July 1, 2006

Has there ever been a more scrutinized player in the history of sports than the Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez? Furthermore, has there ever been a superstar more disrespected? Common sense dictates that the majority of the boos stem from jealousy. However, I suppose you could argue that Yankee fans, angered by the fact that their owner hasn’t been able to purchase a World Series title since 2000, basically have decided to take their aggression out on the highest paid man on their roster. And before you start in with the “He’s not clutch like Derek Jeter” nonsense, simply look at the numbers. As far as the post season is concerned over the last few years, Rodriguez has comparable if not better numbers than Jeter in many key statistical categories. It simply comes down to money, which is ironic since the Yankees have been throwing theirs around for years. But does he really deserve the constant criticism?  https://esportsrant.com/

Even as a non-Yankee supporter, I suppose I have to defend A-Rod on this one. Sure he signed the highest contract in the history of professional sports, but the only person who legitimately should be booed is the person who would turn down a contract like that in the first place. To turn down that kind of money would be an injustice to your family, to charitable organizations, and to any other future beneficiaries of that money. This was a case of yet another unintelligent owner who negotiated purely against himself, pushing the cost of Rodriguez well beyond what any other team was willing to pay him. But guess what? As the owner of his business, that’s his right. Perhaps he determined that $252 million was a good price to pay for the revenue that this asset would generate for his company, or team, in the future? Or perhaps Tom Hicks is an idiot. But that’s inconsequential at this point. The fact is that the best player in the game at the time the contract was signed and for several years to follow was given the richest contract. And in my opinion it was because of pure envy that this player slowly became the most hated man in sports.

The truth is, in this day in age where athletes are jumping into the stands and inciting riots, punching camera men, taking illegal drugs (performance enhancing or otherwise), beating their wives, driving while intoxicated, or doing any number of other disgraceful things, the worst thing Rodriguez has probably ever done would have to be a toss up between flip flopping between countries to play for during the WBC and slapping the ball out of the 1st baseman’s hand during game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. In this day and age I’d say he’d almost have to be considered a saint. So what do people do? Well since they can’t attack his character off the field, they are forced to rationalize their hatred of him by pointing to, what else, the money he makes.

Let’s think about that for a minute. Is anybody worth $252 million? Can a human being justify someone earning an amount of money that they most likely can’t even comprehend in the first place, and would probably never accumulate even if they lived one hundred lifetimes? I doubt it. So why do fans insist on always making everything about nickels and dimes? Are Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Chipper Jones, and Manny Ramirez worth $18 million, $17 million, $17 million, and $19 per year respectively? Let’s not forget that A-Rod offered to reduce his contract in order to complete a trade to Boston in 2003, but the baseball union denied his appeal. How about some contracts of other athletes? Allan Houston earned over $19 million last season, and will earn almost $21 million for the upcoming season. And oh by the way, Houston retired on October 17th of 2005. Talk about overpaid! Chris Webber will earn $19 million, Stephon Marbury $17 million and Stevie Franchise, a player most franchises would love to see off of their roster as well as off their payroll, will earn $15 million, although I feel guilty using the word earn in many of the above cases.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Chipper Jones as a baseball player. But if you told me that Chipper Jones is two-thirds of the player the Alex Rodriguez is at this point in their careers, I would have to concede it to be a fair assessment. In fact, most of the aforementioned athletes are not even the number one option on their teams. As great as Manny Ramirez is, you could argue that David Ortiz, Curt Shilling, and even Jason Varitek are more vital to the success of the Red Sox.

The truth is, when A-Rod produces big in the regular season, fans complain that the regular season doesn’t matter and that he needs to produce more in the post season. When he produces in the post season they overlook his numbers because none of his hits happen to be walk off homeruns in the bottom of the ninth. And if he hits 50 homers and bats in 150 runs during a given season fans will just claim that every last one of them was meaningless, although I venture to guess that if you have that many RBI’s during the season you would have had to accidentally get a few of them during an important spot in a game. Let’s face it, until the Yankees or any team he’s on wins a World Series, Alex Rodriguez will be detested by baseball fans across the country, although even then I doubt he’ll get much credit for it. Unfortunately there are twenty-four teammates of his on the same losing teams who will never be ostracized in the same way that he is. The only difference is they don’t make quite as much money.

Rac’s Rant appears every month at http://www.sportslizard.com

I’m Dick Richards, and I write a column for one of the great up and coming sports collectible sites on the web, Sportslizard.com While I have written about more serious topics in the past, i.e. sports memorabilia and its authentication processes, I enjoy sharing my thoughts on lighter topics which center around the world of sports. Whether its ripping the commisioner or baseball, criticizing a member of the media, or adding levity to the steroid situation, I thoroughly enjoy expressing myself on the issues of sports. Im also very lucky to be associated with Sportslizard.com, which has a lot to offer to sports fans of all ages and interest levels, whether it be the autograph collector, sports figure enthusiast, and your average 20-something sports junkie. I look forward to writing more and more articles for sportslizard for many years to come.

By yanam49

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