it's a tribute to Bobby Murcer, or maybe Earle Combs, both much more deserving Yankees.

But Billy was beloved. The fans loved him. Which to me is a qualifying reason for retiring numbers, putting up plaques, etc. A-Rod was never beloved.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And I got to go with the Warbler on rings.

A-Rod was NOT clutch, for most of his Yankees career.

He got us the 2009 title, and he was never the big reason for our constant, 21st century October failures. That would the lack of pitching.

But he wasn't clutch.

If you're going to cheat, you better at least win.

TheWinWarblist said...

Mark MacGuire also juiced in high school. Half the meat heads in my gym are still juicing. Any sport reporter who insists that steroids aren't a part of America is a big fat gelatinous idiot that never leaves his mother's basement.

And yes, Hoss, Arod's unforgivable crime was cheating and then losing for the Yankees. Stupid fucker, may gonorrhoeal sores rot off his pecs.

TheWinWarblist said...

Brief update, my arm feels like the undead skeleton of one of the Cleveland Spiders is gnawing on it, but that's a small price to pay for in person baseball next year.

Stay safe Commentariat, and stay thirsty!

Rufus T. Firefly said...

The 1 in monument park wasn't for Murcer? Should have been. I'm still pissed they traded him, even though they got him back. He should have been a lifer.

Billy was a mean drunk. That is never good. As enjoyable as a train derailment.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Oh, and NO FUCKING WAY on A-roid. For the J-lo birthday cake, if for any other reason.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Martin wrecked entire trainloads of pitchers with his constant, "win now" philosophy.

People feel Sparky Lyle was mistreated when he was largely relegated to a set-up role after his Cy Young year in 1977. Fact was, Lyle never pitched very well at all after that season. The reason was that Martin wouldn't hesitate to put him in for five innings—in a game he was losing. Did much the same with Gossage.

Dave Boswell in Minnesota, Joe Coleman in Detroit, Ferguson Jenkins in Texas, all those guys in Oakland, Guidry in the '80s—again and again, guys had career years under Martin, then dead arms the next season. Or for the rest of their careers.

As his stints with the Yankees continued, he got more and more out of control, taking irrational dislikes to player, getting into fights, showing up only minutes before games. I only cut him any slack because he came from a very troubled background—and because one owner after another decided to exploit his skills rather than insist he get the help he desperately needed.

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Anonymous said...

I still can't pretend to give a shit if these guys use roids. Just legalize the think. They can get whatever wacky surgeries are dreamt up to slice of ligaments reinforce then and move them to other parts of the body but they can't pop some pills? Who cares

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