There are some rules you learn early on about playing sports, rules that are non-negotiable. Don’t step on another golfer’s line when he’s about to putt. Let the bowler in the next lane roll his or her ball before you make your approach. Don’t throw you’re racket. Count to three Mississippi before rushing the passer. And never, ever cross the pitcher’s mound when heading back to the dugout or to first base.
I can’t speak to his bowling etiquette, but it seems that Alex Rodriguez never figured out the last one. Yesterday, during the Yankees-A’s game in Oakland, A-Rod was returning to first base after a Robinson Cano ball went foul and he did the unthinkable: he stepped on the mound, stomping the rubber for emphasis. Oakland hurler Dallas Braden was not pleased, expressing his displeasure after the game. A-Rod’s response, according to the NY Daily News: “That was a little surprising. I’ve never quite heard that – especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career.” So if it was Josh Beckett or Justin Verlander, then he wouldn’t cross the mound? Please!
This is the same A-Rod who knocked a ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove while running to first during the 2004 ALCS against Boston. And the same A-Rod who yelled “Ha!” at two Blue Jays infielders while rounding the bases in a 2007 game in Toronto, thus distracting them to drop an infield pop up.
I can’t really think of another major leaguer who has demonstrated such bush league behavior time and again. And showed little or no contrition.
It’s a shame because he is such a remarkable talent who should be above such antics. Can you imagine Derek Jeter or Andy Pettitte pulling this kind of stuff? No, you can’t. It would be incomprehensible.
But for A-Rod, you can’t help but wonder what he’ll pull next. It’s sure to be part of his legacy, along with the 700 or 800 home runs, 2000+ RBI’s, and sublime, magical swing. No wonder a colleague of mine remarked today — this is someone who is a BIG Yankees fan — “It’s so hard to root for this guy.”
What a shame.