I feel terrible for Big Bird in the wake of the first 2012 presidential debate between Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
At the debate, this feathered non-partisan creature was minding his own business, educating the next generation with Elmo and friends on Sesame Street.
Suddenly, with one swift attack by Romney on PBS, Big Bird finds himself in a spotlight he does not want to be in (and in political ads he wants no part of).
Days went by, with Big Bird going on SNL to humorously display his Switzerland-like neutrality toward American politics.
Sunny days on Sesame Street seemed so far away.
Two days later, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez took his post at Camden Yards in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles. He did this a day after going 0-for-4 in the first game of this series.
Three hours and change from first pitch, Rodriguez was again on the butt end of press coverage after going 1-for-5 with two strikeouts in the Yankees' 3-2 loss.
With the series now tied at one game apiece, some fans are playing Joe Girardi by proposing lineups that drop A-Rod in the batting order.
With Big Bird toiling to return to normalcy, it begged the question: Why do Yankees fans continue to give A-Rod the figurative bird (besides the fact many dislike him because he is filthy rich)?
After wading through a few theories, it hit me.
Big Bird and A-Rod are superstars being used as scapegoats by people trying to deflect from reality (albeit Big Bird is much more beloved than A-Rod).
For the Yankees, the reality is this: the Yankees lost game two as a team.
Plain and simple.
Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.
Seriously, ask yourself this question: If Orioles second baseman Robert Andino did not straight-up rob A-Rod of a run-scoring single in the first inning of Game 2 of the ALDS, would Yankees fans even be having this conversation?
I doubt it.
If Andy Pettitte did not lose near complete command of his pitches in the third inning, would talk about A-Rod even enter the equation?
Meanwhile, Nick Swisher is batting .167 in the series. Curtis Granderson is batting .143. And despite Russell Martin’s go-ahead homer in Game 1, he has the same average as Swisher.
Yet most of the wrath for New York's loss to the Orioles is geared toward A-Rod.
So what if A-Rod has batted a respectable .271 (70-for-258) with 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 70 career postseason games?
Who cares if Rodriguez led the Yankees to a World Series victory in 2009, batting .365 (19-for-52) with six homers and 18 RBI that postseason?
I am sure that there are a few people who do. But it seems these fans are the minority.
The bottom line is that A-Rod will forever be a choice scapegoat when things go awry for the Yankees. From A-Rod’s distant body language, it appears he has fully embraced this role.
But no matter what fans think of A-Rod, he will go down as one of the greatest Yankees in history. And like it or not, A-Rod will retire with more than enough cash to buy public television by himself.
Big Bird included.