When was the last time sports fans could say confidently that the public majority was rooting for Alex Rodriguez?
A-Rod hadn’t been likeable since before we knew about his cousin Yuri more than four years ago, when Rodriguez’s reputation was still sort of intact and his $252 million contract didn’t shake the heads it does today.
That changed on Sunday night when Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster took two shots at A-Rod before dinging him on the elbow on a 3-0 count. It was a bizarre move for a number of reasons, mainly the fact that the Yankees had been at Fenway all weekend and there had been ample opportunity to send a message to A-Rod before the second inning of Sunday’s game.
Besides, it’s still unclear if Dempster went after A-Rod because of the juice, or the alleged snitching on other players in the Biogenesis report that led to an unprecedented amount of suspensions, including A-Rod’s 211-game sentence.
Pretending like A-Rod is the lone steroids guy is intellectually dishonest, especially for the Red Sox, who were led to a pair of World Series titles by known offenders Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. The hypocrisy there stinks to high heavens.
After the game, Dempster tried to frame the bigger story as his sixth inning collapse that allowed the Yankees to get back in it, which is significant. But it’d be interesting to hear him explain, rather than defend, the motivation for throwing at Rodriguez.
If it was a message from the MLB Players Association about snitching, that’s a more compelling story, just not as much as A-Rod wiping his backside with the vitriol coming his way. That solo shot to centerfield in the sixth inning spurred a comeback that no one outside of Yankees fans would’ve rooted for otherwise.