Blog Entry

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:19 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:18 pm
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By Matt Snyder

Earlier Wednesday, Forbes.com released its annual list of most disliked athletes, and only one baseball player appeared on it. Not surprisingly, it was Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees. Now, I don't say that because I personally dislike A-Rod (I don't), but it's pretty evident he's the most hated baseball player among casual fans nation-wide.

[EYE ON NFL: Suh, Vick, Burress among most-disliked athletes]

But seeing the list got me thinking -- from a baseball standpoint, because that's what I do -- of two different things. First of all, that's pretty cool that only one player made the list. The NBA and NFL combined for seven of the top 10. Plus, a few years ago, I'm sure A-Rod would have been joined by Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez.

So is baseball becoming more irrelevant? I'd say no. The World Series got gigantic ratings and earlier this year was tied with college football for second in a poll of America's favorite sport (take a wild guess as to what was No. 1).

So it's entirely possible baseball's new crop of players are just that much more likable. The testing for PEDs has to help, obviously, because fans really seem to hate guys getting rich and taking down records from beloved players like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and the like by cheating the system. I feel like there's more to it, but that's probably a different discussion for a different day.

Anyway, the second thing that came to mind was this: A-Rod's been a fan punching bag for far too long. Isn't it old at this point? And, really, "A-Roid?" C'mon, let's be more creative than that. Baseball needs a new Public Enemy No. 1.

Bud Selig probably qualifies for many, judging from the intense ire he draws in our comments section, just as Frank McCourt and the Wilpon family do, but this is only for players.

And my best guess is Bryce Harper.

Just as I did with A-Rod above, I'll start by pointing out that I don't dislike Harper. My colleague Gregg Doyel wrote last August about how unfairly maligned Harper is. But there's only so much that can do. Let's look at the elements that I subjectively think usually cause the national public to dislike a player -- and see how they apply to Harper.

1. He's rich. C'mon. Let's face it. Jealousy is what drives most hate, and many fans are jealous of rich athletes to begin with. But it can't be just this, otherwise every single player would be hated.

2. He's not like them. Bryce Harper was so talented he began to gain significant hype when he was 15 years old. He was rich before he turned 18, so it wasn't like he labored as an adult to "make it." Also, many sports fans are loyal to their teams and cities. Harper is a fair weather fan. He recently took to Twitter to defend himself for growing up a fan of: Duke basketball, USC football, the Yankees, the Lakers and the Cowboys. I'm guessing that makes millions of fans cringe.

3. Excessive hype. Fans generally seem to get sick of hearing about guys and hard-core baseball fans have already been hearing about Harper for the past three-plus years. And he's still not even 20. It's only going to build as he gets closer to joining the Nationals.

4. Outward arrogance/bad PR. While Harper works hard, never gets in trouble off the field and seems to have great intentions, he's had a few public relations issues already. He blew a kiss at a pitcher after homering off him in the minors last year. He was ejected from a game for screaming at an umpire. At the Future's Game last year, he missed a cutoff man that ended up costing his team a run, but in the locker room he said he didn't care that he just wanted to show off his arm. It also didn't help when a coach said he faced the most scrutiny of any player since Jackie Robinson (which isn't a comparison, but when the names are used side-by-side it just feels wrong to many).

Fair or not -- and I'd argue almost all of this is unfair -- many fans are already taking to message boards and Twitter and calling Harper things like a "spoiled little kid." I'm guessing that Harper hits this list within the next few years. So maybe A-Rod passes the torch to Harper.

And here's the thing that is most important: The entire general public doesn't "hate" someone irrelevant. So Nationals fans should actually be rooting for Harper to be good enough to "deserve," if you will, the impending wave of scorn.

