Sports Beat “On Behalf of A-Rod”

Let’s begin with the obvious supposition that Alex Rodriguez did indeed purchase and use performance enhancement drugs from sleazy Anthony Bosch and his disgraced company, Biogenesis.

The way the media, particularly the New York Daily News national baseball columnist Bill “Hang ‘Em High” Madden covered the story, was not only was A-Rod guilty but he should be treated like an Al-Qaeda operative, or at the very least with the disdain that conservative patriotic Americans have for Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange.

I would like to write a few words in Alex’s behalf. Sure he probably used steroids but he had already signed his megabucks contract that would tie him to the Yankees until he was 42 years old. He could have pulled a Jason Bay or Oliver Perez and would have been able to collect his full salary even if his performance sucked and he would not have nearly the grief that he is getting now.  Rodriguez clearly wanted to live up to his gargantuan contract even if it was through Faustian means.

You can’t blame Alex for appealing his 211-game suspension. He gets to finish out the 2013 season and perhaps an arbiter will reduce his suspension, to say, half of the 2014 season. Even if he has to miss all of 2014, he has already made some of his staunchest critics who guaranteed that he would never play another game as a Yankee look like fools.

You can’t say that Alex isn’t bright. At his return press conference in Chicago, he was very articulate and never got flustered. He even seemed to relish the questions coming from his biggest detractors.

The Yankees will probably have no choice but to load up a Brinks truck for their free agent-to-be, Robinson Cano. Having said that you have to wonder about Cano’s hustle and intelligence. On August 5, Cano hit a ball that fell in front of a White Sox outfielder and rolled away from his in the first inning. Knowing that a good chunk of the civilized world was watching because they wanted to see the reaction to A-Rod and what he would do in his first at-bat, you would think that Cano would go all out and get to second base easily. Instead, Cano took his sweet time running the bases and was easily thrown out at second base which meant that everyone had to wait until the next inning to see A-Rod bat. That’s not what you call a high IQ move for Robinson.

The Yankees Captain, Mr. Derek Jeter, did not do wonders for his image either on August 5. When A-Rod delivered a bloop single in the second inning, Jeter just stared blankly and offered not even a hint of a smile for a teammate that delivered a leadoff hit for a struggling team.

Derek may have realized that he hurt his pristine good guy image and thus decided to go on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” three nights later where he hammed it up with the host and flashed his trademark pearly whites throughout his segment.

If the curmudgeonly members of the Baseball Writers Association of America are determined to keep anyone out of Cooperstown who they even have a remote inkling took PEDs than they ought to be fair and reexamine those terrific squeaky clean players who had great careers yet failed to gain entry into the Hall of Fame such as Steve Garvey, Dale Murphy and Tony Oliva.

There is a strong rumor that Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris is seeking to buy the New Jersey Devils from Jeff Vanderbeek, a former Lehman Brothers managing partner. It should be noted that Lehman, like Bear Stearns, went under during the mortgage-backed securities scandal in 2008. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Vanderbeek ,like Lehman, was undercapitalized when it counted.

My suggestion to Harris or anyone buying the New Jersey Devils is to immediately fire the team’s longtime president and corporate face, “Captain” Lou Lamoriello. The word from a lot of hockey insiders is that Lamoriello dislikes the media and couldn’t care less about home attendance. The only thing he seems to care about his how many Stanley Cups the New York Times obituary will say that his teams won. Based on the Devils’ poor coverage in the local dailies; their very empty and extremely spacious press box; and how I have been treated over the years by the team’s PR staff, I would have to concur with that assessment of Captain Lou.

The NHL announced that the Rangers will play both the Devils and the Islanders in a pair of outdoor games at Yankee Stadium during Super Bowl week. The Blueshirts will be the visiting team in both games.

I understand the economies of scale but it makes far more sense for the Rangers-Islanders game to be played at Citi Field since it is closer to Long Island. It should be noted that of all the boroughs, Queens has the biggest concentration of Islanders fans.

Twenty years ago the Trump Taj Mahal was the epitome of Atlantic City casino luxury. In spite of recent high end competitors such as the bloated Borgata and the financially bleeding Revel, the Taj has aged well. Its hotel rooms are modern and spacious and its restaurants, such as Il Mulino and Robert’s Steakhouse, are among AC’s best. The Manhattan gentleman’s club/sports pub Scores will be opening a branch at Trump Taj Mahal Labor Day weekend. Robert’s Steakhouse will be making its hamburgers and other cuisine so it should be worth a visit for reasons other than the obvious eye candy.

Two other Atlantic City hotels are competing in the more traditional sports bar space.

Resorts Casino Hotel opened a Margaritaville Café earlier this summer and now has another Buffett inspired property, the beachfront LandShark Grill which is a perfect venue for watching televised sporting events.

Not to be outdone, the famous Philadelphia sports restaurant/bar chain, Chickie’s and Pete’s, has just opened at Tropicana. Make sure to try their crab fries and lobster pizza.

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