Here in my little corner, I've established an annual honor known as the Baseball Person of the Year. It's given not necessarily to someone who accomplished great things, but rather the person who best reminds us how much further we have to go as a civilization and a species.
Given that criteria, 2009 proved a slam dunk. Congratulations, Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod kicked off spring training as the easiest of targets, copping to past usage of illegal performance-enhancing drugs after a Sports Illustrated report outed him. But by the end of the World Series, he had us backing off finger-wagging moralism, and re-thinking the game's entire "Steroids Era."
The hating, after a while, seemed silly. After all, A-Rod was one of many to indulge in such illegal activity, and at least he admitted to it. Selena Roberts' book on A-Rod featured more unsubstantiated whispers than hard facts.
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The notion that the Yankees would be better off without him? Ludicrous, as the team displayed with a shaky first month after A-Rod missed time with a hip injury.
No, ultimately, all of the negativity around A-Rod dissipated with some quiet behavior and loud hits. And if that's all it took to appease the masses, then the masses were probably ill-guided in the first place.