Monday, May 4, 2009

Deader Horse: A-Fraud Or Swine Flu?

Let me first say that neither of these stories are anywhere near as annoying as hearing about the economy every ten fucking seconds. It's one gigantic self-fulfilling prophecy that bleeds into every facet of life, including sports. The difference between that and the two things in the headline is that the economy actually affects everyone, and the coverage is not wildly out of proportion. 

Nothing that has come out about A-Rod has been remotely current nor does it alter the life course of anyone besides himself and his immediate family. We are talking about him supposedly taking steroids/HGH, banging strippers, leaving somewhat below average gratuity at Hooters and tipping pitches to opposing batters in games that were essentially already decided.

We find it upsetting or salacious or unfair or distasteful, but all at a certain distance. The same distance we use to view celebrity exploits, watch reality shows and gossip about co-workers. It's superficial bullshit that's not concretely correlated to your own life. 

Despite what every news organization on Earth would like you to think, Swine Flu isn't relevant to your life, either. There are roughly 290 confirmed cases in the U.S.  Your odds of contracting it (let alone dying from it) are something like a million to one. There's a significantly better chance you are a regular reader of this blog, for fuck's sake.

The only reason people talk about it is because, like "A-Rod", it grabs people's attention in a headline. Welcome to the internet, the home of 10 second attention spans where your stories better be eye-opening right off the bat. And a sure recipe for that is to include a disease named after something to do with animals. 

Mad Cow Disease, Monkey Pox, Bird Flu, Hoof and Mouth Disease and now the Swine Flu. Am I missing any? They haven't even found one pig with it yet. If they had been calling it the "N1H1 Flu" all along, do you honestly think the entire country would be aware of it? Attention Doctors: If you want to raise the awareness of a certain disease... just name it after an animal. A few suggestions:
  • Deer Measles
  • Canine SARS
  • Horse Herpes
  • Toad Rubella
  • Sheep AIDS
  • Spider Meningitis
  • Duck Lupus
  • Fish Trichinosis
  • Bullfrog Fever
  • Goat Gout
Pick any of those (especially Horse Herpes) and it will be a household name in two weeks. 


Here is the reason Swine Flu is much more annoying to me: The result of the eventual saturation of coverage is a country who is fucking paranoid about something that is literally a one in a million shot. About 63,000 people in this country die from the regular flu every year. So far from Swine Flu? One toddler

On the other hand, now that the A-Rod firestorm is now reaching it's saturation point, people are starting get tired of it. We get it. He's phony and insecure and a cheap tipper (in more ways that one). Let's move on. It's putting things in perspective as opposed to blowing them out of proportion. 

Informal poll time! What say you, Fackers? 

A-Rod or S-Flu? Cheaters or Pigs? Clubhouse Cancers or Contagious Viruses? Character Assassination or Fear Mongering? 

[Note: I don't know that I would have the same perspective if I hadn't been reading Craig from Shysterball's takes on the Selena Roberts book. If you haven't heard his opinion on the matter, do yourself a favor and follow that link.]


  1. Both.

    I've had enough of A-Rod, I've had enough Selena Roberts, and I've had enough Girardi's characteristically contrived reaction to both.

    I've never particularly liked A-Rod, so the fact that I'm even feeling a tinge of human sympathy for him at this point leads me to believe that Roberts and her publisher have overplayed their hand.

    At this point for me, A-Rod has entered what Bill Simmons refers to as "The Tyson Zone" - you can tell me anything about him at this point, however outrageous, and I wouldn't reject it out of hand.

    What does bother me amongst these newest allegations is the pitch-tipping thing. I don't care if the games were decided are not - if the allegations are true those actions are inexecusable, wholly selfish, and taken with blatant disregard for his teammates. But yet, not surprising.

    Meanwhile, Selena Roberts may be well-respected in journalistic circles, but it's just as easy to believe she has her own agenda as it is to believe the charges she levies against A-Rod. Also, I think that it's been a conflict of interest having her SI colleague Tom Verducci sit on the MLBN panel both times she's appeared there for special sit downs.

    There's also the issue of MLBN getting two exclusive sit downs with her on this topic, while MLB is actively investigating A-Rod.

