See, when I was growing up, I was raised on Joe Rudi. When I was in college, I had season-ticket packages to see Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley. And as a professional, well, you don’t get much better than to be around a guy like Miguel Tejada.
I’ve gone on a lot in other blogs about my lifelong ties to the A’s. You lose those when you become a beat writer, because it’s just a natural by-product of the gig. I knew that going in. But what was new to me was that you’re drawn to players for different reasons than by what they do on the field. Tejada, to put it simply, was one of those guys in the industry who you’d want to introduce to your family (in all the years of doing this; I’ve met about a dozen, but Shooty Babbitt, Mark Ellis and Kirk Rueter head the list). Closest thing to Pete Rose I’ve ever seen in terms of playing hard every single second and loving the game so much.
You know what? I’m more proud today of my affinity for Tejada than I’ve ever been. Watch the video. THAT’S how you apologize for something
(And as for Buster Olney’s point — and I love Buster Olney’s blog — two points of my own: 1. Do we really need to hear what the players have to say anymore? Can’t we just assume most of them, if not all, were doing something? 2. Let’s be careful before we start accusing people of what they’re doing behind closed doors? I mean, maybe Miggy did throw away the steroids he bought. Granted, not very plausible, difficult to believe and only a fool probably does; but we can’t write as fact that it didn’t happen).
More important to me is that he was contrite. He seems to know his actions were wrong. If he could go back and do it differently, it seems he would. I did not come away from the A-Roid interview feeling the same way. And once upon a time, I loved Alex Rodriguez, too.
In 2001, the last A’s season before I joined the beat, I bought a Tejada jersey, just to add to my collection (and I don’t collect much anymore; another by-product of the job). I have that to go with ones of Dennis Eckersley and Dave Stewart (I gave the Mark McGwire one to charity). I’m very glad I have it.