Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mixed Reactions on A-Rod's Suspension

By Jasmine White (Birmingham, Alabama)

It’s Saturday night, and Arm and Hammer Park is buzzing with the anticipation of seeing Alex Rodriguez—who, the crowd will learn halfway through the evening, is going to be suspended for 214 games.

It’s clear that regulars of the Trenton Thunder’s stadium aren’t used to this kind of crowd. Alex, a seventeen-year-old worker at one of the ice cream stands, says that this is the busiest he’s seen the place all year.

Tonight’s crowd is also different in their attitude. Instead of the cheerful persona often associated with the American pasttime of baseball, there is a considerable amount of cynicism and negativity in the stands—and the loud jeers roaring through the stadium every time number thirteen steps to the plate only accentuate this feeling.

Pradeep, who is a Philadelphia Phillies fan, is disappointed when I tell him that Rodriguez will only be suspended for 214 games for his alleged performance-enhancing drug use. “I was hoping they would ban him for life,” he says, shaking his head. When prodded on why he feels this way, he voices his concern over the message it might be sending to kids.

John, a Yankees fan who has come to the game with his son, declares Rodriguez “guilty as hell.” However, be doesn’t feel the need to completely bash him. “Lots of people in the industry do [performance enhancing drugs], but there’s not really an even distribution of punishment,” he says.

When I ask Duke, an avid Yankees supporter, for his take on the scandal, he says he feels that Rodriguez has been made into a scapegoat. He also mentions that PED use occurs frequently in Major League Baseball and that A-Rod, because of his prominence, is paying the price for something that is widespread. When I ask him if he is a fan of Rodriguez, he states, “I’m a bigger fan of justice.”

Of everyone I speak to, David is the most balanced in his views. When I tell him about the suspension midway through the game, he says he feels that the 214 games are “reasonable.” But when I ask him if he thinks that the pressures of money and celebrity motivated A-Rod to take PEDs, he shrugs and says he can’t really know why he did it.

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