he•ro: a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal
vil•lain: a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency in the plot.
Baseball has its villain. Now, it just needs a hero.
Enter Albert Pujols…
What if Pujols were to step forward and admit to steroid use? Not just admit to doing it one time in ’93, when Jose Canseco snuck up behind him and poked him in the ass. But, what if he were to come out, right now, and admit that he’s been using them for a number of years to gain a distinct advantage and help further his career?
Call me crazy, but now would be the best time for that.
After Tuesday’s press conference, it was pretty obvious who the villain in baseball is these days. A-rod is unlikable to begin with–though I don’t really understand why–and he clearly didn’t help himself by pleading stupid the other day. For whatever reason, he’s the guy the baseball-loving world has chosen to take the pitchforks to, and that’s fine. But, what baseball needs right now, more than an angry, vigilante mob, is a hero.
Albert Pujols is the anti-A-Rod. He doesn’t play for a polarizing team. Doesn’t date supermodels. Stays out of the news. He’s won a championship. He seems polite and down to Earth and everything we’ve come to expect of a hero. Everything people don’t see in A-Rod.
Under normal circumstances, If he were to hold that press conference, telling the world exactly what he’s done, why he did it, how long, etc., etc., he’d be under the same scrutiny A-Rod is under today. But, coming out right now, at this very moment, is different. We already have our bad guy.
If Pujols were to hold a press conference, tomorrow, where he seemed genuinely contrite and apologetic, we’d shower him with praise. We’d forgive every misstep. He’d be the sympathetic figure this story needs, and it has nothing to do with him choosing to tell the truth.
We love tearing famous people down. It’s what we do as a society. But, we can only do one at a time, and right now is A-Rod’s turn. An admission by Pujols would allow us to look at A-Rod and say, “See! That’s what we wanted from you.” Even though we’d be ignoring the fact that he cheated in the exact same way.
The mindless yelling will finally stop, and we’d move on.
It’s hypocritical and patently stupid, but Albert Pujols would absolutely get a free pass just because he’s not A-Rod.
That’s the Pujols Loophole.
There’s so much hostility and animosity toward Rodriguez, that we’d instinctively see Pujols as courageously sympathetic. A hero who was 100% wrong, but came clean exactly the way we unrealistically wanted him to. Normally, it wouldn’t matter. Right now, it would, and it’s only because we currently have a villain to satisfy our insatiable need to condemn.
Albert Pujols can end this sanctimonious grandstanding.
The loophole has a timeframe, though. If he waits too long to come clean, and our collective anger with A-Rod subsides–sort of like it did with Barry Bonds–Pujols could wind up becoming America’s next bad guy, instead of the good guy we’ve been waiting for.
Who would be our hero, then?
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