An excellent piece today on ESPN.com's Page 2 by Jim Caple (a fine writer who deserves to be read) concerning the ridiculous standards which the public holds ARod and, by extension, other baseball players.
You can find the piece here.
With the release of Selena Roberts' new book about ARod, there has been and undoubtedly will continue to be even more scrutiny on the greatest baseball player in the world right now. Now don't get me wrong, I don't like ARod. In fact, I hope he fails, because that means that the Yankees will be failing giving my Orioles a better chance. In fact, to varying extents, I hope every single player not employed by the Orioles fails. If you feel any differently about the players who are not on your team, you are, quite frankly, a terrible fan of that team. In addition, I don't condone ARod's steroid use or some of his extra-curricular activities. But the fact is that ARod, and Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire and so on and so on before him, are being held to an impossibly high standard. Think about it. How many of you wouldn't have taken steroids? It's an injection that could make you earn millions of dollars more a year and, at the time, there were little to no consequences for doing so. Why did he do this? Because, like everyone else, Rodriguez is human. Nobody is perfect and for him to simply wish to be better to satisfy the cravings of the hordes of fans out there who want nothing less than greatness is a natural and encouraged desire.
Here's a fact for you: most people are assholes. Think about the people you know. Your family, your friends, your coworkers. There's a least a few assholes in that group, unless you live in a monastery (in which case, you're probably the asshole because you're breaking the rules and using the internet). People cheat on their taxes, they cheat on their spouses, they don't pay parking tickets, they buy an extra lunch on their company's tab, they promise to do something and then completely neglect it. ARod hasn't beaten his wife. He hasn't exploited sweat-shop labor. He hasn't raped anyone. He hasn't been caught in a huge embezzlement scam. Quite literally nobody has been directly harmed by his actions. And yet we crucify him as though he were the second coming of Pol Pot. Folks, I'm not saying we leave ARod alone, I'm just suggesting we criticize him when he actually deserves criticism. If the man goes 0-4 during a playoff game, let's rip on him (sidebar: Derek Jeter's post-season stats in 25 series: 17 HRs, .377 OBP, .469 SLG; ARod's post-season stats in 10 series, less than half: 7 HRs, .361 OBP, .483 SLG...essentially the same player except Rodriguez has always played better defense). If the man has taken steroids since the implementation of the new drug policies, let's rip on him and penalize him appropriately. If the man does something truly egregious (like, say killing your wife and then playing the race card to get out of it, OJ) then we can rip on him. But otherwise, treat him like anyone else you know.