Jim, old buddy, you'll always have a place in my heart for what you did on a baseball field. And I give you a lot of respect for speaking your mind, but sometimes -- no, all the time -- you have to think before you speak.
As the story continues to inflame itself, Rice told a bunch of Little Leaguers that ballplayers of his day were better rolemodels than your highest paid sluggers of today:
"You see a Manny Ramirez, you see an A-Rod, you see [Derek] Jeter … Guys that I played against and with, these guys you’re talking about cannot compare."
Now, according to Yahoo's Gordon Edes, Rice said he was misquoted:
For his part, Rice is flabbergasted at the outcry, saying he was unaware of the fuss he’d caused until reached by Yahoo! Sports while waiting for a flight in Philadelphia on Friday night. His words could not have been more miscast, he said. The rivalry was to blame.
Mr. Jeter himself was also a little peeved when he heard what Rice said, according to Edes. I can just imagine what Jeter was thinking:
"Wait. What? I'm not a steroid user. I'm not in the bathroom jamming needles in my butt like Alex. Why the hell do I get lumped im with Mr. 'Roid Rage over here?"
I'm in the school of thinking that, for the most part, what Rice said was fine. I think he went a little far going on naming names and mentioning the "baggy clothes and dreadlocks," but if he message was just, 'Hey, I played with great, model characters,' then cool. Makes sense coming from a guy who played in the 70s and 80s, right? But really taking shot at guys like Manny and A-Rod -- as just as they might be -- seems low. And lumping Jeter, who has never been linked to steroids (but I don't think anyone is not guilty until proven), is a step too far.
As far as misquoting is concerned ... really? I think it's pretty clear and dry.
Let's just hope this doesn't kill the public perception of Rice even more. He said some stupid stuff, the media is blowing it up and it'll probably hurt him in the end. But, as he said, he was a model ballplayer...