Back in the 80's Billy Crystal used to do a very funny gig while impersonating Fernando Llamas. For those who might not recognize the name, Llamas was one of those South American "pretty boys" that MGM brought in during the late 40's. These were handsome young latins meant to serve as eye candy for fluttering American women. Llamas seemed especially vein about his looks, thus served Billy Crystal well as fodder for goofy "looks over health" blatherings. As Crystal would interview his Hollywood buddies he would always inject the line "it is better to look good than to feel good"..and the audience would howl.
Strangely, and perhaps far more sadly, is that Alex Rodriguez seemed to bring that same empty vanity to life in his personal life, as well as with his baseball career. Go back and watch videos of Rodriguez stepping up to the plate. In his tight designer uniform, made to fit well by his designer steroids, Rodriguez seemed as stiff as, well, a rod! He always seemed to be "striking a pose", evidently uncaring about what inning it was, who was on base or even who they were playing. You see neither the tension of a player badly wanting a hit, or to win the game, nor the devil may care laxness of of a Nick Swisher. No, you just saw Alex the robot, nearly stiff, stuck in his own idea of the "classic pose"...almost like it is better to look good while striking out than it is to pull a liner to the opposite field and scramble out of the box in search of a single. The same was true when Rodriguez took the field; it seemed that he could not bring himself to dive for a screaming line drive to third if doing so spoiled that stiff robotic pose.
So tomorrow, as a minimum, Alex Rodriguez will be suspended at least a year and a half. Banned from baseball for being so greedy that he could not be happy with his god-given baseball skills, but had to lust for more. It wasn't enough that, without the roids, he would have batted 300 and knocked 40 home runs a year, no, he had to own all those wonderful century old offensive records and command the idolization of baseball fans everywhere....and he wasn't willing to wait over an extended career to achieve it...he wanted everything and he wanted it now. And so, like may of his peers in the steroid era, Alex cheated and cheated again.
He thought it would go on forever....the roids, the romances with Hollywood starlets, the sexual liaisons with Madonna, old enough to be his mother, and he cared not a whit for his team mates, the fans, or even the heat of the game itself, except as they documented his juiced statistics.
Even before Rodriquez got busted for steroids those New York fans were already writing him off as a prima donna in fool's clothing. They had just seen too many playoff games where Alex was a no-show, who seemed to love that $27.5 million annual salary far more than the glory of a championship trophy. Wasn't it just last year when Rodriguez, his steroid battered body failing him still again, was batting below the Mendoza line, his team was losing still again, and Alex could be seen smirking and flirting with women in the stands.
So, it appears now Alex will spend the next eighteen months posing in front of a mirror...and the posing may be his last as he would be 40 years old before his suspension is complete, an old man in baseball years.
But even that doesn't matter to baseball fans. They have become sickened by these steroidal prima-donnas who placed their own interests above that of their team, and of baseball. Fans and baseball traditionalists have already written off all of those career statistics and have imposed a lifetime ban from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Instead, like Bonds and Sosa and McGuire, Rodriguez has already been enshrined in the hall of shame....the numbers as much fiction as a Harry Potter novel.
Sadly, Alex neither looks good nor feels good this morning.