Update (2:30 a.m.): Who had 36 hours in the “find A-Rod’s cousin” pool? Intrepid ESPN.com reporter Amy K. Nelson along with a producer from ESPN Deporters discovered the identity of A-Rod’s anonymous cousin and respectfully left him alone dug up his story. Basically, Yuri Sucart, a Miami resident is indeed the cousin to whom A-Rod referred on Tuesday. According to ESPN’s sources, Sucart has long “lived his life vicariously” through A-Rod and would do the superstar’s bidding.
Now that this once-suspect version of A-Rod’s story has been proven to be true, the media witch hunt continues to look more and more biased against A-Rod.
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I don’t particularly envy Derek Jeter right now. For the last 13 seasons, Derek Jeter has been the face of the New York Yankees, and over the last 15 months, he’s watched as some of the key players who have surrounded him have succumbed to the steroid scandal.
In Dec. 2007, George Mitchell’s incomplete trainwreck of a steroid investigation revealed numerous drug users on the Yanks’ teams from 2000, and Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens took the their fair share of criticism. Three years before that, Jason Giambi apologized to, well, something that we all took to mean steroid use. Meanwhile, Jeter has supposedly led a clean career in an era filled with PED-enhanced ballplayers.
This week, when finally given the chance to speak to the media yet again, the Yankee Captain issued something more than the vanilla statements for which he has become famous. While expressing his support for A-Rod, he also voiced his disappointment.
Beyond this rare showing of an opinion from Jeter, though, was his statement on the way the steroid scandal — and the so-called Steroid Era — has been covered in retrospect. “Everybody wasn’t doing it,” he said to a gaggle of reporters at Steinbrenner Field yesterday afternoon. “That’s the thing that gets irritating. I think it sends the wrong message to baseball fans and kids, saying that everybody was doing it. That’s just not the truth.”
In a way, Jeter’s criticism is one the fans have been leveling at the media this week. The reporters have seemingly gone overboard in their zealous glee surrounding the A-Rod story. For example, take Daily News reporter Mark Feinsand’s lengthy pieces slamming A-Rod here and here.
As with many who cover the Yanks, Feinsand feels that A-Rod’s apologies have been more scripted than real. He feels that the Yanks’ third baseman should, for the good of the game, just take responsibility for what he did without blaming his cousin, his youth, the pressure of fame or anything else. In all fairness to Mark, he has some good points. After all, how sorry can A-Rod really be when he will exit this game having made well over $400 million in salary alone?
It’s not, however, just this reaction to A-Rod that seems so off. Rather, it’s the reaction to A-Rod coupled with the reaction to Andy Pettitte’s HGH admission from last December. Take a read through Feindsand’s piece on Pettitte. “Good for him,” Feinsand wrote, commending Pettitte for owning up to his mistakes and attempting to put the past behind him. Talk about a double standard.
Of course, this may not be an unfair double standard. After all, Andy Pettitte didn’t go live on national TV to tell Katie Couric he never used steroids. But while A-Rod has been just as forthcoming as Pettitte, the media has been ruthless. Maybe they expected A-Rod to be a bigger figure in the game. Maybe everyone is collectively disappointed that A-Rod, when he eclipses Bonds’ home run totals in a few years, will hold a still-tainted record. Whatever the reason, A-Rod is being far more scrutinized than anyone who has so far admitted to drug use.
Meanwhile, over at the Worldwide Leader, Gene Wojchiechowski is ready to start A-Rod’s clock anew beginning today. Sounds good to me.