How does one even start an article about Alex Rodriguez these days? "Did you know that Alex Rodriguez has been in some hot water lately?" That’s a horrible opener. And "So I hear Alex Rodriguez has been in some hot water recently!" isn’t any better.
Well, listen: there are people who like Alex Rodriguez, and there are people who don’t. (That line is similarly lame, but let’s keep moving forward.) As I sit here, popcorn in tow, cheering on Mr. Rodriguez while pretending my uncomfortable IKEA swivel chair is comfortable, I search for valid reasons to dislike the embattled third baseman. I wish I could get angry about the steroids thing, but I cannot as the evidence that steroids make any significant contribution to a player’s performance is, after all, unconvincing at best and nonexistent at worst; moreover, I wish I could be one of those people who dislike him simply on the grounds that he "broke the rules," but I cannot, for after all, there are plenty of stupid rules around and, taking society as a whole, each of us probably breaks a law or two a day, perhaps without even realizing it.
Neither are pictorials in magazines and kissing one’s own image in a mirror and having one’s self rendered as a centaur reasons to hate the man; on the contrary, these are all things that, in my conception of the world at least, are absolutely fantastic—in an ironic sense of course, but still. I mean, a centaur? That’s so, so good. In sum, then, all such charges fail to shift the needle on the proverbial A-Rod hate-o-meter; in addition, unlike other baseball players, Rodriguez has never driven under the influence, has never been accused of committing battery or any other mode of violence, and has never bagpiped out hate speech over Twitter, in the locker room, or via eye black. Nor does he have atrocious facial hair. Color me confused, then: why, again, must we hate this clearly talented, often hilarious individual? Perhaps it is his on-field behavior that is questionable. We dip our toes into the video archives.
Untz Untz Untz Untz
Suggested soundtrack to this GIF: Air’s "Sexy Boy."
That’s Not Baseball #2
F——n' Arod 6
"That’ll be the only double scored in this game!" yelled Mr. Rodriguez before he doused the second-base bag in lighter fluid and struck a match.
A-Rod Spots a Criminal
Sure, he ruins the game both literally and figuratively, but he also spots criminals and points at them! On this occasion, he noticed a Jim Leyland doppelganger lurking behind home plate. We are presented, then, with a troubling dichotomy: would you rather have a perfect, A-Rod-less game in a world full of crime, or a spoiled, A-Rod-full game in a world with no crime? I trust you’ll make the correct decision.
Utility GIF: Jeter Approves
This was Derek Jeter’s response to A-Rod’s famous display of centaur power.
"Alex, terrorists have now weaponized the Ebola virus. Your thoughts?"
"Alex, in order to pay your salary the Steinbrenners have had to withdraw all contributions the team would have made to charity. Your thoughts?"
Great Moments in A-Rod History #2: ALCS Glove Slap
Glove slap, baby glove slap!
Glove slap, I don’t take crap!
This was, of course, the sixth game of the 2004 American League Championship Series, New York facing Boston; it was the bottom of the eighth when, with the Yankees down 4—2 and Derek Jeter standing at first, Rodriguez unleashed a slow dribbler down the line off a 72 mph Bronson Arroyo something-or-other (I’m guessing it was a curveball, but with Arroyo’s five million different arm angles, who even knows). Things to savor: A-Rod clapping his hands after swatting his assailant’s glove, and Arroyo doing multiple revolutions in his desperate search for the ball.
See, now, the various utility/reply GIFs we can glean from this one glorious incident.
Don Juan Triumphant
Arroyo seemingly confounded that his glove was not Boston Strong.
And then, sadly, the call was overturned:
Derek Jeter Disagrees with Your Call, Sir
Allow me, if I may, to use this platform to talk more generally about recent discussions of showboating, displays of emotion, and questionable tactics within this game we so dearly love. I don’t go for this nonsense fretting over "unsportsmanlike behavior." This is little more than a hypermoral decree insisted upon by boring, pietistic individuals that cling feverishly to the belief that the game should be "played the right way," a birdbrained slogan they can reinforce only by deploying equally fatuous, equally antediluvian aphorisms. All such references equate to little more than a demand of servitude to a code concocted exclusively by old white men in the 19th century. Yet the times have changed, and I couldn’t care less. My enjoyment of the game would be increased by several orders of magnitude if Yasiel Puig flipped his bat on every cheap seeing-eye base hit; if Francisco Cervelli cheered raucously at the conclusion of each inning.
How does this fit with Big Rod flailing about at a clueless Arroyo? Listen, if you can’t maintain possession of a ball nestled deep within your massive glove as a man slaps wildly at it with an open palm, that’s on you. These individuals are paid millions of dollars a year to complete a series of tasks that are (to them) relatively simple. We should expect them to do a good job of it, foremost tagging out a runner successfully. Similarly, if you get distracted by a buffoon yelling "Ha!" as he rounds the bases, that’s also on you. Who’s the joke on? Not on the man that reached base safely, that’s for sure. Thank you! And with that sterling display of baseball nihilism, I leave you.
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