    As for the swine flu - I've had just about enough of that as well. At the risk of brining religion into the discussion, I went to mass yesterday. There was a 50-something married couple sitting in front of me. The husband reluctantly shook my hand during the rite of peace only to be immediately rebuked by his wife: "We're not shaking hands, remember!". Then she proceeded to give me a fist bump. Seriously. I was stupified. Having been sufficiently whipped by the old ball and chain, the husband sheepishly asked me "You haven't been to Mexico lately have you?"

    Wow. So much taking part in a basic act of fellowship. People that concerned about it oughta just put on their hazmat suits and hole up in their plastic bubbles until the whole thing blows over.

    FWIW I'm sick of hearing about the economy too. Enough rambling from me; gotta finish some work so I can drive 90 minutes to go sit in the rain at the Stadium.

  2. :CLAPS HANDS: Well said my friend.

    I was just telling my wife the other day when she was looking at pictures on the internet of all the people wearing masks, "What a bunch of idiots". Your sentiments are exactly what I told her when she was defending them.

    As for A-Rod, I really don't see the big deal with the tip pitching. Players have done a lot worse through the years and he is obviously hasn't done it since Texas being he plays 3rd base now.

    I can't stand the self rightiousness of the media. If all was fair in the world, you would have to subject yourself to a complete and utter public life before reporting on another individual. Hell, I'd even settle for having to have certifiable FACTS before putting things in print.....and when pigs fly.

  3. I agree that each of these stories is overplayed, but the one thing I don't think you've really acknowledged is the seriousness of pitch tipping. If he was really selling out his own pitchers (probably lower level guys if it was during blowouts) for the sake of other superstars, that is truly despicable. Johnny Jouneyman having to pitch to Miguel Tejada when he knows what's coming could be the difference between him making it in the big leagues or not. I'm a Yankees fan, and even if he never did it in pinstripes, it makes me loose even more respect for him (if that was even possible).

  4. Okay... one at a time here.

    mmb - You are starting to run away with the Commenter of the Year title. You're right to point out that that the excessive media coverage has actually polarized people into feeling sorry for the guy.

    As you and Steve are both saying, the pitch tipping is serious business and I... A) Didn't totally understand the charges when I wrote about the preliminary leaks last week, and B) Didn't want to get into in this post.

    I agree with you guys 100%. If true, that speaks volumes about his character, more than taking steriods and more than dating Madonna. To sell out guys on your own team goes against everything he's ever said about "wanting to win". I don't care what the score is, giving any advantage to the other team is downright disgraceful. WWDJD? What would Derek Jeter Do? Not that, not in a million years.

    I've listened to a couple of interviews with Selena Roberts and I'd be lying if I said she didn't seem pretty even keeled and credible. I wouldn't be surprised if the sources are telling the truth (great call on the Tyson Zone), but she does appear to be on a mission to destroy his credibility not only as a baseball player but as a person.

    I can't believe that story about church! You can't really even blame the people when you look at some of the headlines that have been out there. "Flu Reaches Near Pandemic Levels" and things of that nature. I think most of us can see through the bullshit, but not everyone can.

    DocBooch - I must assume that you are a real doctor and will soon be taking advice about re-naming diseases. 1 out of 1 doctors agree with Fack Youk!

  5. The difference for me is that I can ignore the swine flu coverage, while sort of giggling to myself about how ridiculous the media in this country has become. FYI, I've been telling people for weeks about the 63,000 to 1 kill ratio regular flu vs. swine flu; nice to know someone else would look into this.

    With the A-Rod/Selena Roberts fiasco I am unfortunately forced to watch and listen to reporters and broadcasters alike talk about it every time the Yankees are mentioned. I don't hate A-Rod, or wish his current situation upon anyone. However, I'm sick of how his shitty situation has attached itself to the Yankees organization.

  6. Your assumption would be correct. However, as a chiropractor I believe that it's not the seed but the soil. We leave treating the symptoms and not the cause and overblown pandemics to the MD's.

    Sorry about the fruediant slip of tip pitching....I must have had ARod's Hooters bar tab on my mind.

    Out of all seriousness, I wouldn't put it past him. He has always been a selfish player. But, as I said, that was before the Yankees.