Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Robbie Alomar- Fact or Fiction?
I am sure that many sport and Blue Jays fans are familiar with former second baseman, and Hall of Fame member Robbie Alomar. He was a great player for the Jays and also for many other teams including the Orioles and the Indians.
Alomar was known as being a versatile player with a solid bat, good speed and spectacular range and defensive prowess. He was what every team would love to have at the top of a lineup and up the middle. He hit for average, had some power at the plate and could turn a double play as well as just about any other player to ever play his position. A truly deserving inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame and a key member to the Blue Jays World Series Championship teams. He can be put right up there as one of the best second basemen of all time with the tools he had in his prime.
All of this is common knowledge and known by most, that is far from the interesting part. I am sure that both sports fans and regular people are at least familiar with hearing that back in 1996 Alomar was involved in a spitting incident involving an umpire. Alomar got into a heated argument over a called third strike with umpire John Hirschbeck and spat in his face. He defended himself by saying Hirschbeck had uttered a racial slur and that Hirschbeck had been bitter since one son had died of ALD and another had been recently diagnosed as well. Upon hearing this public disclosure of his private life, Hirschbeck had to be physically restrained from confronting Alomar in the players' locker room.
This is where the un-proven and never verified part comes into play, and is part of a bigger part of the story that I had not heard before just a few days ago. Like I said before, I remember the story but never this version and now that it was mentioned it kind of makes sense and is a very interesting theory. This is all just alleged but is a somewhat plausible explanation. It was said that Alomar had heard a racial slur from Hirschbeck. Perhaps it was not a racial slur but maybe it was a sexual preference slur. If this was the case it would help validate the second part, the part that was a little more interesting.
Alomar joined the Mets in 2002 and it was in this time period that It was during this era that the "Mike Piazza is Gay" rumors began -- somewhat as a result of comments that Bobby Valentine made about Major League Baseball being ready to accept an openly gay athlete. This was a big deal at the time, so much so that it forced Piazza to hold a press conference to make a formal announcement with his model girlfriend saying he was not gay, that he was heterosexual. No active player has come out as being openly gay and to have to hold a press conference to state your orientation was big news. It was because of this that many still believe that Piazza is gay and he was just trying to get get ahead of a possible story. What was news to me was the possibility that Valentines comments were possibly made in regards to another prominent Met at the time...Robbie Alomar. He too had a prominent, beautiful, and famous girlfriend in tennis player Mary Pierce. Apparently there were whispers for years about Alomar's "preference" but it was Piazza who bore the brunt of all that crap at the time. Most people now have no issue with a persons personal preference, but in pro sports, especially team sports, there is still a stigma and an announcement of that nature would be a very difficult to do. There is also allegations of HIV and AIDS linked to Alomar (which do not help by any means either) and has been sued by a former girlfriend and his wife.
Weather or not any of this is true or not is up for debate, but because I had not heard this theory/story before I found it interesting that a lot of these pieces fit together and is at least plausible. It is up to the reader to decide what they want to believe. To many Alomar is and always be that Blue Jay who was a vacuum at 2nd to others he will be that Mets player who's skill almost disappeared overnight and was more of a train wreck then a ballplayer. It just makes it more interesting that it was his time in New York that all this happened and at the same time his play began to erode.