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News » Private Eye

Damn Yankee

Lying to the American public is getting to be old hat.


Two years ago I saw just my second New York Yankees baseball game at Yankee Stadium. It’s hard to get motivated to go to New York City just to watch a ballgame, but my whole family is made up of Yankee fans, so off we went. The Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners that evening, and I forget the score. Giambi had a homer.

Ichiro played right field for the Mariners just below our seats. Man, that guy is limber. Rivera got the save. Rodriguez had about five errors.

I don’t remember much else, except that our sunfacing right-field seats were very hot and my first beer went down long before the sun did. Our family of five had our five seats, all right— not next to each other in a row, but one behind the other for five rows. That was the dumbest thing I’d ever seen and not at all what I ordered from the Yankee ticket office, which told me our seats were in left field.

Each of us had seat companions we didn’t know—which made passing the popcorn a real adventure. Sports fans will do just about anything to see their favorite teams and players. At the time, it seemed like a small price to pay to see the kids smile and catch a final glimpse of the House that Ruth Built. Every wonderful thing every kid imagines about Yankee Stadium—the old one, at least—is true. This summer, I’ll be in New York—at Cooperstown, no less—to watch my kid Mikey play. I was thinking of catching a Yankee game at the new Yankee Stadium, too. Now, I think I’ll pass.

A few years ago, Alex Rodriguez pronounced on the CBS program 60 Minutes that he had never used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. When he said that, I felt a huge sense of relief that the player my kids most idolized—right after Derek Jeter, that is—was indeed a freak human specimen possessed of every good baseball gene imaginable. Not to mention his wife—since dumped for Madonna—was Greek. Those “other” guys should be ashamed, I thought. Those “other” guys should have asterisks placed next to their records, or be banned from baseball or be ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. I rallied for him, invoked his name and defended him in many a bar argument.

I felt the same way about Bill Clinton when he told the nation he never had sex with “that woman.” I fell for his lie and rallied his camp. Later, when Hillary Clinton—whom I never cared a whit for prior—had to confront that lie, I switched sides on the spot. From then on, I considered Bill Clinton a dirty, lying despicable dog. When I once stood about 3 feet from him, I did have to admire that he’s a charming despicable dog, though. Republicans reading this will be saying, “Told you so,” but, from Richard Nixon to Larry Craig, Republicans have their own lying scoundrels to deal with. Lying to the American public is getting to be old hat, and A-Rod is just one more flavor in that despised club of serial liars.

If it’s not A-Rod, it’s the guy selling bunko mortgages. If not him, it’s the starlet who says her looks and bod are really real. If not her, it’s the Wall Street investment banker or the double-dipping stock portfolio manager or the doctor dealing painkillers on the side or multilevel marketer. Lying and cheating may be as old as man, but today it seems like if you’re not a lying cheat, you’re abnormal.

If I’d lived in the Old West, I’d have been the first to fall for the traveling salesman selling his medical quackery. When he was found out, I wouldn’t have tied the noose, and I wouldn’t have kicked the horse out from under him, but I wouldn’t have tried to stop anyone from doing the hanging, either.

That’s how I feel about all of them. Alex Rodriguez wants me to forgive him. Screw that. Last time I trusted him, it cost me a few hundred bucks. He can buy a new bat for that much, but he can’t buy a smile for the kids of mine who once adored him. A-Fraud thought he was A-God, but he really is just A-Rod. And he knows where he can stick it.