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The Joe Sheehan Newsletter
Vol. 7, No. 4
March 4, 2015

In a few hours, Alex Rodriguez will step to the plate and begin to do the only thing left that can change his story: playing baseball. Whatever has come before -- suspensions, drug usage, investigations, lies, recriminations -- is prologue to the two at-bats he'll get today and the season laid out ahead of him. The only thing that can possibly change the story now is Rodriguez's performance on the field. If he hits, people will cheer. If he doesn't hit, they won't. We have a decade of evidence that baseball fans don't care very much about the use of sports drugs, that they're willing to cheer for players caught cheating, to advocate for their signing, to welcome them when they put on the local livery. Rodriguez's case is different by degree, not kind.

Over at NBC's Hardball Talk, blogger-in-chief Craig Calcaterra has done a wonderful job tracking what he has dubbed A-Rod Derangement Syndrome. The coverage of Rodriguez in the New York press has ranged from biased to hysterical, and not just in the tabloids. The coverage of Rodriguez has always ignored the history playing out in front of us, whether an industry lavishing eight-figure deals on players after their suspensions, or young teams trading for JDA violators down the stretch of a pennant race, or postseason heroes allowed to be postseason heroes without the constant references to their past.

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