Respecting Alex Rodriguez the Man

It’s easy to hate Alex Rodriguez. There’s the obvious allegations of using banned substances, a smug attitude which makes it seem like he’s there for a paycheck, and sucking when it mattered most. Granted he was essential for the 2009 Yankee playoff run but America runs on a “What have you done for me lately” basis and in those four years since the championship, he hasn’t done much.

I wanted to believe in Alex Rodriguez the player but doing that found me in the same situation I was in when I believed in Harvey Dent. There was this huge build-up to a great player, he hit a few home runs for Gotham, but in the end he can’t shake those playoff demons -a burden he has used to shape his life.

While Alex Rodriguez the player is hateable, Alex Rodriguez the man is a different story. 651 home runs and a World Series ring with the New York Yankees is impressive but how many men can say they have been with Torrie Wilson? Her beauty is that of legends. If the Muslim faith prays to Mecca then anything with a set of eyes prays to Torrie Wilson. Wrestling audiences were left dumbfounded on two occasions. The first was Hulk Hogan’s heel turn and the other was Torrie Wilson competing in white booty shorts and a tight white top for a Wet N’ Wild Match against Candice Michelle. On that level it’s hard to hate a man who calls Torrie Wilson his main squeeze.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees

Not only has Alex Rodriguez bagged the types of women we can only conjure up in those early teenage wet dream years but his ability to not fall apart under pressure on a human level is remarkable. (On a baseball level he has the emotional stability of Charlie Sheen balling his eyes out in Platoon after realizing how much of a monster he was for shooting at the ground and making the Vietnamese man dance.) Only a few men can say they have been with Torrie Wilson. Less hold the title of not dropping a Michael Richards/Mel Gibson type rant or go on an apology tour when the entire country hates you.

A-Rod might seem stubborn but in a way he’s doing what the great Patrice O’Neal did when he bombed on stage. When Patrice lost a crowd he didn’t try to win them back. Instead he took the entire audience down with him. If Patrice had a bit about puppies and it bombed, then his punchline was about Michael Vick being the man. When women in a comedy club were disgusted by his philosophies on dating, then Patrice walked the entire room by making it worse and saying something like, “My girl has been with me for five years and I’ve only been with her for eight months.”

Alex Rodriguez is too much of a liar to be the Patrice O’Neal of baseball but he definitely holds true to his philosophy of not trying to win the crowd over when they all despise you. While his smug attitude makes it looks like he’s only there for, what Method Man called, “Dolla dolla bills ya’ll,” I never saw him once apologize to fans or promise them he’d work his hardest to do best next time. Instead when his team was down and he was benched, he walked up to a pair of beautiful women and handed them a baseball with his number on it. A-Rod isn’t dumb. He knows for sure that wouldn’t be well received. The part of me that wants the Yankees to win hates him for that but I understand why he makes us hate him. Patrice O’Neal put it best when talking about a crowd not laughing at anything you say. “The worst thing you can do is try to get them to like you. The crowd sees right through that.” If he gave $500 million to kids with AIDS we would say the only reason he’s doing that is to make himself look better. Being the bad guy is the most cost effective solution for A-Rod.

Alex Rodriguez’s greatest act of defiance isn’t his unapologetic attitude to blowing it when his teammates need him most, or going against Mickey’s words of advice that women weaken knees. When A-Rod’s bit on taking banned substances bombed in front of our eyes, he found a new way to garner hatred by appealing his suspension. The little rebel in me will always respect one man’s fight with a billion dollar corporation like Major League Baseball.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

I don’t know if I could believe the heads of the MLB if they ever denied knowing of steroid use when baseball was wildly popular in the late 80’s and late 90’s. To go after juicing then would be, as Triple H puts it, “Bad for business.” Now that World Series ratings have dropped harder than WCW’s, all of a sudden they want to show they care? That’s the great American bullshit George Carlin warned us about. Them trying to clean up baseball would be like Victor Zsasz apologizing for the hundreds of murders he committed after Batman threw him in Arkham.
This is another reason why I’m glad A-Rod’s appealing. His fight exposes the wounds they want healed. Major League Baseball wants nothing more than this decade long steroid scandal to go away and this appeal keeps it in the news.

Major League Baseball created the juiced up Frankenstein in Alex Rodriguez and now they’re mad Frankenstein is doing Frankensteiny things by ripping off heads and injecting power-ups into his ass. This appeal is part typical Alex-Rodriguez-stubbornness and part monster fighting back. A-Rod may never be able to reclaim the legacy he once had, and the people may never like him, but he should do whatever it takes to bring the fight to the men who created him. If Major League Baseball was aware players were juicing in the golden age of home runs, then maybe its good Alex Rodriguez’s appeal keeps this scandal going. We might not know it now but Alex Rodriguez might be the hero Gotham needs. Although I doubt Commissioner Selig is as cool as Commissioner Gordon.

(This post originally appeared on

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