Eugene Cho

confessions with alex rodriguez

sidebox-alex-rodriguez

Like many others, I am not the biggest fan of Alex Rodriguez but he is an amazing talent.  I once was a fan when he was played shortstop for the Seattle Mariners ages ago.  Those were the days with A-Rod, Griffey, Buhner, and Edgar Martinez forming one of the more exciting lineups in baseball.  But once he took the money to Texas and then to the NY Yankees, it was easy to dislike him – even if I don’t blame him at all for taking the money.  But seriously, who wouldn’t?  But I’m a little tired of folks that say, “It’s not about the money…and then go after the most money.”

I’d rather folks just be honest and say, “I’m looking for the most money…” 

But as if A-Rod needed more reasons for people to boo him out of stadiums, reports leaked out that he tested positive for banned substances in 2003.  Yesterday, he gave an exclusive interview w/ ESPN and confessed to using steroids over three seasons between 2001-2003 and profusely apologized for his stupidity, immaturity, and naivete.  It doesn’t erase the facts that he cheated but it certainly matters that he came out and apologized to players, fans, and the larger world.

Why is that important?  

Because I think people want to forgive.  At the core, we are fans of redemption.  We love the redemptive stories – even the likes of Alex Rodriguez.  For those who are baseball fans, you’ll know why players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will never again be in the grace of the masses.  Even when given the chance to come clean, confess, apologize, and repent…they chose not to.  Repeatedly.

What do you think about the Alex Rodriguez story?  

I’m not necessarily short but have always wished I was taller in hopes of being a professional athlete.  I have had numerous conversations with Jesus about my physical stature [5’7″] and my desire to play professional sports.  To be perfectly honest, being a pastor is not my “dream job.”  I feel called to be a pastor and find deep joy in my “calling.” My dream job:  playing shortstop in Major League Baseball.  I’d be happy with 3rd base but know I’d be relegated to 2nd base because of my mediocre arm.  Since Jesus has ignored my pleas for a miracle, I’m left to play fantasy sports.  Sad.  Very sad.

Back to A-Rod:  Prior to the admission of cheating, he would have easily cracked my list of Top 5 players of All-Time and who knows where he’d end up on the list of the greatest players.

Here’s my top 5 players of all time:

  • 5.  Ted Williams [best pure hitter]
  • 4.  Hank Aaron [most underrated player?]
  • 3.  Babe Ruth [what if he pitched full time as well?]
  • 2.  Barry Bonds * [what can you say]
  • 1.  Willie Mays [best all around player]   

I know.  Bonds is no longer my #2.  I just don’t know what to do with him but he simply can’t be placed on my Top 5 anymore.

I’m biased towards Mays because of his SF connection but his stats are awe inspiring – like the others in the top 5.  The guy was in the All Star Game 24 times.  Had incredible power as testified by his 660 homers.  He would have hit more had it not been for a 1.5 year stint to the Army.  He would have at least, in my opinion, broken Babe Ruth’s record.  Career numbers are stunning:  .302 average, 3,283 hits, 660 homers, 2,062 runs, 1,903 RBIs, 12 Gold Gloves, and 338 SBs.   

After watching A-Rod’s interview, I was thinking to myself how much more incredible Hank Aaron’s career and home runs seem now.  755 homeruns.  Each and every one of them clean and pure.  Amazing.

Who’s in your Top 5?

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19 Responses

  1. franksabunch says:

    I am sure you saw the ?2007? interview where A-Roids denies ever using performance enhancing drugs. As much as I wish that he was apologizing because it is the right thing to do, I think he only came out and admitted and apologized on ESPN because he was caught. I’m sure his advisors and legal counsel reminded him of what happened to those who didn’t utter, “mea culpa!” after being caught or accused (Clemens, Palmeiro, McGwire, Bonds), and those who did (Petite, Giambi). So the only tears I have for A-Roids are crocodile in nature.

    Are we the same? It takes a big man to apologize, but it takes an even bigger man to apologize for something no one knows you did. How many of us only do the former and not the latter? *Raises hand in guilt*

    The only baseball player in my top 5 is Sid Fernandez…a pudgy player from Hawaii who won that world series for the Mets (well, the Mets also got a little help from the BoSoz 1st baseman).

  2. franksabunch says:

    Oh my. I spelled that Yankee pitcher’s last name wrong. Haha!

  3. gar says:

    Poor A-Rod isn’t just PAY-Rod now… folks are now calling A-ROID or A-Fraud. It’s pretty disappointing to hear he cheated, but maybe it’s a reminder to everybody how pervasive it really is…

  4. Tyler says:

    kirby puckett!!!🙂 jk

  5. kent says:

    You have to go a long way to find someone as classy as Greg Maddox. He is also too skinny to have been using. Ken Griffey junior as well. Hurt too often to have been a user.

  6. Capt Ralph says:

    My top 5 would include Ichiro. In a way he is like Jackie Robinson in breaking a “cultural” barrier while achieving incredible numbers. I trust that roids do not surface. It will be interesting to see (eventually) the list of “103”. Will it turn out the playing field was level, after all?

