There’s enough scandal swirling around Alex Rodriguez to qualify him as a candidate on the September primary ballot. If Anthony Weiner, John Liu and Eliot Spitzer can present themselves as serious candidates for high office, well, why not A-Rod?
There is, of course, a big difference between a disgraced politician and a disgraced third baseman. Mr. Rodriguez can afford better lawyers, PR spinners and image consultants. The others might be struggling to achieve redemption from fickle voters, but A-Rod’s team could turn him from goat to hero in a New York minute. Do you realize how many well-paying jobs A-Rod has created in the pharmaceutical industry?
Alas for the city’s political reporters, A-Rod shows no signs of giving up his current job, which pays him in excess of $27 million per year, in favor of the office of the mayor, which would pay him annually what he makes in about two games—$225,000. But we can all savor the spectacle of a truly monumental conflict between one of the sporting world’s greatest franchises and its onetime franchise player. The tabloids could not have asked for a better antidote to the torpor of late summer.
The A-Rod saga figures to cast an enormous shadow over the Yankees and the game they play, not just in 2013 but in the years to come. He’ll be remembered not for his glorious skills on the diamond, not for the championship he helped to deliver in 2009 and not even for choking in the playoffs in 2006 and 2012, but for his lies and his cheating. More than any other of the suspected or proven cheats in baseball, Rodriguez has become the poster boy for all that is wrong with the national pastime.
Would that have been true had he stayed with his original team, the Seattle Mariners? Probably not. The New York media turned A-Rod into a proverbial lightning rod—something he still hasn’t quite figured out. As ever, this city giveth, and this city taketh away.
Yankees announcer John Sterling suggested, as he would, that the attacks on A-Rod somehow are too harsh and even undeserving. After all, he said recently, it’s not like he murdered anybody.
No, he didn’t. Then again, the same could be said of our unsavory candidates for citywide office.
That’s not a particularly strong campaign slogan, is it? But that’s where we are in this bizarre summer of 2013.