As a new resident of the great city of New York, its hard to miss all the Yankee pride. And it’s impossible to think of the Yankees without imagining Alex Rodriguez hitting yet another home run. These days though, A-Rod is in the news for a different reason – suing Bud Selig and the MLB for defamation of character.
Rodriguez claims that Selig has gone on a “witch-hunt,” doing everything he can to drag the Yankee’s name thru the mud. This week, Selig uncovered Rodriguez’s role as a Baltimore landlord. At The Nation, Dave Zirin wrote about a visit he took to three housing complexes in Langley, MD with more than 1,000 units managed by Newport Property Ventures, a company owned by the 12-time All Star and 3-time MVP.
According to A-Rod’s tenants, he is a “slumlord”, a “scumbag” and several phrases in Spanish that don’t have easy translations but involve using your own head to have a certain kind of sex with yourself.
Zirin went on to list the variety of issues facing the building, ranging from rats to gas explosions to mold infestations to bed bugs to sewage problems. The conditions are clearly pretty atrocious.
Zirin mentioned a Washington Post article about the same buildings, which got me wondering what other press has come out about these buildings. A quick google search made my jaw drop. The media has been covering the horrible conditions of A-Rod’s buildings since at least 2007 (!) when the New York Times wrote about a series of complexes A-Rod owns Tampa, FL.
…the mottled backside of the complex, where an exhausted appliance sits on a porch, cardboard is taped over broken window panes and missing spindles give rickety banisters the look of a snaggletooth smile.
Some residents here tell tales of roaches overtaking kitchen cabinets in a bumper-to-bumper crawl to the corn flakes, of carpets stained in the 1990s and quick-trigger evictions.
There were over a dozen pages of hits of articles and blog posts when I searched “Alex Rodriguez slumlord.” Now lets think about what that means: since 2007, its been a well known fact that A-Rod is a slumlord. Has he been held accountable? No.
And how much has he accomplished? Since 2007, he’s played in 822 games, with 622 RBIs (Runs Batted In) and 190 home runs. He’s won an MVP award, been on two All Star teams; he’s achieved notaritety with the most career Grand Slams and the most career home runs by a Latino player, just to name a few .
Through all these accomplishments, there has been no accountability as a slumlord.
I’ve been to buildings that are a baseball throw from Yankee Stadium that are in horrible conditions with slumlords running them into the ground. I used to think this was a stain on the Yankee pride. It is no doubt, but a worse stain is the simple fact that the Yankees are employing a slumlord as their third baseman.
Imagine if every time ESPN, Sports Illustrated, or the New York Times wanted to talk about Alex Rodriguez, they had to call him a slumlord as well as a 12-time All Star and 3-time MVP third baseman.
They both are clearly part of his character — but only one of those parts is denying thousands of people across the country their right to decent, affordable housing. A-Rod, you’re nowhere close to hitting this one out of the park. Its time to step your game up and be held accountable to the properties you own.