Just three short weeks ago, The Machine made a bold confession: we stopped becoming A-Rod apologists. In the face of Biogenesis, we could no longer overlook and explain away his utter-douchbagedness. Since then, Team A-Rod hasn’t done much to change our opinion: he forced his way back in the Yankees lineup (to a chorus of boos), (allegedly) leaked info implicating Ryan Braun and Francisco Cervelli (yup, his teammate) and somehow managed to retain an attorney that’s even more of a douchebag than he is.
Yes, in the wake of all of this, the one thing The Machine was certain there was one thing that A-Rod would never become: a victim. However, thanks to the Boston Red Sox, A-Rod has become just that.
On Sunday night, the Yankees were in Boston, where it was expected that A-Rod would be greeted with a hearty (and well-deserved) hazing from the Boston faithful. However, in his first at-bat against Ryan Dempster, he faced 4 pitches: inside, inside, behind him, plunked in the back. Clearly, Dempster was aiming for A-Rod, but (surprisingly) the umpire did not eject him. Instead, Joe Girardi gets ejected for arguing, and Boston (somewhat dickishly) cheers A-Rod’s intentional beaning. But that just set the stage for this:
Sixth inning, Boston comfortably up 6-3, Dempster’s still in the game, and A-Rod steps back up to the plate. BOOM! A-Rod drills a homer to (deep) center, and sparks a 4 run inning. Yanks go on to win 9-6, and the A-Rod redemption tour has officially begun.
Leave it to Boston to turn A-Rod into a sympathetic figure. Overnight, he’s gone from complete villain to someone who maybe got a raw deal from MLB (211 game suspension for a first time offender (in the eyes of the MLB testing policy) is a lot). There will be stories abound about laying off A-Rod, and giving him the due process that every other player enjoys. In fact, there already is one.
And, the League’s response to the Boston beaning is laughable. MLB announced today that Dempster will be suspended for 5 games. Sounds pretty harsh, until you know that (a) he’ll be paid and (b) he won’t miss a start. In other words, it’s a completely toothless suspension, which shows that the League is not at all concerned about protecting A-Rod from any future plunkings. This only further ups his sympathetic appearance in the eyes of the public. Sure, he’ll never get back to where he used to be, but he’s slowly gaining back some of the public trust. Thanks to Boston (oh, sweet irony).
Also, the story about Dempster hitting A-Rod because Alex snubbed him at some public event makes Dempster look like a complete tool. No wonder he fits right in Boston.
Enjoy your teabag.