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New York Yankees: How History Will Remember Alex Rodriguez

Spotlights blind those who shine them.

Alex Rodriguez is a singular celebrity. He’s also, deep down, an average guy. When the New York Yankees third baseman finally hangs up his cleats, analysts from ESPN to E! will debate the nuances of his hypothetical legacy—which might be cause for cheer if the nub of his actual identity weren’t so likely to get lost in the babble.

Persona is a publicly traded commodity.

Personhood, on the other hand, is a privately held asset.

I’m not suggesting that Rodriguez is entirely ordinary. His exceptional talent speaks for itself, and his peculiar character flaws are well documented. But even exceptionally talented oddballs put on their designer jeans one leg at a time. In a culture that worships status above all else, it’s easy to forget that the view in the mirror doesn’t change when you move from the first floor to the penthouse.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Truth is beneath the surface of the beheld.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from A-Rod’s example, it’s simply that the most visible stars are sometimes the hardest to see.

Modern sports punditry is a trivial pastime. Blog bites, Twitter tweets, instant analysis of inane events—they’re staples of Internet journalism, products of an age in which information costs nothing and means less. The problem, of course, is that superficial news coverage breeds shallow news consumers. Technophiles will argue that social media tools bring fans like us closer to jocks like Rodriguez. I’d counter that some forms of intimacy ultimately obscure more than they reveal.

Neurotic vanity is bad.

Mindless voyeurism is worse.

A-Rod’s eccentricities may not be worthy of our esteem, but his mere existence should at least earn him more than our indifference.

Fame dehumanizes everyone involved. The face on the stage becomes an empty logo; the eye in the crowd becomes a hollow lens. History will remember Alex Rodriguez as the figment of our vacuous imagination, a joke abut a photo of a rumor of a man. Somewhere beneath the pinstripes there’s a heart that’s just as real as yours and mine. Whether that insight proves to be a blessing or a curse is a question all of us will have to answer on our own.


Bob Dylan never worked for a New York tabloid, but he did know a thing or two about alienating forms of communication:

You’ll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above,
And I’ll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love,
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Which is an apt lament in this era of tattle rags and TMZ.

Because there’s no time for empathy in a 24-hour news cycle, and anyone who sings the praises of prevailing media mores is either crooning on the Open Source Sports Network or only just saying, is all…

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St. Louis Cardinals: If Albert Pujols Took Steroids

Old illusions die hard.

Albert Pujols is a heart-warming inspiration. He’s also, potentially, a soul-crushing disappointment. After the traumas of the Steroid Era, many baseball fans have invested their remaining faith in the apparent integrity of the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman—which would be better news if St. Louis Cardinals first basemen weren’t an inherently untrustworthy species of idol.

Misery means longing for what you’ve lost.

Maturity, on the other hand, means living with what you’ve found.

I’m not insinuating that Pujols is dirty. His charity work testifies to the content of his character, and elementary justice demands that he be presumed innocent until proven guilty. But what’s just isn’t necessarily what’s prudent. In a league where every slugger shines under a cloud of suspicion, it’s always safer to doubt first and ask questions later.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Bereavement is in the mind of the bereft.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the last decade of MLB history, it’s simply that the most painful privations are those we impose upon ourselves.

Baseball lovers are a reverent bunch. Framed autographs, cherished trading cards, once-a-lifetime pilgrimages to the Hall of Fame—they’re the trappings of a secular religion, substitutes for all those sacraments in which modern man no longer believes. The catch, of course, is that mortal heroes rarely live up to divine expectations. Pujols disciples will argue that they lift their spirits by accepting Albert’s purported probity. I’d counter that they’d be wiser to lower their sights by acknowledging his fundamental fallibility.

Negativity is bad.

Naiveté is worse.

Skeptics may miss out on the hypothetical promise of the bright side, but at least they brace themselves for the inevitable threat of the darkness.

Happiness begins with proper perspective. How you feel depends on what you see; what you see depends on where you look. If Albert Pujols took steroids naught would change and nothing would be different, except that insignificant sliver of reality we happen to call our own. Every worshipper seeks a flawless object to place atop his altar. The one who settles for a human god should open his eyes to the truth before he’s blindsided by its consequences.


King David didn’t witness the advent of HGH therapy, but he did know a thing or two about the healing power of conviction: 

I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.

Which is a bit much to ask of a deity like Pujols.

Because it’s never advisable to bet on a savior in stirrups, and anyone who claims otherwise is either counting on Albert to anchor his Fantasy lineup or only just saying, is all…

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Just Saying, Is All… | The Difference Between Yankees Fans and Red Sox Fans

Belligerence makes the world go ‘round.

New York Yankees fans and Boston Red Sox fans are militant competitors. They’re also mutual complements. When the Yanks and Sox square off at Fenway Park this weekend, soldiers on both sides of the front will fire the latest shots in a long-standing conflict—which would be more distressing news if long-standing conflict weren’t such an important part of human identity.

Harmony means getting along with your peer group.

Hostility, on the other hand, means getting in touch with your personhood.

I’m not suggesting that the New York-Boston story isn’t oversold by the media. There’s a fine line between authentic theater and artificial theatrics, and most Yankees-Red Sox showdowns have a made-for-TV feel to them. But made-for-TV drama is better than no drama at all. In a game where you can’t root for the home team without booing the visitors, the most compelling narratives are those which give every character a reason to hate his foil.

White is because of gray.

We are because of They.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the Yankees-Red Sox schism, it’s simply that no self can survive in the absence of an other.

Baseball rivalries get bitter with age. The Yankees and the Red Sox, the Giants and the Dodgers, the Cardinals and the Cubs—they’re progressively poisonous feuds, disputes deepened by decades of discord. The reason, of course, is that bad blood builds upon itself. Optimistic aphorists will argue that time heals all wounds. I’d counter that every healed wound is a festering sore waiting to happen.

It’s sweet to forgive and forget.

It’s sweeter to retaliate and remember.

A typical Yankees-Red Sox series may not be especially conducive to peace on earth, but at least it isn’t dulled by an excess of goodwill towards men.

Essence emerges from opposition. What you are depends on what you’re for; what you’re for is defined by what you’re against. The difference between New York Yankees fans and Boston Red Sox fans is at once arbitrary and fundamental, as the difference between all existential enemies is at once arbitrary and fundamental. Every child is born with an inclination to extend his hand as an act of camaraderie. The one who spends enough time in the shadow of the Green Monster may yet learn to offer his finger as an assertion of contrast.


Robert Frost never owned an “A-Rod Sucks” t-shirt, but he did know a thing or two about pathological antagonism:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Which is a fitting prologue to Friday’s first pitch.

Because a biting wind buffets Boston when the Bombers come to town, and any fair-weather soul who laments the coldness of fan’s inhumanity to fan is either dreaming of spring training or only jut saying, is all… 

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