A-Roid’s Puss is bad for Baseball


Statement on performance enhancing drugs in the Records Room at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Poster of the all-time and active home run leaders in the Records Room at the National Baseball Hall of Fame

A-Roid’s Puss is bad for Baseball’s Image
By Charlie Vascellaro

            There’s a commercial making the regular rotation on the sports television loop for a satellite carrier’s major league baseball package featuring steroid assisted slugger Alex Rodriguez. In the 30-second spot Rodriguez is followed home run-trotting across the country while high-fiving fans along the way before finishing with a tip of his cap on a flat-screen—in YOUR LIVING ROOM! 
            As major league baseball continues the struggle to distance itself from the performance enhancing drug scandal that has permeated the game through the past decade, Rodriguez seems a peculiar choice for the current television campaign.   
            Two years ago Rodriguez grabbed pre-season headlines by admitting to a Sports Illustrated magazine report that he had tested positive for steroids in 2003. Although baseball had not banned the use of performance enhancing drugs at the time of Rodriguez confirmed usage and no penalty was administered, the revelation cast a cloud over both Rodriguez and the game that left a permanent stain.
            A-Roid’s smiling smirk at the end of the commercial spot sets me ill at ease as I would imagine many other fans feel. I had to turn away from the replay of Rodriguez’s grand slam against the Orioles last week that put him one behind Lou Gehrig on the all-time list. I’m repulsed by the thought of him moving into the home run ranks of baseball gods like Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron in the not so distant future.
            The steroid era has affected our affection for the game and the use of Rodriguez scarlet-lettered visage serves more as reminder that we are still not quite yet out of the woods. It would not have been any less ludicrous to use Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez or Roger Clemens in the same advertisement.
            Apparently the office of Major League Baseball signed off on the use of Rodriguez image and his appearance in New York Yankees apparel for the commercial conceived by Direct TV’s advertising department or an outside agency. Direct TV’s webpage also features the face of Rodriguez’s rival Boston Red Sox steroid user David Ortiz.
            Aren’t there enough players not yet found guilty or at least not yet implicated to have used steroids that Direct TV could have chosen?
            While A-Rod and Ortiz are definitely high-profile players for baseball’s two most high-profile teams there certainly are a number of other current stars whose faces might bring more positive associations.
            Wouldn’t prospective subscribers be more attracted to a variety of players from a variety of teams? Isn’t that what the package is selling anyway?
            There seems to be enough fresh-faced, presumably innocent, budding superstars out there. Speaking as a hard core fan there’s plenty of current players I would rather see used to promote interest in the game. How about a montage of highlights from last year including plays like Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle’s no look flip through the legs to first base on Opening Dayhttp://danonthestreet.com/news/2010/04/06/mark-buehrle-play-of-the-year-on-opening-day/.
            Or Armando Gallaraga’s incredulous look at umpire Jim Joyce when he lost his perfect game on the umpire’s blown call or his graceful acceptance of Joyce’s apology the next day?
            How about San Francisco Giants reliever Brian “The Beard” Wilson striking out Texas Rangers’ Nelson Cruz to end last year’s World Series?  
            If what they’re selling are 40 different games each week, why not feature some regional up and comers across the country like Colorado’s Troy Tulowitski, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun or Cincinnati’s NL MVP Joey Votto?
            There has got be better faces for Major League Baseball to hang its hat on than A-Rod’s sour puss.


~ by Charlie Vascellaro on April 26, 2011.

One Response to “A-Roid’s Puss is bad for Baseball”

  1. Something about Arod just feels wrong — there’s a selfishness and a phonyness to his personality that rubs me the wrong way. It could be that I hate players that move to successful franchises just so they can pick up a ring. I feel the same about LeBron.

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