Alex Rodriguez caused a stir last weekend after calling for MLB players to accept the owners’ offer of a 50-50 split in revenues for games played in empty ballparks.
And ESPN Radio host Dan Le Batard says players have every right to be angry at A-Rod, the retired ex-Yankee who raked in roughly $450 million during his 22-year, PED-tainted career.
“I’d be really mad at A-Rod,” Le Batard said this week on his radio show. “You made a whole lot of money not playing the game clean, and then at the end what you’re trying to do, while failing to buy the Mets with J-Lo, is you’re talking like ownership instead of labor.”
Le Batard, 51, believes he has a better understanding of the 14-time All-Star’s mindset considering how long he’s known Rodriguez. Le Batard started his career at the Miami Herald and Rodriguez was a star athlete from the area. Now they both work at ESPN with Rodriguez an analyst for “Sunday Night Baseball.”
“The reason it wasn’t surprising to me is — and I’ve known A-Rod since high school — I’ve never met an athlete of his kind of excellence who was more of a zealot about wanting to be liked, who craved being liked,” he said. “The irony of that is that most people found him to be insincere or some sort of antiseptic polished version of what you want your athletes to be, always trying to be something that you liked instead of whatever the authentic thing was inside of there. And it is so much easier to get the applause of people — fans — with that sentiment, even if it means alienating your peers. Even if it means alienating the union that got you all that money because it’s so strong and there’s no salary cap in your sport.”
After coming to an agreement with the players’ union in March on contract being honored in full, MLB owners proposed the new plan for revenue split last Monday. The disagreement stems from whether the March deal included games with no fans.
“He was willing to discard whatever it is that the players might feel about him advocating for a pay cut, after having made all of his money,” Le Batard said of Rodriguez. “And so I wasn’t surprised that that’s the route that he went, but I can imagine players being all kinds of furious hearing him.”
Rodriguez, 44, offered up his two cents on Twitter this past Friday.
“If there’s $100 in the pie, like the NBA, players take $50, owners take $50,” the 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner said. “And we give it to the fans. We thank the fans of baseball. It is the people’s comfort food and people are starving, I just don’t want to see this great game — people fighting, billionaires fighting with millionaires. This is actually when the owners and players are aligned, and we want the same thing. We want to save baseball. We want to play baseball.”
Le Batard wasn’t at all impressed with A-Rod’s stance on the matter and continued to rip him.
“What he did,” he said, “was cupping a hand to his ear, and just waiting for the applause to roll in on social media because he decided to say: ‘Hey players, let’s go. We’ve made enough money. Get out there. America needs you.’”