Bases Loaded: A-Rod, Tebow and Beyond

Mike Venditti
August 10, 2016 - 8:08 am

Welcome to Bases Loaded.  A blog (and sometimes podcast) about baseball, baseball and a little more baseball.

Originally I had planned on resurrecting my Bases Loaded blog with a nice piece on Alex Rodriguez's crazy journey and forced retirement.  I will instead direct you to 
Jared Carrabis' piece on Barstool Sports. 

So now I will just do a little bit of catching up on a few major baseball topics.

Alex Rodriguez Retirement

This obviously still has to be addressed.

First and foremost, I have to applaud the Steinbrenner kids for finally acting like George...even if they don't want to admit it publicly.  The Teixeira retirement happening within a week of the A-Rod "retirement" is far too convenient for me to not believe they didn't play a role in it.

George would have fired both Hal and Hank by now if he were still alive for spending so much money and winning just one World Series, but if he hadn't, this move would have pleased him for sure.  Especially with the added wrinkle of forcing A-Rod to take a consultant position to earn the rest of his money.  It's genius.

That being said, the story of A-Rod is very interesting to me.  As a baseball guy, I find it both great and awful and really everything in between.

When A-Rod was a young, up and coming stud in Seattle I was an enormous fan of him.  The short stop trio of Rodriguez, Nomar and Jeter was one of my favorite parts of baseball in the late 1990s.

When A-Rod chose to take money over loyalty,  16-year-old me was angry and decided to hate him. In the end, he was the dope that left the team that won more games than any other in MLB history (then lost). I look back now and kind of have to marvel at how that decision changed baseball forever.

Following that signing players began making more and more money leading up to the enormous contracts for average players we see today.  Beyond changing how the rest of the league was paid, it shaped the future of my beloved Boston Red Sox and of course the New York Yankees forever.

If he hadn't had such a massive contract, the Manny/Lester for A-Rod (with a few other pieces and teams involved) would have happened and who knows if I would have seen history in 2004, or the 2007 and 2013 titles that the Red Sox ended up winning.

Of course the PED stain will forever mark the career of Alex Rodriguez, but in my opinion its far beyond just a "cheating" thing.

The last few years just weren't a good look for A-Rod.  The suspensions after his 2007 speech, the appearance on Mike Francesa's radio show and the endless game of tug-o-war with the Yankees all made him easily the most hated man in baseball.

For me though, it was all about what Biogenesis represented.  Thanks to A-Rod's funding, that clinic peddled PEDs to kids all over South Florida.  Sure Major League Baseball was shady in the whole process, but that doesn't change the facts.

I have for years been very outspoken about how dumb the steroid controversy is and how guys like Bonds and Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame.  This one fact, in my opinion, takes A-Rod to a completely different level than the rest of the so-called cheaters in baseball.

To me, this puts him on the level of Pete Rose.

Beyond that, the stories of guys like Bonds and Clemens come with the "he was a Hall of Famer before the steroids" twist.  With A-Rod can we really say that?

We know that A-Rod may in fact have been one of the most naturally gifted players to ever step on the diamond, but do we know for certain that he was ever clean?  Can we divide his career into a before and after?

I'm not sure we can.

I will say what I say about Bonds on a daily basis though, hundreds upon hundreds of MLB players have been stained by positive tests, reports or accusations.  Not every one of them hit 700+ home runs...or 696 in A-Rod's case.

So in the end, to me, his exclusion from both the Hall of Fame and Monument Park at Yankee Stadium should be based on his involvement in Biogenesis alone.

Tim Tebow: Baseball Man?

This news broke this morning and sent me on a tweeting frenzy, so I apologize if you've already read what I'm about to write.

ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted out that ol' Timmy was training to play baseball and wanted to make a run at playing in the show and will host a workout for Major League teams later in August.

Now don't get me wrong here, Tebow is an extremely gifted athlete and is a grown ass man who can do whatever the hell he wants to in his free time....I just don't understand it.

For years now I've been frustrated by the idea that Tim Tebow is so special that he can just wake up one day and be a professional level talent at something he's never done before.  This started with the "play him at tight end or fullback" conversations in the football world.

NFL tight ends and fullbacks have played their position for their entire career (with very few exceptions).  They played at every level from High School to College and then the NFL.

The same thing applies to this new story and maybe to an even higher degree.

Baseball is an incredibly hard sports to master and making it to the show is by the odds insanely difficult to do.  Not even the legendary Michael Jordan was good enough to just jump in and be a major success.  So obviously it takes more than just being an insanely gifted athlete.

We've even seen a lot of examples of football players who actually played baseball in college, like Russell Wilson, get drafted and never even make it out of Single-A ball.

Again, you do you Mr. Tebow.  I'm in no way saying you shouldn't do what you want and I really do hope you prove me wrong.  I just don't get why this is the avenue your taking when you could easily be a star quarterback in the AFL or CFL and bring a TON of eyeballs to those leagues.

I for one would love to see Tim Tebow be the next Doug Flutie in the Great White North....or at least win a few Arena Bowls for the Orlando Predators.

Homer Time

Oh man are the Red Sox driving me crazy.

The September Swoon showed up in mid-July and hasn't shown signs of stopping.  Needing extra inning wins to earn a split with the lowly Minnesota Twins was only the beginning.

The West-Coast road trip was a debacle, David Price is now 9-8 on the year and oh yeah, the bleeping Yankees are coming into Fenway starting tonight and have their 4-day A-Rod farewell tour in you now he'll play and he'll probably put a few on Lansdowne Street for old times sake.


Okay...I'm done.


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