Though the event took place not two minutes ago upon typing these words, I feel obligated to write down why Red Sox fans took their hatred for Alex Rodriguez too far.
Ken Singleton of the YES Network brought to the attention of viewers that Boston Red Sox fans were screaming “Derek Cheater” during Alex Rodriguez’s first at-bat Friday night. The sheer disrespect of the Fenway faithful shocks me. Though I’ve rooted for the Yankees since birth (thanks to my grandfather), I’ve always considered Red Sox fans honorable. Despite the passionate and often anger-filled rivalry between Boston and New York, Red Sox fans are still some of the most passionate and knowledgeable fans in the game. That’s why they’ve garnered my respect, until this moment.
All fans, unless living under a rock (or in Miami with the Marlins), realize the immense drama that surrounds Alex Rodriguez. His disgrace of baseball is noted by media outlets throughout the country. If fans want to boo Alex for the crimes he’s committed, then so be it.
Indeed, Fenway fans were booing Rodriguez in his first at-bat Friday. There was no denying the crowd’s distaste for #13. (Though I will admit, Rodriguez was signing an autograph for a young man prior to the game. This young man wore a Yankees jersey and obviously adored A-Rod. Rodriguez, despite his many faults, put a smile on the boy’s face and that should be noted. So, while he sold his soul for steroids, he may still have a human heart.)
After the first few pitches of the at-bat, former-MLB-All-Star-turned-broadcaster Ken Singleton began to realize the chanting of the Fenway faithful. Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay thought the Red Sox fans were “rubbing salt in the wound” by chanting Derek Jeter during Rodriguez’s at-bat. However,as Singleton noted, Red Sox fans were chanting “Derek Cheater,” not “Derek Jeter.”
I am appalled. There is no other way to put it. Derek Jeter is the face of baseball, not just the Yankees, but baseball itself. There is no player I can think of, except maybe Mariano Rivera, who has earned more respect and admiration than Derek Jeter. Since 1995, Jeter has played baseball the right way. His integrity and intensity to win is unmatched by any other athlete. Why would Red Sox fans insist on chanting “Derek Cheater” during Alex’s at-bat?
It shows me two things. First, the fans at Fenway Park are cowards. Jeter is injured and not even attending the Yankees-Red Sox series and he gets the stink of steroids associated with his clean name? If Red Sox fans feel this way (and fans living in the steroid era certainly are entitled to feel so), then have the courage to yell it in Jeter’s next at-bat at Fenway; not when Rodriguez is hitting. Neither Jeter nor Rodriguez deserve that shame. The Fenway faithful should be ashamed of their actions and realize how the honor of baseball truly works.
The second thing this shows is how much of a disease Alex Rodriguez and the steroid era truly is. If Red Sox fans accused Derek Jeter of cheating during an A-Rod at bat, then imagine what will happen if Alex Rodriguez is allowed to stay in baseball. I’m not concerned if people think I’m overreacting. Derek Jeter did not deserve the disgrace Fenway Park unleashed on Friday. Red Sox fans must truly be cowards; to accuse a man wrongdoing behind his back and to shame a man even further in the shadows is cowardly.
They both deserved better on Friday night at Fenway.