The Joe in this case is Posnanski, and what he nails is a defense of A-Rod.
… A-Rod may be singular in our sports scene. Everybody else has rabid defenders. If you take a moment to bash Bob Knight … or Tiger Woods … or Tony La Russa … or Derek Jeter … or Terrell Owens … or Kobe Bryant … or Ben Roethlisberger … or Michael Vick … … or Peyton Manning … or Tim Tebow … or Phil Mickelson … or Randy Moss … or Roger Clemens … or John Calipari … or Roy Williams … or Barry Bonds … or just about any other athlete or coach who might spark negative views (even if is is because they are so positively portrayed), there will likely be a swam or people who will tell you (with gusto) that you are wrong. There are a lot of people who believe John Rocker was misunderstood.
But you more or less can bash A-Rod with impunity. Few will disagree. Not many believe him misunderstood…
Posnanski goes on to discuss how any anti-Rod argument just concedes the numbers and his objective greatness and then jumps into Braden-gate to dismiss it as a rookie being obnoxious because he can get away with it.
. . . it seems to me the key factory here is: It’s A-Rod. And all that entails. I mean, let’s face it … if that was Albert Pujols running across the mound, and that was a pitcher who has accomplished as much as Dallas Braden griping about it — say Anibal Sanchez or someone — it seems to be there would be a whole lot of “Shut your fat face, kid,” talk going on across the country.
But it’s not Pujols. It’s A-Rod. And because it’s A-Rod, there are suddenly a lot of people saying: “Yeah, you can’t just run across the mound — everybody knows that!” Because it’s A-Rod there are people admiring Dallas Braden for standing up to the big bully who dared stomp on his new carpet. Because it’s A-Rod, the story is lively and the coverage is intense and the opinion seems to be at least leaning Dallas Braden’s way. Hey look: Another reason to despise A-Rod! Dallas Braden got it right in this way. In this world of ours, you can’t go wrong standing against taxes, the declining levels of our schools and Alex Rodriguez.
In that way, he’s absolutely right – most of us had never heard of this unwritten rule that A-Rod violated, but we have the Tracy Ringloby’s of the world declaring him evil.
A-Rod’s tact lately has, for the most part, been “shut up and play.” Maybe its time for the rest of us to shut up and watch.