Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hard Justice

I will start with a confession: I love Alex Rodriguez.

How could a New Yorker not adore a local kid who has grown into the greatest baseball player of his generation and maybe the greatest of any generation?

I’m not playing dumb. I know he’s not loved by all. I’ve heard the boos and read the blogs.

Now there’s a Web site – Project A13: The Anti-Boos Movement – that implores New Yorkers to support Rodriguez. The fan behind it wants justice, but that’s hard to find in this city.

It’s especially hard to find in Washington Heights where Rodriguez was born and in the South Bronx where he plays. These neighborhoods are tops in poverty and police presence. Many there lack decent housing, healthcare and education. If it rains too hard the subways flood. If it snows they can’t pick up the trash for a week. If it’s too cold the water mains break. If it’s too hot the electricity goes out.

It shouldn't be a surprise that Rodriguez draws the short straw in this city. People from his neighborhood pull it every day. They work the hardest jobs to try and make a decent life. They grind away for 20, 30, maybe 40 years before they realize nothing ever changes.

I went to three demonstrations to help change the police tactics that killed Sean Bell. One of them was a march down Fifth Avenue that was called “Shopping for Justice.” We didn’t find any.

Why should we expect justice to seep into Yankee Stadium? Those who suffer can’t afford to come unless they’re playing third base and those responsible sit in the best seats.

I confess to saving my boos for people who deserve them: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Bloomberg, Ray Kelly, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.