Baseball journalist Lindsey Prather weighs in on Alex Rodriguez’s inflammatory comments toward Washington D.C. as a sports city.
Potential baseball Hall-of-Famer Alex Rodriguez drew the ire of sports fans in Washington D.C. following derogatory comments prompted by the departure of Bryce Harper from the Washington Nationals to join the Philadelphia Phillies.
Harper signed a 13-year, $330-million deal with Philadelphia back in February, something that was rather unsurprising considering the factors that could alter the trajectory of Harper’s career. Aside from the glaringly obvious question of salary, Harper allegedly took into account determinants such as the roster that would be surrounding him. Harper sought to join a successful team that he could reasonably contribute to. However, according to recent comments by Alex Rodriguez, the overall atmosphere and dedication of the cities to their respective teams were major sticking points.
“Now D.C.’s about 130 miles down the road, but let’s make it clear, it’s a world of difference between markets,” Rodriguez said “If you’re over there, you’re thinking about politics and what happens in the White House. If you’re here [in Philadelphia], this is a sports town and they love their Phillies.”
The home of the Washington Redskins, Nationals and Capitals didn’t take too kindly to these remarks, with most responding with comparisons between Philadelphia sports’ attendance in line with Washington, which is about even by most metrics.
Defending Philadelphia, arguably the most notoriously rambunctious sport city in the country, is an odd move for Rodriguez, especially considering the records of various sports teams in the two cities in the last few years and beyond.
The two cities are relatively close in successes across various franchises; the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII in 2017 for the first time in franchise history, and the Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup the following year. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers hold two Stanley Cups, and the Washington Redskins have a career record in the NFL comparable to the Eagles. Although it should be noted that Washington has two more Super Bowl wins to consider.
The comments made by Alex Rodriguez reflect the type of banter that is commonplace among sports analysts. A career in sports casting is typically prefaced by a career in sports; after all, tangible playing experience is invaluable. However, A Rod’s argument is more opinionated than objective and can be boiled down to personal experiences throughout his career. Rodriguez has faced the Phillies in a World Series, seen the passion in Philadelphia and also witnessed the responses to their franchise successes. Nonetheless, the reality in these comments is relatively negligible. Comparing the two cities leads to an approximately even split, and one that hardly supports these comments.
Although the one-off comments by Rodriguez are inconsequential, it’s unsurprising that they have received backlash. The relationship between fans and their cities is strong, and it’s understandable that this slight against Washington D.C. was taken seriously by fans. Regardless, the reputations of the two cities are secure in the legacies of both their sports franchises and their fans, independent from the opinions of others.