I appreciate Joe Posnanski’s take on the A-Rod/Dallas Braden pitching mound incident of a few days ago. I agree that if the perpetrator were anybody but Alex Rodriguez, the focus of the negativity would be squarely on Braden – as it should.
Alex Rodriguez is a polarizing figure – that I understand. I can see that he comes off as arrogant, that he makes more money than he knows what to do with, and that some of his accomplishments include the specter of performance enhancement. This is true of Rodriguez and any number of other professional athletes. Why the hate is so zeroed in on Rodriguez is another matter.
It’s not that I am shedding any tears for the Yankee third baseman. He’s doing alright despite his villainous public image. I don’t like him in the way that a Twins’ fan shouldn’t like the best player on the Yankees, but I have to admit: I enjoy watching Alex Rodriguez play baseball.
He’s a great player – probably the best of his generation – yet underrated to the point where most casual baseball fans won’t even say he is the best player on his own team. The fact is, on the question of Jeter vs. A-Rod, the numbers aren’t even close. A-Rod is a better hitter and fielder, he hits for more power and historically gets on base at a better rate than the Yankee captain. You can argue which is a nicer guy, but on the field the choice is clear.
So the latest is that Alex Rodriguez walked on the pitching mound on his way back to first base after a foul ball. As unwritten rules of baseball go, this must be towards the back of the unwritten book. It may have been somewhat of a jerk move, I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t seem to warrant the attention that Braden gave it. I can give a young, fiery pitcher a break for something expressed in the heat of the moment, but to treat it as anything other than an overreaction by a young pitcher borders on silly – a transparent expression of the dislike for the man that existed long before this event occurred.