Unlike Camp A-Roid, all's quiet on the Red Sox front; more notes
Boston folks seem pleased not to be in the middle of the firestorm
Does a calm spring really correlate into October success, though?
Tejada could be suspended for pleading guilty to lying to Congress about steroids
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Down here, about 120 miles south of Camp A-Roid, where the archrival Red Sox train, tranquility rules. Everything is neat and orderly. Boredom reigns. Or is it just better?
"There are very few distractions down here. It makes for a very nice calm spring," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, whose team nearly acquired Alex Rodriguez in the winter of 2003-04, a few weeks before the Yankees did.
The Red Sox have their calm now, the Yankees have their calamity.
Boston has won two titles since Rodriguez became a Yankee. The Yankees have had a lot of drama and one surreal steroid press conference.
Yet some Boston people believe Rodriguez would have worked out fine with them if hed had signed with the Red Sox in 2004. They believe A-Rod wouldn't have been allowed to strut around like he owned that clubhouse, where Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millar and other big personalities filled that room on that special team and could have tempered Rodriguez's outsized personality and ego.
In any case, Boston folks seem pleased not to be in the middle of the firestorm. They love their new calm. Even closer Jonathan Papelbon is glad to have all that action two-plus hours up I-75. "I'm an action junkie, not a drama junkie," Papelbon said.
It's nice to be unnoticed, or as unnoticed as the team at the center of the famed Nation can be, but, Epstein noted, "I don't want to make too big a deal out of that. I don't think a calm spring necessarily correlates to October success."
Actually, they've had it both ways before their two championship years. The spring before their 2004 championship was a circus. Manny Ramirez was stomping around that spring after being placed on waivers the preceding winter, when Boston was trying to land A-Rod. Adding to the overall angst, Martinez, Derek Lowe, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek were all in their walk year.
The spring of 2007, in contrast, was almost as placid as this one, the chief difference being the scores of Japanese media who came to record every movement of that international sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka.
This spring is the calmest of all.
There's no A-Rod, no Pedro, no Manny and no Curt Schilling. This Red Sox team doesn't even include any mega free agents (those are all 120 miles up I-75, as well). Rather, it has a host of talented reclamation imports, like John Smoltz (who's 40, but looking great coming off his shoulder injury), Brad Penny, Takashi Saito, Brad Wilkerson and Rocco Baldelli.
For good or bad, the craziness isn't here anymore.
A-Rod in clear; Tejada, not so fast
Alex Rodriguez will not be suspended for his failed steroid test or his admissions since, just as none of the Mitchell boys earned steroid suspensions.
However, Major League Baseball might take a look at Miguel Tejada's situation. Tejada could be at risk for suspension, not for being implicated with steroids but for pleading guilty to lying to Congress about steroids.
While Tejada's crime was a misdemeanor that allowed him to avoid any jail time or immigration issues, that doesn't mean he's free and clear as far as baseball is concerned.
More A-Rod thoughts
Not that Rodriguez doesn't deserve all the criticism and scorn that's been directed his way, but it just shows how much extra pressure he's under. Star second baseman Brian Roberts, who like Tejada is a Mitchell alum, reportedly is about to receive a four-year contract extension from the Orioles without one discouraging word mentioned anywhere.
For all these players who are speaking out now against steroids, it's just too little, too late (though the media is in the same late boat, admittedly). All the sluggers who go on about how clean they are -- next time bring a polygraph machine and polygraph administrator, and get back to me.
Yuri Sucart, revealed as Rodriguez's "cousin" by ESPN Deportes, was a constant companion of A-Rod's who is described as a "nice guy" by those who know him, as well as someone eager to please A-Rod. As Rodriguez said at the steroid press conference, he's the one who gave the order, and his cousin merely followed said order.
It's lovely that many Yankees showed up at his press conference to support Rodriguez, but frankly, many of them looked bored. Either bored or exasperated.