YEAH I SAID IT: A-Rod Belongs In The Hall of Fame So Just Deal With It
Bring on the glamour shots and GIFs of Cameron Diaz and her popcorn, everybody! The MLB's prettiest boy is finally retiring. On Sunday morning, the New York Yankees announced that Alex Rodriguez will play his final game on Friday before assuming a position as a special adviser and instructor with the team. Whatever the hell that means.
After that game, Rodriguez will be unconditionally released by the Yankees from his player contract in order to sign a contract to serve in his new role with the organization through Dec. 31, 2017. Which is really just a technicality because the Yankees are still contractually obligated to pay Rodriguez the remainder of his $21 million salary for this season and the $21 million he is owed for 2017.
You might remember that when he signed that deal, it was the largest in the history of Major League Baseball, and according to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, they did not reach a settlement that would allow them out of their remaining $27 million obligation. Shocking.
But here's the real hot take of the day from a lifelong Red Sox fan:
Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest hitters of all time and he deserves to go into the Hall of Fame.
Of course, every hardcore baseball fan or writer is going to tell you that he doesn't. They are going to spout off about steroids in baseball and the distortion of the game, the same way that they have with other would-be Hall of Famers like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. And if their narrative about steroids in baseball were true, they'd be 100 percent justified in feeling that way.
Unfortunately, the narrative about steroids in baseball is chock full of convenient omissions. It presumes that any player who was never caught using PEDs is more worthy. It assumes that if a player wasn't using a performance enhancing drug then they also weren't using any banned substances, and it fails to consider that substances like cocaine and Adderall - and multiple other forms of speed - were and still are "performance enhancing," just like steroids.
There's no blanket way to disqualify someone from the Hall of Fame, because the Hall of Fame is already full of drug-users and abusers; people who found ways to enhance their performance. It may not have been steroids (although in some cases I'm sure it was) but they found ways to use banned substances to their advantage.
In the recent 30 for 30 film about Daryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden, Strawberry explained the way that cocaine gave him a laser-like focus on the ball while he was at bat. They told stories over and over again about how they'd be high and drunk into the wee hours of the morning and then use speed to even themselves out and be game-ready in a matter of seconds. And we all know that they weren't the first players or the last to figure that out.
If that's not "performance enhancing" then I don't know what is.
The steroids-in-baseball narrative also conveniently fails to mention that the MLB and many of the writers themselves were complicit in prolonged life of the steroid era; knowing what was happening and failing to do anything about it or report on it. Because you know...how cool was that 1998 home run chase?!
So after decades of allowing steroids to infiltrate the game, everything gets exposed and the guys that were caught using are blackballed from a rightful place as all-timers; as if players haven't been taking shit to help them stay ahead of the curve since the dawn of professional sports.
A-Rod is 41-years-old, and has played since he was 18. For context, I'm almost 30 and he's been playing since I was seven. He won three AL MVPs and made 14 All-Star Games in 19 full seasons. He has 10 Silver Slugger awards and two Gold Gloves. He is fourth all-time in home runs with 696. He is third all-time in RBI with 2,084 and eight all-time in runs with 2,021. His 25 Grand Slams are the most in MLB history.
You don't have to like him. You can think he's a vain, whiny, arrogant crybaby with entitlement issues that are straight up clinical. I very much think those things. I think he has the most punchable face I've ever laid eyes on. I hate him for things he doesn't even have control over; like his hairline and the fact that he constantly looks like he's forgotten where he is.
But none of that matters when it comes to playing baseball.
I don't care if Biogenesis was injecting HGH directly into every joint and ligament in his body, just like I didn't care if Peyton Manning had used HGH. I just can't care about that garbage anymore. I can't bear to see another incredible athlete - who made an indelible impact on American sports - get treated like he doesn't matter. He paid his price. He served his suspension. Get the hell over it.
Alex Rodriguez, in spite of himself, is an all-time great American League baseball player; and it would be a disgrace for the MLB to pretend otherwise.
OH Alex. You silly, ridiculous man.
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