Friday, July 6, 2012

Yankees legend Reggie Jackson: Cranky old man

Although Reggie Jackson was my favorite player coming up, I've noticed that in recent years, he seems to have gotten an acute case of Good Old Days Disease, which has symptoms including lack of self-awareness, crankiness, discounting of anything that happened after you, and a big old case of "get off my lawn-ism." (Hint -- it hits a lot of us as we age. If you find yourself starting a sentence with, "In my day..." just stop yourself before you get a full-blown case of Good Old Days Disease!

Anyhow, Reggie was quoted last month griping about players strutting (What!?? People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!) He said, among other things, that "If some of these guys were as concerned with getting base hits and winning games as they were Twitter, maybe they could perform better and earn some style." Oh, please. C'mon, Jax, don't be a hypocrite. You strutted with the best of them back in your day!

Now Mr. October is lashing out against PED users, including at his friend Alex Rodriguez, the player he was a mentor to. Reggie has some rather incoherent comments about steroids and the Hall of Fame in the latest edition of Sports Illustrated. First of all, he attacks current HOFers, saying:
He believes that the Baseball Writers Association of America, whose members vote for the Hall, have adopted too low a standard. "I didn't see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer," he says. "I didn't see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn't see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn't see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I like Jim Rice, I'm not so sure he's a Hall of Famer." What about Bert Blyleven? "No. No, no, no, no," Jackson says. "Blyleven wasn't even the dominant pitcher of his era -- it was Jack Morris."
Here's the thing, though. I've heard people use some of these very same arguments against...wait for it...Reggie Jackson! That he wasn't what they perceived as a HOFer, that somebody who has the all-time MLB strikeouts record shouldn't be in the Hall, blah blah blah. So when did he turn into Tim McCarver?
Then Jackson goes after PED users, saying that if any of them are elected, "no Hall of Famer will attend." He says about Alex Rodriguez: 
"Al's a very good friend," Jackson says. "But I think there are real questions about his numbers. As much as I like him, what he admitted about his usage does cloud some of his records."
But what about Andy Pettitte? Just like many Yankee fans, Jackson has a huge double standard when it comes to Pettitte vs. A-Rod and PEDs. (Every single time I hear a Yankee fan say "A-Roid," I always ask them if they hate Andy Pettitte, too. 99 times out of 100, they'll say that he is somehow different because he only did it twice (not true, but I digress) or because he's a nice guy. As if you should get a pass from being held accountable if you're nice! Then you have David (Sherlock) Ortiz, who has gotten a pass for three years for his positive PED test, and he's not even nice anymore!

Guess what, though. Jackson says basically the same incoherent point that too many fanboys and fangirls make. (BTW, it is perfectly acceptable to not respect A-Rod for juicing, but you have to not respect Pettitte, too. As for who told the truth, Rodriguez did more truth-telling than Pettitte did -- and more than any other player has. Not that that's saying much, but still.) Here's Reggie's point:
There is only one player in that category for whom he might make an exception [of attending the Hall of Fame]. "The question is going to be a guy like Andy Pettitte, who admitted that he got involved for a while, but who is so universally respected in the game. I think he'll get in, but there will be a lot of [members] who won't go." Would Reggie? Jackson takes a deep breath. "He's an awfully good friend," he says. "I've known Andy since he was 20. I'll leave it there."
I didn't realize that there was a clause that even if you are against PED use, you decide it's is okay if you like the guy. And you can't rail about Phil Niekro and Don Sutton (who both won 300+ games, the gold standard of HOF pitchers) making the HOF, and then suggest that Andy Pettitte is deserving. As much as I like Pettitte, he is a borderline Hall candidate, and that's not even dealing with the PED use. If you look at the black ink numbers of the HOFers criticized, then compared them to Pettitte, they are all more deserving of the Hall than he is.

That's where Reggie's argument completely falls apart. If you are against PEDs, then you can't say, "Well, keep out the guy with three MVPs and 600+ home runs, but put in the extremely borderline candidate because I like the guy." That's just silly.

If there was any retired player, though, that could have broken the mold of criticizing today's players, I thought it would be Jackson. Too bad he, too has come down with Good Old Days Disease!

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Uncle Mike said...

Oh, Lisa. Calling someone out for hypocrisy when the subject is Alex Rodriguez. Whatever points you had to make would have been better suited being made by someone else. Especially since you used the word "fangirls."

I agree that Reggie does himself no favors with this statement. But you really should have enlisted another messenger.

BasedGod said...

I sensing alot of sexism from "Uncle Mike".

Uncle Mike said...

I am sensing both poor grammar and a miss of the point from "BasedGod." It was Lisa who used the term "fangirls." If you have an issue with that term being used, take it up with her.

The point is, while Lisa and I are both Reggie people, she is an A-Rod person. That makes it considerably more difficult for her to be objective here. Not impossible, but considerably more difficult. As it would be for me if the subject were, say, Paul O'Neill.

Subway Squawkers said...

Mike, you are missing the point. I didn't argue that he shouldn't criticize A-Rod. I said that you can't criticize A-Rod for doing PEDs, and then defend Andy Pettitte for doing the same thing. In fact, my point is just the opposite of what you are claiming -- that I am being unobjective.

If you want to say A-Rod doesn't belong in the HOF, fine. I really don't have a problem with that. But you're a hypocrite, and yes, a pro-Pettitte fanboy or fangirl, if you give Andy Pettitte a pass, and say that he should be in the HOF, when he is just as guilty of using PEDs as A-Rod is.

memento said...

I disagree with the author of this article. Alex Rodriguez by anyone's definition is a reprobate. He's been juicing since he was a teenager in the streets of Miami. He can't hit, field or throw on a major league level without the use of performance enhancing drugs. Have you ever seen him run? He looks like a pregnant woman trying to catch a bus. Jackson's points are salient, the author's are not. She is trying to manufacture an argument as to compare the transgressions of Pettitte vs.Rodriguez....we must hate Pettitte we don't, there is no moral equivalence here!

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