Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Tweet Bird of Their Youth

Sure, dump on A-Rod for the flimsy "I was young. I was stupid," argument. As the Pinstriped Bible's Steven Goldman says, "Nor does the 'youthful indiscretion' thread ring true, given that the guy was 25 when he started. Whatever maturity issues the guy was facing, it's pretty clear he had a fully developed sense of right and wrong or he wouldn't have tried to hide what he was doing."

But he was just a baseball player. I'm still wondering where the outrage, where the ramrod stiff morality the press has adopted over A-Rod, was in, oh, 2000. Here's some of a New York Times article that goes on to excuse the subject (he's even won the love of his wife back, something A-Rod can't say...heck, he can't even stay with Madonna):

It was a sedate cocktail party on a summer evening when the wild man of the ____ clan wobbled up to an old friend of his parents, a prim, well-dressed matron who had recently turned 50, her hair pulled tightly back from her forehead in the most severe way.

______ had enjoyed a few too many drinks, and his family members knew enough to watch him nervously.

''So,'' he asked her, by way of conversation, ''what's sex like after 50, anyway?''

It was a vintage ____ moment, recounted by friends, the kind of incident that made young ____'s buddies laugh and cringe at the same time. He could be hilarious company, but also often outrageous and childish. Some acquaintances were offended by what they saw as Mr. ____'s arrogance and immaturity, by his penchant for drinking too much and thinking too little. Even his wife, _____, wanted him to grow up.

''_____ was acting like a little kid'' in those days, recalled Mel Turner, a fellow Republican activist in West Texas in the 1970's and 80's. ''He was an immature rich-kid brat.''

Not everyone is that harsh, and many of his friends welcomed the ''bombastic ____kin,'' as they called him, as a breath of fresh air. But the upshot was that as he approached 40, an age when Al Gore was already a senator running for president, ________ was just a heavy-drinking, fun-loving oilman struggling to control his temper, salvage his business and hold on to his marriage.

Kind of amazing he "grew up" by stopping drinking but being no less arrogant, immature, or losing that penchant for thinking too little. Even more amazing is he ran this country (into the ground) for eight years.

So maybe we cut Rodriguez some slack?



Blogger Mike said...

Interesting analogy, George. Well-done.

In the bigger picture, the thing that wrankles me is the hero-worship angle. If we didn't engage in hero-worship, towards athletes, politicians, actors, whomever, we wouldn't feel so betrayed when they show feet of clay.

The whole "A-Rod" thing just makes me go, "meh." I just don't care one way or the other.

I know how to view statistics in historical context, and I don;t care whether the 90s and 00s offensive explosion was caused by steroids or sun spots.

And frankly, while I may sorta "like" certain baseball players more than others, for the most part they're performance vessels through which I watch the game and analyze the numbers. Whether a player is a dick or a cheat or an angel means pretty much nothing to me.

WV: extray. I guess that makes sense since the newspapers are front-paging this non-story.

5:13 AM  
Blogger George said...

Mike, we agree totally on the steroid thing and how looking to baseball players for idols beyond their feats on the field is ridiculous.

The press has been killing me on all this. I mean, if they think it's so bad, why didn't they report on the story when it was happening? Either they were too lame to know or they didn't want to lose their access. Goddam cowards, the lot of them.

5:09 PM  

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