I won’t deny that the heavy majority of sportswriters, myself included, have been and still are guilty of puffing up the people they write about. I remember one time when Stanley Woodward, my beloved leader, was on the point of sending me a wire during spring training, saying, “Will you stop Godding up those ball players?” I didn’t realize what I had been doing. I thought I had been writing pleasant little spring training columns about ball players.
If we’ve made heroes out of them, and we have, then we must also lay a whole set of false values at the doorsteps of historians and biographers. Not only has the athlete been blown up larger than life, but so have the politicians and celebrities in all fields, including rock singers and movie stars.
When you go through Westminster Abbey you’ll find that excepting for that little Poets’ Corner almost all of the statues and memorials are to killers. To generals and admirals who won battles, whose specialty was human slaughter. I don’t think they’re such glorious heroes.
I’ve tried not to exaggerate the glory of athletes. I’d rather, if I could, preserve a sense of proportion, to write about them as excellent ball players, first-rate players. But I’m sure I have contributed to false values—as Stanley Woodward said, “Godding up those ball players.”
That said, the back cover of today’s New York Post screams: “HERE COMES A-GOD! Alex returns tonight to save inept Yanks.”
Inside, George King writes:
The pressure is on Rodriguez to provide a boost to the Dead Bat Society that has averaged 2.8 runs per game across the last 10, is batting .233 (77-for-330) overall and .154 (10-for-65) with runners in scoring position during that stretch.
He gets paid the most money. He is the best player in the game. He is the reigning AL MVP. He can’t be just another piece.
Rodriguez needs to flex those bulging muscles and put his mates on his broad shoulders.
No matter what everybody else in the Yankees’ universe believes, Rodriguez has to inject a jolt into the lineup.
I can’t tell if Rodriguez is being hyped or knocked here but this is what comes with being the highest-paid player in the game, a three-time MVP. All I could think of when I read this was: Build them up, tear them down, build them up, tear them down.