NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you have a little baseball fanatic in your home you might be getting a lot of questions about Alex Rodriguez. But how do you explain the situation?
CBS 2’s Emily Smith spoke to some fans, coaches and a parenting expert on Monday, just hours after Major League Baseball suspended the Yankees third baseman an unprecedented 211 games for his role in the Biogenesis saga.
When you ask aspiring athletes who their favorite players are, the name often makes the short list.
“I used to be a very big fan of A-Rod,” one person told Smith.
WATCH: Remarks From A-Rod
Well, there seems to be a lot of that going around these days. And certainly Monday’s long-awaited announcement on his suspension isn’t going to help him keep many of his fans.
The three-time AL Most Valuable Player has been suspended through the entire 2014 season. While Rodriguez is expected to appeal and could very well end up playing the rest of this season before any decision is made by an arbitrator, many Yankees fans are not happy.
“He cheated me. He broke my heart, actually,” one fan said.
At Home Run Baseball Camp in Prospect Park, coach Brian Friedman told us A-Rod is all anyone is talking about — from the littlest players to the bigger ones.
“I say you’re entitled to feel however you want. I don’t really want to tell them how to feel. Because they have parents, I don’t want to give a conflicted message of what’s going on at home. And if I’m going to tell them you should hate A-Rod because he is on steroids, but then parents say A-Rod is a very good player and has worked hard his entire career,” Friedman said.
Parenting expert Erika Katz said adults should use this as a way to teach children how not to behave.
“Unfortunately, he fell into a trap that a lot of these athletes fall into, where they are afraid they aren’t good enough,” Katz said.
Katz also said it’s good to preemptively speak to your children about athletes in general.
“You can’t look at their personal lives and think that’s the way to behave, because, remember, they are human beings and they have a persona life. However, in this case A-Rod did something against baseball,” Katz said.
And for a mega Yankees fan like 11-year-old Cian Genaro that’s a letdown beyond belief.
“I always really did look up to him, so when I realized he was that good because of cheating it was a letdown, a huge one,” Genaro said.
But that won’t stop many young athletes from taking their shot at the big time — with hard work, and dedication.
As for talking to your kids about A-Rod playing in Monday night’s game in Chicago, Katz said keep it simple – it’s a “contractual thing.”
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Monday night, the two Yankees stores in Times Square were packed in the hours following the news of A-Rod’s suspension, but the support for the star slugger himself was scarce.
“I have given up on A-Rod, as I think most Yankees fans have given up on A-Rod,” tourist Robyn Kemp said.
“I think it’s good he got suspended, so at least he knows there are some consequences for his actions. And I don’t think it’s fair he gets to play during the appeal,” added Dara White of Jersey City.
But there Rodriguez was Monday night, surrounded by a mob of cameras and signing autographs in Chicago.
In fairness, there were some fans who said they thought the suspension was far too long.
“A-Rod’s a guy who has never been suspended. He’s never tested positive, although he’s admitted to steroid use before. Yes, I think it is too harsh. I think 50 games would be fair, but to suspend him for the 2014 season is pretty harsh,” said Christian Lao of West New York, N.J.
Lao told Schneider he met A-Rod when he was 19 and just starting out with the Seattle Mariners.
“I thought he was the greatest. I was an eighth grader and he was my sports hero and I thought he had all the talent in the world, but when he first admitted to steroids I was really disappointed. That did it for me,” Lao said.
And that seems to be the sentiment from Yankees fans. They aren’t giving up on the team, but they say they’ve lost faith in A-Rod – first after he admitted to using banned substances back in 2009 and now that the evidence seems to be stacked heavily against him in this case.
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