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Comments

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: April 22, 2012 9:08 pm
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

Mariano is my favorite Yankee, and I truly do not suspect him of using PED's...I simply made the comment to bring home how easy it is to accuse  someone (anyone) of using them. I refer you back to my last post where I reminded you that the infield was drawn-in to try and cut the run down at the plate...THAT is why the soft liner got over Jeters head...not because Gonzales was muscled-up. Besides...The Diamondbacks beat the Yankees 4 out of seven games in that WS....not just one game with Gonzales being the hero.  Perrhaps you should learn the game of baseball and managerial tactics before you post. Had Torre had the infield at regular depth, perhaps Jeter would have caught the soft liner and delayed the Yankees misery for another inning.




Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:31 am
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

Hawkman said

jack_sprat, you're condemning the guy's character for a single act.  I won't even get into the silliness of that.  But here's the real deal - he DIDN'T use performance enhancing drugs as the poorly informed poster stated, and his career cannot be judged with the ranks of the PED users.  A character flaw, if you call it that, didn't make him hit 755.  PEDs were responsible for the performance of the clowns you mentioned.


You want to attack the character of every player who made a single bad call and learned from their mistake, or every PERSON for that matter, it's going to be a lonely world where only your perfect self resides.  And the HoF would certainly be empty.  But I love your argument that Aaron doesn't belong in the hall because of something that MIGHT have happened if he had let it.

You cannot make the stretch of Aaron belonging with the PED users because it doesn't exist.  The issue with the PED users is the impact it had on their performance, so until you've got some evidence of Aaron's performance being a result of PEDs, you're just whining.



You hit it right out of the park with the above comments.


If I may add that everyone falls it is how you get up that counts.  Aaron continues to make atonements by the way he conducts himself around the game and more importantly in the biggest game.  The game of life.     


  



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 2:09 am
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

jack_sprat, you're condemning the guy's character for a single act.  I won't even get into the silliness of that.  But here's the real deal - he DIDN'T use performance enhancing drugs as the poorly informed poster stated, and his career cannot be judged with the ranks of the PED users.  A character flaw, if you call it that, didn't make him hit 755.  PEDs were responsible for the performance of the clowns you mentioned.


You want to attack the character of every player who made a single bad call and learned from their mistake, or every PERSON for that matter, it's going to be a lonely world where only your perfect self resides.  And the HoF would certainly be empty.  But I love your argument that Aaron doesn't belong in the hall because of something that MIGHT have happened if he had let it.
 
You cannot make the stretch of Aaron belonging with the PED users because it doesn't exist.  The issue with the PED users is the impact it had on their performance, so until you've got some evidence of Aaron's performance being a result of PEDs, you're just whining. 



Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:51 pm
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

Hank Aaron admitted to abusing greenies his whole career.

False.  I love it when these urban legends get passed around as fact, don't you?  What Aaron actually admitted to was that in 1968 he was having his worst season since his rookie year and was "so frustrated I tried using a pep pill "a greenie" that one of my teammates gave me.  When that thing took hold, I thought I was having a heart attack.  It was a stupid thing to do". 

So, once becomes "his whole career" in the world of the urban legend.  --Hawkman77

Okay, so he took it and had a bad reaction. He's already indicated both a willingness to consider cheating and crossed the line into actually doing so. He certainly must have at least HOPED that they would provide him an edge. I've got news for you: Like Clemens and Bonds and McGwire, Hank has got feet of clay.

All that's left for you is to give him your priestly dispensation, then tell him to "Go forth and sin no more." Which, given his advanced age, seems more likely than not. Consistency would demand that his plaque at least be turned backwards in the HOF, along with a great many others. Phil Niekro for starters. George Brett. Feel free to add to the list.     




Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:14 pm
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

JacobSon please don't mention Mo being on the Juice.  There is no evidence or even a stiff of a rumour of him being on anything more than an aspirin.


The type of hitter Gonzales was before the juice is the type  Mo would have dominated.  It would have been a weak pop up even if he could hit him.


I again am sorry but there is no debating that he was on the juice and that was how he beat the Yanks.



