After it became official this week that Nellie Cruz had disgraced himself and his team, he broke down in tears and asked for forgiveness.
Do you buy that cry?
Can you honor the forgiveness request?
Based on personal emails and response on the ESPN radio show, I’d call it about a 50/50 split among local fandom on the cry buy and jailhouse conversion.
But we also know the truth.
Over the next two months, should the Rangers manage to ride pitching into the playoffs, and Cruz comes back for the start of the postseason (as he’s eligible to do after the 50-game suspension), his October welcome at the Arlington ballyard would involve thunderous approval.
Just win, bay-bee. And Nellie has certainly helped the Rangers win in past postseasons, even with the Game 6 outfield cloud that will always be included on his résumé.
Meanwhile, more than several readers have asked this: Why isn’t my Dell on fire with righteous indignation over a local ballplayer disgracing himself and disgracing his team by becoming a low-life PED-user?
Certainly much wrath over the years has come from this space concerning the likes of a Barry Bonds and a Roger Clemens, among others.
I could say the Hall of Fame vote is a separate issue, but, to be honest …
It’s personal with Nellie. Great guy. Great teammate. And a standup guy with the media at all times, including after that line drive wasn’t caught in Game 6.
If he were an A-hole, admittedly, it’d be different. But he’s the ultimate good guy.
And if you don’t think personality and personal observation color all of us in any walk of life, then you must not do a lot of walking.
Obviously, it’s also not just me.
Of interest this week has been a national media discussion over the reaction of Cruz’s teammates to his admission of guilt.
No outrage was heard from the clubhouse in Anaheim, where the Rangers were playing Monday when the suspensions went down.
There was nothing but love and support for Nellie.
His tears flowed when Nellie addressed the entire team with goodbyes and remorse.
It was, by all accounts, a clubhouse cry buy, 100 percent.
The media question that followed centered on clean players not being more publicly outraged at their teammate.
It’s clean players who are slowly but surely turning the tide on PED-use, because clean players are hammering on union leaders to join Bud Selig in fighting the fight.
David Murphy, a popular and well-spoken player, came on the radio show this week.
I asked him to explain the lack of outrage at Nellie, who not only hurt himself but hurt the Rangers.
“It’s not about us condoning what he did, and now he’s paying for what he did, and I’ve got no problem with [MLB] handing out this kind of suspension,” answered Murphy. “But personally, my love for Nellie is because he’s maybe my favorite teammate ever, and because I know him as a person, and he’s simply a great person.
“I can forgive him for those reasons. We all can. That doesn’t mean anyone condones it. But if you know the person like we know Nellie, forgiveness and support is the appropriate next step.”
It’s always about the personality. And about the kind of person involved. No surprise at all. That doesn’t necessarily make it right, that’s just the way it is.
No, an A-Rod doesn’t receive the Nellie kind of love and support in his clubhouse, but if I have to explain the difference, then you haven’t been paying attention.
Regardless, Nellie did wrong. Did the crime. Now he’s doing the time. This is all good. He took the fall. He deserved the punishment.
There is also now a debate over what Rangers management knew and when it knew it about Cruz making the decision to take the suspension instead of appealing the ruling, and with the appeal remaining in uniform maybe for the remainder of the season.
Look, being an ultimate team guy is one thing. But management is always going to do what management thinks is in its best interest. And the same goes for the player.
As a free agent after this season, it made no sense for Cruz to appeal the suspension, and possibly put off the 50-game suspension until the start of next season.
Why appeal, outside of staying in the lineup, when you know you are guilty and know you are going to have to take the fall either now or next season?
Nellie did what was right for him in his situation. That’s not a problem, and should not be a problem with any fan or Rangers management member.
Plus, 13 of the 14 players involved with the PED clinic in south Florida accepted the ban without appeal. The only holdout was A-Rod, who has nothing to lose because his ban extended through the 2014 season, meaning career-ending.
It’s obvious that MLB had the goods on all those players, and also held the whip-hand in negotiations.
Losing an appeal could have meant a player faced longer than the 50-game ban. MLB was cutting a deal here, and obviously had all the evidence on its side.
The clear-cut truth is Nellie disgraced himself and disgraced his team.
But I buy his cry.
It’s a personal thing. I really like Nellie. So, obviously, do his teammates.