Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hunting for a wild card berth and Alex Rodriguez

Hunting for a wild card berth and Alex Rodriguez
by rick olivares pic by michael dwyer/AP

Before Alex Rodriguez, when was the last time you saw a Yankee have so much problems with the team and front office?

You might have to go back all the way to Dave Winfield who last suited up in these parts of the Bronx in 1990. Then before Winfield, there was Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin.

When was the last time there was a Yankee who polarized fans?

Roger Maris? That was because they had finally warmed up to Mickey Mantle after worshiping Joe DiMaggio for many years.

And then there was Babe Ruth.

For all the glitz, glamor, and pressure playing in the Big Apple, there’s gotta be a Yankee who makes the headlines and gossip pages for all the wrong news.

But none of the aforementioned Yankee greats were in the news for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDS) like Rodriguez.

Aside from his playing in New York (and with the Yankees not the Mets), it’s his monstrous salary of over $200-plus million that has ensured his never-ending scrutiny.

A-Rod doesn’t have the Teflon coating of Derek Jeter and thus, is like a magnet for controversy.

After he was deliberately beaned by Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster, I like how Joe Girardi stormed onto the field to argue with the umpire Brian O’Nora for the hurler’s ejection. I do not believe that the Yankee manager was acting to spark some life into his ballclub. Whether Rodriguez is guilty or not, beaning a player is altogether another thing. As Girardi put it, the baseball “is a weapon” and it can be used to hurt or even maim.

Furthermore, it’s the Red Sox so everything is magnified.

As a die-hard Yankee fan, I detest Rodriguez’ PED use. But in the last 15 years, it seems as if every team has had someone used these substances. That is not to excuse Rodriguez.

But I’d follow the rules of a player being innocent until proven guilty. I have always written that I felt that MLB is just at fault as the players for allowing the use of PEDs to go unchecked in order to put people in the seats and to sell apparel. Now that the game is at an all-time high, they’re going after the PED users.

The animosity between Rodriguez and the Yankees management has reached an all-time high. It’s gotten both unnerving and laughable. But really, I don’t see them coming back together after this.

Maybe it’s just me but as long as he wears those pinstripes, I’d support him.

Years ago, I asked someone closely associated with a national team why they had such polarizing figures in team management. That person said because they like the “chaos” because it keeps everyone on their toes.

My rebuttal was, a sports team thrives on chemistry and not chaos. He didn’t have an answer for that.

And maybe the Yankees don’t have an answer for their woes with Rodriguez. Sometimes, I am reminded of the acrimony between Dave Winfield and the late George Steinbrenner (the owner was suspended from baseball by the baseball commissioner for his attempts to slander Winfield). When the time came to choose a team for his induction to Cooperstown, Winfield chose the San Diego Padres where made his major league debut; irking Steinbrenner who hoped he’d wear a Yankee cap.

PEDs-wise, Rodriguez should still go to Cooperstown. As if that hall is lily-white clean.

Right now with all the brickbats that are in the headlines every day, it’s a source of distraction for the Bronx Bombers. I’d worry about it some other time because right now, they’re in the hunt for a wild card berth.

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