I have to say that everyone in baseball who knew and condone this type of cheating should be forever removed from the game.  The first person to start is Commissioner Bud.     &
nbsp; 

 



Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:26 pm
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

I don't mind when ANYONE disagrees with me....especially rookies, because we can all learn something from someone. Whether Gonzales was on the juice or not is irrelevant. Was Mo on the juice too? Did it all even out anyway? Doesn't matter...as usual, the yankees and their fans will always make excuses. If you are going to condemn Gonzales for (maybe) juicing...then you have to adjust the Yankees entire year as well. How many games did the Yanks 'win' because of the juice users on their team? Do they even make the playoffs? The point is you cant take away the Diamondbacks WS  victory over the mighty yanks with some vague refrence to PED's....otherwise the entire decade has to be washed out.  Go D'backs in 2012! 
BTW- I was there too, and if you were really there you know the infield was drawn in to cut the tying-run down at the plate and Gonzales managed to dunk it over the drawn-in infield. I dont think Gonzo needed to be juiced to punch it over Jeter's head under those circumstances!



Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:43 pm
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

jacobson said

So now, the Yankees lost the WS the the Diamondbacks because Luis Gonzales was on juice? Thats a new low for Yankee fans to stoop to, for excuses. The Diamondbacks beat the Yankees fair and square because the Diamondbacks wanted it more. The Yankees thought they could mail it in. Only to start making excuses 11 years later? Get over it Yankee fan. Play harder Yankees itf you want to win.


I hate to disagree with you because you are a Superstar and I am just a lowly Rookie but I was there and a punch and Judy hitter like Gonzales was before he juiced up never would have been able to get Rivera cutter out of the infield.  It would have been and easy out.  The score would have remained the same all tied up.  The add strength he got form cheating allowed him to bloop a ball into left field.


He was basically a 250 hitter and low teens home run guy. Then when he started using the juice he hit in the twenty, thirties and them in the fifty range.  His average went from 250' to  330's. 



Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:32 pm
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

HAWKMAN77

False.  I love it when these urban legends get passed around as fact, don't you?  What Aaron actually admitted to was that in 1968 he was having his worst season since his rookie year and was "so frustrated I tried using a pep pill "a greenie" that one of my teammates gave me.  When that thing took hold, I thought I was having a heart attack.  It was a stupid thing to do". 

So, once becomes "his whole career" in the world of the urban legend.



Thank you for clearing this up and putting it to bed   The Baseball Commissioner should put an asterisk beside Barry Bonds name.  Better yet he should remove anyone stats that has admitted to the use of PED's. 


IF it is true what is being reported that Mr. Cashman misled the FEDs on the use of PED's with the release of this information today The friend said he sent the email to , chief investigator for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and FBI agent .

The email, obtained by The News, went on to say that Meanwell had “specific details” on dates and times that Cashman was aware of steroid use by players.


Mr. Cashman may be forced out of the his Job with the Yankees.  Every day there is more and more information being let out and none of it looks good for Mr. Cashman and the Yankees.


Why do bad things happen to bad people?     




Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:29 pm
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

So now, the Yankees lost the WS the the Diamondbacks because Luis Gonzales was on juice? Thats a new low for Yankee fans to stoop to, for excuses. The Diamondbacks beat the Yankees fair and square because the Diamondbacks wanted it more. The Yankees thought they could mail it in. Only to start making excuses 11 years later? Get over it Yankee fan. Play harder Yankees itf you want to win.



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:18 am
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

Hank Aaron admitted to abusing greenies his whole career.

False.  I love it when these urban legends get passed around as fact, don't you?  What Aaron actually admitted to was that in 1968 he was having his worst season since his rookie year and was "so frustrated I tried using a pep pill "a greenie" that one of my teammates gave me.  When that thing took hold, I thought I was having a heart attack.  It was a stupid thing to do". 

So, once becomes "his whole career" in the world of the urban legend.  

      
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