  7. Matt says:

    it’s hard to make a top 5 for all of baseball, because the games/numbers were so different for each of the baseball eras.

    but in spite of that, if I have to give a top 5…
    hitters:
    Ty Cobb
    Babe Ruth
    Lou Gehrig
    Willie Mays (his glove moves him up)
    Cal Ripkin (i have to add someone local)

    Pitchers:
    Tom Seaver (go mets!)
    Nolan Ryan
    Greg Maddux (as much as i hated him on the braves)
    Cy Young (it’s gotta count for something to have an award named after you)
    Sandy Koufax

    too many people are left off these lists…

  8. HC says:

    Top 5 Hitters:

    1. Willie Mays
    2. Babe Ruth
    3. Lou Gehrig
    4. Ty Cobb
    5. Hank Aaron

    Top 5 Pitchers:
    I would have had Clemens at 1 before the steroids.
    1. Walter Johnson
    2. Sandy Koufax
    3. Christy Matthewson
    4. Cy Young
    5. Bob Gibson
    2.

  9. Matt K says:

    Its so hard to even come up with an objective standard for all-time career hitters, defence, pitchers… even single season records are subjective. Here’s my best stab at objectivity…

    Career Hitters:
    Ruth
    Ted Williams
    Barry Bonds
    Lou Gherig
    Mickey Mantle

    Yet that list probably favors power hitters, when those who hit for high average and are good baserunners (e.g. Ichiro, Ricky Henderson) might end up providing as much offensive contribution for a team, but its harder to measure statistically. So put an asterix on the list.

    Pitching is even more subjective; you’ve got a smaller sample size b/c they aren’t every day players–and defense and ball parks make the metrics even more convoluted. Still, my own make shift list would have to include…

    Roger Clemens
    Gaylord Perry
    Randy Johnson
    Nolan Ryan
    Pedro Martinez

    But my own PERSONAL greatest ballplayers would probably look different, because some accounting has to be made for defense, fairplay (no drugs), character, heart, and account for the subjectivities of ballparks, teammates, and competition. A-Rod was not a personal favorite, but he really would have been a top-5 all timer if it weren’t for the cheating.

  10. bluelikeelvis says:

    5. Rickey Henderson
    4. Pete Rose
    3. Ted Williams
    2. Mickey Mantle
    1. Willie Mays

    Henderson’s numbers are simply amazing across numerous categories. He needs to be considered.

  11. eugenecho says:

    @capt ralph: ichiro is a certain HOF for me on the first ballot but not even in my top 25.

    but i can certainly make a case for rickey henderson in the Top 10. him and his quotes.

  12. djterasaki says:

    Interesting documentary on performance enhancing drugs: “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” http://www.biggerstrongerfastermovie.com/

    Brings up a lot of questions about why we view ‘roids the way we do. I don’t think athletes/soldiers/musicians should use steroids, but then again it seems a little arbitrary where we draw the line between fair play and cheating

  13. chad m says:

    my problem with A-Rod and “confessions” of these sorts – is it confession if you wait until you get caught? is that what repentance is about? i’ll confess and ask for forgiveness if i get caught, but otherwise i’ll do my thang?

    my top 5, no particular order:
    1) Pete Rose [love him or hate him, the dude could hit and played hard]
    2) Babe Ruth [what if? what if he pitched?]
    3) Ted Williams [no one can seem to hit .400]
    4) Lou Gehrig [no one can touch his record; no one ever will]
    5) Willie Mays [the glove, the hitting, the speed – a true 5 tool player]

    what do you notice? no pitchers. if you only play every 4 or 5 days, you aren’t a real ball-player.

  14. Ben C says:

    baseball is boring

  15. Travis McKee says:

    So, I am a rangers fan (for now). and it is because of seeing julio franco and Ivan Rodriguez come up through the Tulsa Drillers. And I was just getting in to baseball when Nolan Ryan was in his prime.

    But this, and Jose Canseco (whom i never liked), and Raphael Palmero and the description of the Ranger’s environment, I am starting to think i need to change teams. My nostalgia may be over with A-rod using only to cope with the pressure of the Texas team.

    And after listening to NPR’s talk of the nation yesterday, a caller brought up a good point that these athletes are trying hard to keep their bodies in top shape. Why would the inject something they “didn’t know about” into them? I also learned that Babe Ruth would eat crushed sheep testicles to gain the testosterone.

    A lot to think about, but i don’t want congress thinking about it. I want them to get some more important stuff done. here ends my rant.

  16. JB says:

    AR is using my 4-year old’s strategy:

    Step 1: Absolute denial. (I did not write on the dining room table in pen! I did not! For real Mom. )
    Step 2: When confronted with hard evidence, admit it as a long-ago transgression. (It’s my friend’s name, in my handwriting…”Ok, I did do it, but when I was much younger! My handwriting is better than that now! I was only 2 when I did that!”)

    So my child is as sophisticated as A-Rod, and she’s not paying a PR firm for advice. Hmmm, better go see what she’s up to right now.

  17. eugenecho says:

    @JB: nice.

    but there is one big difference. he makes 27.5 million dollars a year and your daughter doesn’t.

    but i like your daughter much more.

  18. Joe says:

    it seems to be all about competition, winning at all costs, so it’s hard to blame players that shoot up;

    is their job to be sports stars or is it to “play the game?”

  19. I am a Mariners fan from Argentina. Very nice Mariners information.
    I am a big fan of Ichiro Suzuki and am disappointed that JJ Putz was traded.
    I hope to be in Seattle for a game this summer.

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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