Me, in this blog, February 9, 2009, after Alex Rodriguez was outed as a steroid user from 2001 to 2003, before becoming a Yankee:
How many chances is Alex Rodriguez supposed to get?
One thing is for damn sure: Anybody who now calls him "the best player in baseball" or "the man who should be playing shortstop for the Yankees" is a freaking fool.
Alex Rodriguez -- A-Roid -- should not be playing baseball for the New York Yankees. Or for any other team. He is a disgrace.
He has embarrassed everybody. His teammates. His manager and coaches. His team's management. His team's fans. The game itself. The fans of said game. His wife.
This, on top of his performance, which has often been glorious from April through September, but hopeless in October...
The Yankees have invested so much in him, money as well as public relations, and what has he done for them? Made a little money back.
The New York Yankees are about winning World Series first and making money second.
Alex Rodriguez is about Alex Rodriguez first, second, third, fourth, etc....
It is time to cut Rodriguez loose. And if the Players' Association (the ballplayers' union) objects, tough. I don't care what it costs the Yankees to get rid of A-Rod: If he stays with them, he will cost them far more than money.
Hank Steinbrenner, Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine, Lonn Trost, Brian Cashman... Gentlemen, you have to do it.
Cut Alex Rodriguez.
Me, November 6, 2009, after A-Rod helped the Yankees win a World Series, for the first time, and, for the moment, the only time:
I said the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman had to "Cut Alex Rodriguez. Do it. Now." They did not. They were right, and I was wrong...
Alex Rodriguez is a winner because he decided, having seen the alternative, that it would be better to be a good person, and a good teammate. To make himself a winner on the field and off of it...
A-Rod was excellent when it was superfluous, and incompetent when competence alone would have sufficed. No more. Alex Rodriguez is a World Champion. He is a New York Yankee, by anybody's definition. He has earned his money. He has earned our respect...
I was wrong about Alex Rodriguez. And I'm glad of it. He became the kind of player that both of us, he and I, wanted him to be.
Well. There's a new story that suggests that A-Rod was using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) as recently as 2009, during his comeback from injury that led to his only World Championship season to date.
The report is in the Miami New Times.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "What the hell is the Miami New Times?"
It's a weekly paper that I'd never heard of, either. What is their credibility? Well, it's owned by the Village Voice, and is roughly a South Florida equivalent to that once-great New York weekly, which has seriously declined in quality in recent years.
The Miami New Times claims to have a pharmacist's notes showing that A-Rod was sold PEDs in 2009. Does the paper, or the pharmo, have any credibility? I don't know.
A-Rod has already publicly denied it. And he fully intends to return to the Yankees when his injury allows him to, presumably this coming July, after the All-Star Break.
After that, while his chances of reaching 763 home runs and becoming the all-time leader are getting slimmer and slimmer, and he also has little chance of surpassing Hank Aaron's record of 2,297 RBIs, he goes have a good shot at reaching 700 home runs, 3,000 hits, and 2,000 RBIs.
If, that is, he plays at all.
Last week, Yankee general manager Brian Cashman suggested that A-Rod might not be able to return this season at all.
But there's an even bigger question to ask:
Should Alex Rodriguez return? Should he ever play another game for the New York Yankees? Should he ever play another game for any Major League Baseball team?
Or, as I suggested he had in 2009, has he embarrassed the Yankee organization, and baseball as a whole, enough?
Look, we all know: "Presumed innocent, until proven guilty." This report doesn't prove a damn thing. We haven't seen the notes. Even if we ever do, how do we know the pharmo is telling the truth?
After all, we all "know" that Roger Clemens used PEDs, but, as far as has been publicly revealed, his main accuse, Brian McNamee, hasn't produced one single solitary shred of admissible evidence.
I used to do office work at a law firm. The woman who ran it hated going to court. She said, "A bad settlement is better than a good verdict."
On this occasion, she may well be right.
Most Yankee Fans would now like to celebrate the 4 Pennants and 2 World Championships won with Clemens on the roster, without giving Clemens himself much thought.
The 2009 World Championship was special. It was, until this morning, without any semblance of taint. Whatever PEDs A-Rod had taken before, no one could prove he took any as a Yankee, or was under the effect of any, during any Pennant-winning season for the Yankees. (Had the Yankees won the Pennant in 2004, or '05, or maybe even '06, I wouldn't look so good saying that.)
But now, A-Rod may have tainted that wonderful victory.
And we're still counting on him to be a big bat in the 2nd half of the 2013 season?
How badly do we want to see him collect his 3,000th hit, his 700th home run, his 2,000th RBI in a Yankee uniform?
This isn't even like a subset of the Wenger Out Brigade at London soccer team Arsenal, the people who want manager Arsene Wenger fired because he hasn't brought them a trophy in 8 years -- a similar situation to what many of us felt about Joe Torre in the last couple of years he was manager (2006-07). Some of them curse him and and want him gone. Others prefer to follow the words of a banner that's often hung at the Emirates Stadium:
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
BUT IT'S TIME TO GO
(As far as I know, Wenger has never acknowledged the banner with his trademark phrase for an Arsenal player committing a foul, "No, I did not see it.")
The A-Rod fanboys and fangirls kept telling those of us who wanted him gone after 2007 and the Winter '09 revelations that the Yankees wouldn't have won in 2009 without him.
I think most Yankee Fans would accept that as correct.
So I'm not going to say, "Alex, thanks for 2009, but it's time to go."
No, I'm going to have to quote one of the most brutal tyrants of the last 400 years, Oliver Cromwell, overthrower of King Charles I, dictator of the British Isles from 1649 to 1658, in the words he used to dismiss Parliament:
You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!
Seriously. Even if he's innocent, somehow, he put himself in a position to make himself appear guilty. Whatever reputation he had as "clean since 2004" is gone.
Yankee management, led by Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, GM Cashman, and team president Randy Levine, have been obsessed with getting under the luxury tax threshold by 2014.
No. They should be more concerned with the team's image. No team has been more accused of PED usage. Nearly all of the accusations have been either outright lies or very overblown. So many Yankee opponents have had success directly attributable to steroids: The 1996-99 Texas Rangers, the 1996-97 Baltimore Orioles, the 2000-01 Oakland Athletics, the 2000 New York Mets, the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, the 2003-08 Boston Red Sox, the 2003 Florida Marlins, the 2006 Detroit Tigers. Yet it's the Yankees who get blamed first.
Red Sox fans still chant, "Sterrrr-oiiiids!" whenever A-Rod comes to bat. Well, without David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez taking steroids, they'd be looking at a 95-year World Series drought. They are hypocrites. On a Manchester United or Dallas Cowboys level.
It is time to clean the slate.
Get rid of Alex Rodriguez. Alex, you have been with us too long, and have not done us any good lately. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you.
In the name of God, in the name of the baseball gods, in the name of anything that is good and holy, go.
And if he won't, then, House of Steinbrenner, cut him. Eat the contract. Take the financial hit.
But don't let him play another game in Pinstripes.
To paraphrase -- and bowdlerize -- Samuel L. Jackson, Enough is enough. I have had it with this guy on our team.
He just ain't worth it. And he never was.
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