Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A-Rod Needs To Get A Spine.

I want to like Alex. I really do.

But all this politicking over what team he's going to play for for the World Baseball Classic is making me violently ill.

As ill as one gets watching the Giants get raped in their own house a couple of weeks ago? Not quite. But as ill as one gets when he sees players from his favorite team playing Tricky Dick.

Personally, I hate this competition. I think it's pointless. MLB would be better served promoting the game in our inner-cities than in Latin America and Asia. Yes, you potentially open up new markets around the globe. Which means more money for the league. But how many hall of famers do you think will come out of Nicaragua? Or Japan? Or Taiwan?

Now conversely, how many hall of famers do you think will come out of Houston? Or Oakland? Or Harlem? Or Philly?

The way that baseball has neglected the country's black community...the same fan base and community that helped make this game as great it is...is sickening. I understand the economics of it. But it still stinks.

Look at how football and basketball have blossomed by marketing and recruiting black athletes. Both following baseball's lead. The best athletes used to play baseball. Today, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson would have probably have played football rather than baseball. Ugh...

But that's another blog for another time. This blog is about the invertebrate named Alex Rodriguez.

Like I said before, I hate this tournament. But I do believe one thing. If you were born in NYC and raised in Miami, you should not be playing for Dominicans. Your passport says United States, so you should be playing for the U.S.

But while I would have disagreed with him, I would have respected A-Rod's decision to play for the D.R if it was for his parents.

But all this flip-flopping is making me nauseous. Because of outside pressure, he initially bowed out. Now, however, he says he's playing for the U.S. Lovely.

Bill Madden's nailed my feelings on this melodrama in Sunday's Daily News column...

So Alex Rodriguez has finally ended his Hamlet performance and agreed to play for the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic and the world can finally begin spinning on its axis again. After reading his explanation last week — "At the end of the day, with my status in the game, I realized how important it was for me to participate" — it was easy to see just how much of a burden it is being A-Rod. You know, having to work out every morning when his teammates are taking their kids to school. Those kinds of things. Anyway, A-Rod's self-acclaimed self-importance brought up one other thought: Can you imagine Mickey Mantle or Sandy Koufax ever saying something like that?

If you ever wondered why people hate you Alex, why you'll never be as popular as Jeter...that statement encapsulated why. Play, don't play. But whatever decision you make, make sure it's your own and not your agent or a consultants.

Say what you want about Sheff...he told the world that he thought this tourney was a farce and he wanted no part of it. He didn't wait to hear what his agent thought about it. He said the Yankees pay him and that plays for them, not a made up tournament. Olympics, yes....WBC, NO. You might not have liked it. But at least he was honest. He wasn't telling folks what he thought they wanted to hear.

Jeter said he would love to be a part of the tourney if he was picked and he stuck by it. All folks want is honesty. Not some Madison Avenue spun superhero.

I was hoping A-Rod was going to grow out of this whole image is everything phase. But I realize now that this is the same guy who wouldn't sign a waver after getting Punk'd by MTV and Ashton Kutcher. As a result, the episode never aired.

I wish him well on the field and hope he leads our guys to another title. But anyone who take himself that seriously that he can't laugh at himself...will never have a place in hearts of the fans.

You better do it on the field, Alex. Because you'll never win the fans over with your personality.

Leave the politics to Bubba. He's better at it.


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