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Ian O'Connor shoehorns steroids into last night's Yankees game

May 18, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT

Alex Rodriguez celebrates.jpgESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor on last night’s game-tying homer from Alex Rodriguez:

With the ball streaking like a comet across the black Bronx night,
making Yankee Stadium quake like the old place always did, Alex Rodriguez flipped his bat, shot a look-at-me-now stare into the home
dugout, and left this baffling question in his wake: Why
did he ever feel compelled to use “boli” in the first place?

Rodriguez
was never a slugger who needed to wage a war of back-room pharmacology.
Naturally big and fast, born with an innate ability to get the barrel
on the ball, A-Rod didn’t have to turn the game of big league baseball
into a battle of my underground chemist against yours.

Look, you can feel however you want about Alex Rodriguez and you’d be totally accurate to say that he broke the rules of baseball because he did. But if you’re going to take the “A-Rod is great and never needed steroids” line today, you probably need to walk your A-Rod “cheated the
game, cheated the fans and cheated himself” rebop
from two months ago back a little bit.

Why? Because saying in March that he was a “chemically-altered fraud” whose “steroid
stain will last forever” and saying in May that “see, he never really needed steroids after all” is a tad inconsistent. PEDs either helped him or they didn’t, and you don’t get to choose which one of those things you prefer to fit the story you’re writing on any particular day. If they did helped A-Rod as much as O’Connor said they did back in March, he pretty much has to accuse A-Rod of still doing them to support his
“A-Rod is teh awesome!” story.  If they didn’t, he pretty much has to admit that he was spewing baseless PED invective for the past several years.

Of course, I’m not going to hold my breath here waiting for Ian O’Connor to admit that maybe, just maybe, PEDs aren’t as bad as he usually likes to pretend they are. But I would ask that if he’s going write an otherwise fine story about an exciting ballgame he refrain from interjecting a totally beside the point and quite apparently inconsistent steroids narrative into the mix.

  1. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 18, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    But I would ask that if he’s going write an otherwise fine story about an exciting ballgame he refrain from interjecting a totally beside the point and quite apparently inconsistent steroids narrative into the mix.

    Yeah, and after you finish doing that you can solve World Hunger and cure cancer. It’s Ian O’Connor, you could have written O’Connor is an idiot and stopped there.

  2. peteinfla - May 18, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    Here’s my question: Why do we need this rancid regurgitation of this story at all? We all know the A-Rod story now, just like we do with any of these athletes who have been caught and outed. So unless something new comes to light, why the need to bring it up ad nauseum? Apparently O’Connor has no original thoughts at all, which is a shame when there are so many great stories in Baseball right now, including last nights game, the Hanley situation, the Padres, Reds, the Rays, Strasburg, Storen, … If O’Connor can’t find something interesting to say, perhaps he should consider writing for a Greeting Card Company, and not ESPN.

  3. Evan - May 18, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Craig, I disagree (surprise, surprise). There is definitely a change of tone from O’Connor’s article concerning Galea and his most recent one. At the same time, his change of tone is hardly “forgive and forget.” It’s more of a question. “If you’re truly not juicing and you’re this good, why did you juice in the first place?”
    .
    I don’t see anything wrong with it. Every time I hear Arod’s name I think of him getting caught juicing. I bet many other baseball fans feel the same way. Unlike guys like McGwuire, Bonds and Palmeiro, Arod still has a long career ahead of him. Instead of wondering how much steroids helped him, we’re left wondering why he used them if he’s this elite without them. Don’t get me wrong, his accomplishments will always be tainted.

  4. Craig Calcaterra - May 18, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Evan — I’d have no problem with that if it wasn’t for the fact that O’Connor has never “wondered” anything in his life about steroids. From the moment A-Rod’s name was associated with them, he has determined — in the most uncompromising terms — that A-Rod’s career accomplishments were a fraud and that anyone who ever said a nice thing about him was cheated and swindled or worse. He has never allowed for the possibility that — the fact that PEDs are cheating notwithstanding — they may not have actually changed his performance all that much and thus not all of his accomplishments were fraudulent.
    Except now — now that he needs to write a story about how awesome the game was last night — he feels the need to say it.
    A-Rod is never going to escape the steroid story. I don’t expect him to. I would hope, however, that people at least attempt to treat the matter with some degree of intellectual seriousness and not make A-Rod a monster, a hero, or a source of pity and wonder as it suits their writing needs on any particular night.

  5. Kyle - May 18, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    The real question is why anyone in the media thinks that fans still care about steroids. The majority of fans would prefer to just watch the game and forget about the black eye of the steroid era. Bottom line: If you are a Yankees fan you are going to cheer for A-Rod as long as he keeps hitting bombs; If you hate the Yankees you are going to hate A-Rod, if not for using steroids then for something else.

  6. Triz - May 18, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    nice point by both Evan & craig in your comments. I just hope O’Connor has actually become wiser (for his sake & ppl who read him) and is actually doing what Evan is thinking. I am all for ppl leaving their old point of view and not being stubborn (i.e not being consistent) if they are doing it because of an intellectual change of heart & hopefully not for a story as Craig thinks may be the case here. The change of opinion shows that person is a thinking man and i would actually give more weight to that guy’s opinion (if i thinks its honest) then the guy who stupidly clings to his opinion.

