It’s an expression we hear from time to time, usually to explain away boorish or illogical behavior by the faithful followers of a particular sports cheap_seats_3-150x150team.  “You know”, some expert will always opine, “ the word ‘fan’ comes from fanatic.”  Deep stuff, to be sure, but not a blanket answer for every situation, and, especially not deep enough to cover the nonsense coming out of the Bronx this weekend, where, it seems, “fanatic” is another word for idiot.

Let’s dismiss, for now,  the ridiculous notion that River Avenue should be renamed “Rivera” Avenue in honor of retiring pitcher Mariano Rivera.  We’ll save that for another column, although, I’m wondering how a relief pitcher toiling for the same team as Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio and Berra becomes the first for whom a street is named.

No, this column is about the selective memory of Yankee fans and their misguided reverence toward the Bombers’ other retiree, steroid cheat Andy Pettitte.

I listened with amazement to sportstalk host Mike Francesa today as he planted his lips firmly on “Andy’s” keester, remembering him as a “clutch performer”, one who “always gave you everything he had” and, “the guy I’d want on the mound if there was a game to win at seven o’clock tonight.” Unbelievably,  it seems, that, because Pettitte is a popular Yankee among teammates, fans and media, (especially Francesa), he gets the pass denied Messrs. Mc Gwire, Bonds, Sosa, Palmeiro, Clemens and Rodriguez.  I don’t know why.

While Alex Rodriguez (left) is vilified by Yankee fans, Andy Pettitte gets a pass, even though he's every bit as dirty as his teammate.  Why?

While Alex Rodriguez (left) is vilified by Yankee fans, Andy Pettitte gets a pass, even though he’s every bit as dirty as his teammate. Why?

Perhaps, it’s a result of Pettitte’s incredibly good fortune to have been caught at the same time as the universally despised Clemens, who continues to pile dirt upon himself with his incessant denials.  It also hasn’t hurt that Pettitte’s third baseman, the disgraced yet defiant A-Rod, has become the focus of everything PED, further distancing the Yankee lefty from his own participation in the ongoing scandal.   It, certainly, had a lot to do with the prudent decision to admit his guilt during an elaborate confession that included a critical caveat that still reeks of horse dung to this day. What boggles the mind, however, is that, while baseball fans everywhere, (including me), have rejected the claims of innocence professed by most  PED cheats and convicted them to life sentences with no chance of Hall of Fame induction, they accept Pettitte’s story that he only used the juice to recover from injury with nary a question; as if he is above reproach.

I didn’t believe Pettitte for a second when he gave his mea culpa with loyal teammates standing at his side, and I don’t believe him now. Pettitte’s tale of steroid-assisted injury rehab was a brilliant public relations ploy and nothing more.  There is no way that anyone can reasonably believe that Clemens cheated for as long as he did and his good ol’ boy Andy wasn’t along for every step of the ride.  But, we like Pettitte so, if he says he was only trying to get back on the field, we’ll let him piss in our ears and tell us it’s raining.

You want to root for this guy?  Fine.  Then you also have to take A-Rod at his word; illogical as that may sound.  For Pettitte is a real live, dyed in the wool, steroid cheat; every bit the bad guy Barry Bonds is, no matter how many post-season games he’s won.  And, if you stand and cheer him on Sunday as he brings down the curtain on his Yankee career, it won’t be because you’re a fanatic.  You’ll just be an idiot.

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