Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first. Doug Mientkiewicz, who was a teammate of Alex Rodriguez in high school, says there is no way Rodriguez took steroids in high school.
“There’s no way,” Mientkiewicz told Yahoo! Sports. “I was with him too much, I was with him for too long. Our team was together, like, 20 hours of the day. Every day.”
Obviously (hopefully) he is exaggerating. Being together that much would surely violate some high school athletic rules and would also be just plain weird. Anyway, to tell you the truth, I don’t care if Alex Rodriguez took steroids in high school or not.
I do think that clubhouse chemistry is important. Baseball players spend more time with each other than they do with their own families. But when a star player gets special treatment, other players often get offended and distance themselves from the star. It certainly does not shock me to read that his teammates in Texas saw him as a spoiled superstar. The article also suggests that he does not have a good relationship with his Yankee teammates either. But in the end, doesn’t winning cure everything?
I certainly don’t care if he is fooling around with Madonna or not. That is tabloid crap. If he cheated on his wife, it makes him a jerk, but doesn’t matter when he steps between the lines. The fact that he may or may not be a bad tipper is also irrelevant. Again, that is tabloid crap that has nothing to do with baseball.
Now, the important stuff.
Are you freaking kidding me?
Joe Girardi said himself that guys have been stealing pitches for years. Players will watch pitchers, catchers and the opposing dugout. Heck, I have done it myself a million times! However, there is one difference.
IT WAS TO BENEFIT MY OWN TEAM!
Tipping pitches to an opposing player just so he will do the same for you is one of the most selfish things I have ever heard of happening on a baseball field. What about your own pitcher? I don’t care if it is 10-2. I don’t care if it is 100-2.
Suppose the pitcher is some 22-year old kid just up from the minors. It is 10-2 in the bottom of the eighth. Game in hand. No problem, right? So A-Rod swipes his foot across the dirt in front of him to let the hitter know that a slider is on the way. Whack! Two-run homer. No problem, still up 10-4. Game outcome not affected.
You know what was affected? The 22-year old kid who was pitching for his professional life. The kid who has waited for the chance to pitch in the big leagues since he could pick up a baseball. That is who was affected! His ERA just jumped and may have earned him a trip back to the bus leagues. But that’s ok, A-Rod, the outcome of the game wasn’t changed.
What is the difference between Pete Rose and Alex Rodriguez? I love Pete Rose the baseball player. Pete Rose was banned for life for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game. If tipping pitches to the other team is not detrimental to the game, I don’t know what is.
And while we are on the subject, pitch-tipping can also affect things like…yes…point spreads. I should not have to explain any further. Anyone who has taken the time to read this far knows what I am talking about.
If I am Derek Jeter, I get to the bottom of this. Yes, Joe Girardi is the manager. The Yankees are filled with big-name players. But Jeter is the heart and soul of the team. I also might include Jorge Posada in the meeting. If all of these accusations are indeed true, it is unforgivable.
What do you do? I really don’t know…