It's no fun when the world forces you to be a better person than you want to be.
I mean, Jesus. Even with the bottled tears still freshly spritzed on A-Rod's face, this is really something. Robbie Alomar might have AIDS? And possibly have been insanely negligent about it?
My first reaction was shock. Then I reflexively tried for Schadenfreude, but barely even got through the first syllable before realizing that wasn't appropriate. To invert the title of our reaction post about A-Rod, It Wasn't Funny Even Though It Was Happening to Him.
I hate Roberto Alomar. Three years ago, inaugurating Met Hell, I assigned him to the Eighth Level, with only one Met receiving a harsher eternal sentence. (And honestly, that was kind of on a technicality.) According to Dante, the Eighth Circle of Hell was Malebolge, inhabited by hypocrites, thieves, false counselors, sowers of schism and falsifiers — all apt descriptions for Robbie Alomar, whose farcical tour of Met duty proved beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt that he was a malingerer, liar, and a bad teammate. The idea that he'll be inducted into Cooperstown disgusts me — now and then I've fantasized about making the trip up there and picking the perfect moment to be a lone voice booing vociferously while everyone turns around in shock and disgust. As I was led out I'd scream about the game where Alomar blamed everything on rookie pitcher Jae Seo, and how he wouldn't stop freaking bunting, and how he quit even bothering to try and turn the pivot, and how Gary Cohen was right to call him a disgrace, and how….
But now I'm imagining it's July 2003 and I'm facing God, who in this particular imagining has assumed the form of a particularly dour and fearsome schoolmarm. And our conversation goes something like this….
“Sit down, Jason. You hate Roberto Alomar, right?”
“Do I ever! I'm so glad we finally traded that worthless sack of quit! Why, remember the game where he blamed everything on –”
“That will do. So it's true that you hate him.”
“In spades! Why, did something happen to him? Oh boy! I hope it's something bad!”
“It is. Sit down.”
“Ummm … OK.”
“Jason, do you hate Roberto Alomar enough to want him to develop severe fatigue, sores on his mouth and throat, a constant cough and an infection of the esophagus that is associated with AIDS?”
“Do you hate him enough to want him to have purple skin, foam at the mouth, be too sick to walk and need a wheelchair to get around at the airport?”
At this point, I imagine I'd be looking down at my shoes and speaking in a rather small voice.
“Umm … no.”
“I DIDN'T HEAR YOU!”
“I … umm … well, of course … what …”
“LOUDER! STOP MUMBLING AND LOOK AT ME!”
“NO! I don't hate Roberto Alomar enough that I want him to develop severe fatigue, or turn purple, or … or all that other stuff you said. I don't think I hate anybody who isn't an actual murderer or war criminal or terrorist that much. Because I'm not insane, OK? I mean, there's sports hate, and I really do sports-hate Roberto Alomar a lot, but I don't hate him for real. Well, actually I probably do hate him for real, but not that much. No, nowhere near that much. Not really very much at all in any way that actually matters, and –”
“That's enough. You were doing better before. OK, read this Associated Press story. And then look me in the eye, and tell me what you'd tell him.”
“Umm … do I have to?”
“Yes, you do! You've said hateful things about Robbie Alomar for years and written hateful things about Robbie Alomar for years, and now I want to hear what you'd tell him if he were here right now.”
“Umm, well … Robbie, I hope none of that is true. I hope you didn't really treat your girlfriend that way. And if you did, I hope you've had some pretty heavy counseling to ensure you don't treat any significant others that way anymore. I, um, hope you weren't raped by guys in New Mexico when you were 17. And if you were — that sucks, and I hope you got help with it somehow. Umm, I hope you're not really HIV-positive. And if you are, I hope you're dealing with it and you're healthy and you stay that way. And this isn't really the point, but … if it's true I hope maybe some people who were your fans but think they hate people with AIDS think about that now and realize they don't, so that at least some good comes of something so awful.”
“Is that it?”
“Yeah, I think so. Um, was that OK?”
“It will do. I think you actually meant that, Jason.”
“You know what? I think I did, too.”
“OK then. You can go.”
“OK. Thanks. But … umm, can I ask you something?”
“What is it?”
“Is there anything wrong with Luis Castillo?”
“I mean besides being fat and bad?”
“Why are you asking me that?”
“Well, because I have to have some outlet for being low and vile, and if you're taking Robbie Alomar away from me, I'd hope you'd at least leave me that, because –”
“JASON! GET OUT!”