See, A-Rod isn't such a bad guy after all.
Look at him chilling with his pal Big Papi.
If David Ortiz thinks A-Rod is OK, why shouldn't we?
Alex Rodriguez paid a visit to Ortiz's annual golf charity event, which was held last week in the Dominican Republic. The tournament benefited the David Ortiz Children's Fund, which helps support pediatric care in New England and the Dominican Republic.
Ortiz posted this photo with A-Rod on his official @DavidOrtiz Twitter feed. Big Papi was thrilled to have A-Rod on hand to help generate publicity and, hopefully, some cash for this worthy charity.
Ortiz is certainly the most beloved member of the Red Sox these days.
Boston is his [expletive] city.
Mike Napoli wins the prize when it comes to picking celebrities for the office "Santa Pub Crawl" team. Dustin Pedroia is the type of ball player we tell our kids to model themselves after. Jon Lester will be the next player on the Red Sox roster to sign a $100 million contract with the team.
But Ortiz is the face of the 2013 World Series Cup Champion Boston Red Sox and the face of this franchise as it moves into title defense mode and beyond.
And there he is smiling with Alex Rodriguez.
The photo demonstrates the marked contrast between where A-Rod and his Yankees sit and Ortiz and the Red Sox stand these days. Ortiz is on top of the baseball world, giving the sport some desperately needed personality and a can't-miss outside of St. Louis "feel-good" story.
For Yankees haters, Alex Rodriguez is the preferred face of that franchise. He is both the poster boy for bad contracts and of the steroid era, eclipsing himself in the first category and Barry Bonds in the later.
What's next after this? Dogs and cats sleeping together? Bill Belichick embracing Roger Goodell? Matt Cooke running for mayor in Boston?
It's great PR for A-Rod to be seen at David Ortiz's charity even and get Big Papi's blessing on Ortiz's Twitter feed with its 566,000-plus followers.
Ortiz's Tweet won't have any sway on mediator Fredric Horowitz, who is determining A-Rod's fate and the validity of his 211-game suspension. But A-Rod needs all the PR he can get. Speaking from Ortiz's tournament, he told reporters in Spanish that he feels "confident" about being able to play in 2014.
Ortiz and A-Rod are close friends. Ortiz was the lone member of the Red Sox to publicly voice displeasure over the fact that Ryan Dempster took four pitches to plunk A-Rod back on Aug. 18. The "Curse of the Dempstino" never materialized but Ortiz made it clearer than ever that his friendship with A-Rod was solid.
Twitter might have exploded in English and Spanish had Ortiz been caught mugging for the cameras with A-Rod after the collapse of 2011 or whatever happened to the Red Sox in 2012.
In this post Improbable Dream era, there was more mockery and derision coming from New England than anger and disdain when Jacoby Ellsbury jumped ship to the Yankees for $153 million. The Yankees rekindled their rivalry with the Red Sox just in time to lose Robinson Cano to the Mariners.
Hanging with A-Rod at his charity golf classic will do absolutely nothing to lessen Ortiz's image or damage his popularity in Boston. If anything, it will raise his polling numbers and demonstrate that he's able to separate a rivalry on the field with a personal friendship off it.
Just another reason to love Big Papi.
This Tweet was just another example of Ortiz throwing his buddy a solid. Hey, if Big Papi, he of the the great speeches, clutch home runs and .688 World Series Cup batting average is willing to stand with A-Rod, why can't the rest of baseball?
But Papi needs to be careful. Helping A-Rod can be hazardous to one's career.
His original 10 year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers resulted in three-straight last-place finishes and the team landing in bankruptcy with A-Rod as their biggest creditor. The Yankees signed A-Rod to another 10-year, $275 million extension only to have him thank the team by admitting that he used steroids in the past.
Monday, New York radio mouthpiece Mike Francesa, said he was leaving the YES Network after 12 years and that his infamous interview with A-Rod on Nov. 20 may be part of the reason why. That interview came after A-Rod stormed out of a hearing suspension appeal. In it, he ripped Major League Baseball, Commissioner Bud Selig and the Yankees, owners of YES. Eck can get away with ripping the Red Sox middle relievers on NESN when necessary, but you're not going to survive on State Run Media when you're critical of the State, especially when you're not in the Hall of Fame.
When the "Spygate Truthers" get around to talking about baseball, they can't wait to remind anyone that Ortiz's name came up among those who tested positive in the league's pilot program back in 2003. [Of course, none of the drugs in that program had been banned as of yet.] There's been zero provable evidence presented that Ortiz has tested positive for anything since except large servings of protein and carbs, and locker room champagne after beating the Yankees, Cardinals, Indians, Rockies, Tigers and Cardinals again. A-Rod's name was all over the Biogensis case and he's admitted to using PEDs in his past and lying about it.
A-Rod looks cleaner just standing next to Ortiz.
Maybe Ortiz sees the big picture here. If A-Rod's suspension is curtailed and/or when he's allowed to play, he'll be more injury prone than ever thanks to the fact he won't be able to take all those "supplements" that don't pass MLB's smell test. He'll certainly be tested as often as possible as allowed by the collective bargaining agreement. Something that Ortiz is all too familiar with.
Ortiz might never say it in public, but Red Sox are better off with A-Rod in the Yankees' lineup. A-Rod turns 39 in July and played in just 44 games last season while recovering from hip surgery. He hit just .244 and is nearly immobile on the base paths. He's also locked into a legal battle with the Yankees and their doctors over his initial injury diagnosis. Not only would Rodriguez be a $25 million drag on the Yankees payroll, he'll be a drag in their clubhouse and on the field.
Either way, Ortiz looks like a winner.
These days, that's no surprise.
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