  7. Craig Calcaterra - May 18, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    To be honest, I think it’s far more likely that this is Ian O’Connor’s actual opinion, and that his fire-breathing “A-Rod is the antichrist for doing steroids stuff” is grandstanding in an effort to get page views and virtual high fives. Which would be a shame, because that kind of thing is pretty much coming to dominate the PEDs discourse, and will ultimately have an impact on the history of the game in terms of how the Hall of Fame votes go, etc.

  8. YANKEES1996 - May 18, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    First of all O’Connor is a complete idiot, he apparently changes his point of view and opinion depending upon the day and his emotional state. I like A-Rod and always have I think he is an excellent ballplayer, but he did, he cheated and he will have to live with that label and those feelings for rest of his life. Is he one of the worst people that society has to deal with “no”. The reason A-Rod decided to use steroid is really very simple, I will give you 252 million reasons. You cannot be paid that kind of money and not feel some type of pressure to perform, it is just that simple!

  9. Jonny5 - May 18, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    He should just write an article explaining why he hates A-rod so much. Does he look like the bully who took his lunch money in grammar school every day? Did he run off with his wife for a weekend fling? Did he take his sister out for a night then bring her back crying? Maybe he ran over the guys cat? Turned his kid down for an autograph?? Craig, I think a further investigation is required, because this goes beyond what’s done on the field, This guy plain hates A-rod. The question remains though. WHY???

  10. Joey B - May 18, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    “Arod still has a long career ahead of him. Instead of wondering how much steroids helped him, we’re left wondering why he used them if he’s this elite without them. ”
    That assumes that he is still this elite without them, as in, he’s not taking them anymore. With all due respect to ‘circumstantial evidence’, he’s almost certainly still using them, unless one believes that he flies to Canada for an anti-inflammatory.
    But that aside, Outraged is correct. It’s Ian O’Conner. I pay more attention to folks rambling on the subway than this guy. I don’t remember him ever saying anything of interest.
    And past that, like PeteinFL said, the game was the story. This was destined to be one of the best games of the year. Either this was going to be the type of comeback the RS can build a season around, or it was going to be a fairly good-sized nail in our coffin.
    Eh, it’s Craig’s fault for infecting his blog with IOC’s inanities.

  11. crotch_jenkins - May 18, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Ian O’Connor is a hack and a scumbag. It’s nice to see that he has found an organization that he fits into so perfectly.

  12. Triz - May 18, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    Jonny, one of the best post i read about A-rod which mirrors my opinion perfectly. i’ll add to it and say that O’Connor is not the only guy as there are other who do it “to get page views and virtual high fives” as Craig pointed out. The hate fuels these guyz. I just feel sorry for them & bad for the fact that their hate influences other ppl as well and A-rod has to constantly fight against these opinions. He is tremendous in putting up with this much nonsense and still keeps on performing.

  13. 5iveoclock - May 18, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    I think we’re all missing the bigger problem here, and that’s O’Connor’s gag-inducing prose:
    With the ball streaking like a comet across the black Bronx night, making Yankee Stadium quake
    Does he work next to a bust of Grantland Rice or something?

  14. Ed - May 18, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    I don’t see the inconsistency here. In fact, isn’t that basically what the earlier column said – that A-Rod was a player with magnificent talent, that he would have been great, though possibly not as great, without steroids, and he’s made it almost impossible to enjoy his accomplishments because he cheated?

  15. Joey B - May 18, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    “I think we’re all missing the bigger problem here, and that’s O’Connor’s gag-inducing prose:
    With the ball streaking like a comet across the black Bronx night, making Yankee Stadium quake
    Does he work next to a bust of Grantland Rice or something?”
    I wrote like that in the 4th grade, and it still didn’t earn me good grades. I’m serious about this-I was embarassed reading it. It’s like listening to a really bad singer at karoake night, but one that thinks he’s really good.

  16. Amol - May 18, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    …you don’t get to choose which one of those things you prefer to fit the story you’re writing on any particular day.

    Apparently you can, Craig, and you can get a nice little paycheck from ESPN while doing so.

  17. YankeesfanLen - May 18, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    Ian O’Connor must be one of those people who interviews well then completely screws up his job. But it’s okay because he’s always angling for a better gig and somehow obtains one. His leaving the Bergen Record for ESPN improved the sports page 100%. At least Klapisch talks about baseball objectively and Caldera does the beat well now without column inches wasted with O’Connor’s crap.
    Once and forever (Len’s rule #1) Leave ARod alone!

  18. Rays fan - May 18, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Gotta admit, my first thought when I read about Rodriguez visiting Dr Galea was “Well, in this case, he could be swimming in steroids and still telling the truth.” Steroids are “anti-inflammatories.” That’s why aspirin, Motrin, and Alleve are all classified as “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.”

  19. BC - May 18, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    Ian O’Connor is a chipwich.

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