Big Day in Sports Injustice

Yes, Politywonk is a solid Red Sox fan.  2004 is a dear date to me, and the League Championship Series far outweighed that little postscript against — was it Colorado?

But today, my heart goes out to some very fine men in the pinstripes. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Robby Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Texiera, Andy Pettite have been joined by a bunch of “who’s that!” call-ups who have embraced the chance to add to the legends in the Bronx. This group is not in last place in all of Major League Baseball, not even in the hyper-competitive AL East.

These legends and leaders are the ones who today have to witness the desecration of their uniform, their tradition, their personal standards by sharing the locker room, the dugout, the field, with a player who has lied to them over and over, who has disgraced the game at a level not seen since Shoeless Joe Jackson. My heart goes out to them. Yes, they must be hoping this man brings a big bat and solid glove, but they’ve also got to be wondering what they’re going to get, between his age and his lack of self-medications. So much of the hope A-Rod emanates on this occasion, after all, came from both his lost youth and his relinquished medicine case. So the worst of this could be that these very fine Yankees, these Hall of Fame sure-shots — will not be helped as much on the field as they ought to be able to hope.

The feelings of all Yankee fans — one of whom sits right next to me, sleeps next to me, eats next to me — can only be imagined. Yes, Yankee World, Red Sox Nation grieves for you today.

And what about those fans in Chicago, the ones whose grandparents lost a World Series championship to a few who cheated and several others who got cheated. So many believe Shoeless Joe merited no lifetime ban. How must it feel to see someone who clearly does take a field from which Shoeless Joe was forever excluded? Having grown up on Pete Rose’s brilliant career, I know how you’re feeling tonight. If I lived in Chicago, I believe it would be worth the price of a ticket just to boo and throw shoes at the Yankees’s (temporary, we hope) third baseman. Not just on behalf of Shoeless Joe, but on behalf of every fan who lost a hero in the meat grinder of hypocrisy which whirls the Office of the Commissioner on one side, and the Players’ Union negotiators on the other.

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