A-Rod stole the spotlight
October, 29, 2007
In many ways, it's sad, because Alex Rodriguez is a great player and a good guy. On the field after the Red Sox clinched their second world championship in four seasons, I had two Rockies players beg me to rip A-Rod for his attention grab, one Red Sox player said he'd walk away if asked about Rodriguez and more than 10 other players reveled in laughing at the iconic $30 million-a-year player who doesn't know what it's like to be Jon Lester or Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Spilborghs or Bobby Kielty and play in a World Series. Fine, Rodriguez is opting out of his contract. But anyone who respected baseball would not have tried to grab the stage from the World Series -- if winning were a priority. Want to know about winners? Pedroia gave up his scholarship at Arizona State to free up money to sign a much-needed pitcher, so when the Sun Devils reached the College World Series, coaches and players had "DP" on their caps in honor of their leader who never got to Omaha. The sabermetrics guys in their garages never understand these things. Respect? Lester winning the final game of the World Series is a story that will reside with millions more people than A-Rod's gaudy statistics. Remember, this is a 23-year old who in January finished chemotherapy for lymphoma. Scott Radinsky and Jerry DiPoto, both former major league pitchers, survived the same disease and said it took them nearly a year and a half to regain their velocity, and Lester walked out on the game's biggest stage and pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings. As one doctor friend texted me, Lester brought tears and hopes to millions of kids and folks of all ages who are fighting for their lives to survive, much less win the World Series. And he did so without even a hint of a first-person pronoun. Yet, pitiably, Rodriguez did not find that as significant as his addiction to that first-person pronoun.