Remember those old anti-drug commercials where you saw a guy holding an egg? He tells us, “This is your brain.”
Then he tells us the frying pan is drugs, starts to fry the egg and says: “This is your brain on drugs.”
Now, either that guy was on drugs and very confused, or he was speaking metaphorically to make a point about how drugs will fry your brain.
Assuming the latter, I think Alex Rodriguez is ready to star in the remake of that commercial.
A-Rod walks toward the camera, saying: “Hi, I’m Alex Rodriguez, and this is me on steroids.”
Video rolls of him playing in the postseason prior to this year. Text appears on the screen, and an announcer kicks in: “A-Rod had one RBI in 13 postseason games from 2005 to 2007.” Or: “A-Rod’s teams lost 7 of 10 series prior to 2009.”
Cut back to A-Rod still walking toward the camera. “And this is me not on steroids.”
This time the video shows A-Rod tearing it up in 2009. We’d see his two-run homer in Game 2 against the Twins and his winning double in Game 5 against Philly. The announcer tells us A-Rod is hitting .360 in this year’s playoffs. Return to A-Rod, who’s reached his mark for his extreme close-up: “See the difference?”
Regardless of how the World Series turns out, Rodriguez has taken a huge step toward erasing his postseason reputation — and we can assume, I think, that he’s doing it clean. Maybe steroids make you choke. Who knows? But Rodriguez, who had just seven homers in his first 39 playoff games, has suddenly learned how to handle the pressure.
Granted, Rodriguez had some good playoff series before. But he took a giant nose dive after going 6-for-14 in the first three games of the ill-fated 2004 ALCS against the Red Sox.
He appeared to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders in every at-bat. Maybe it was the burden of guilt. Maybe he’s just not “clutch.” Critics have said for years that his numbers are padded with meaningless homers and RBIs against weak foes.
Maybe it’s because he’s playing with a clean conscience. Maybe this is just an aberration, and he’ll disappear in next year’s ALDS. But A-Rod, who began this season with egg on his face, could be sending a very strong anti-steroid message.
– Bob Halloran is a sports anchor, reporter and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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