If you fall into the rabbit hole of the media narrative, you might believe that everyone in baseball despises Alex Rodriguez and that everyone would have thrown at him like Ryan Dempster did last Sunday. Well, an ESPN poll of 36 players (admittedly a small sample) revealed that isn't exactly the case, along with some other interesting tidbits.
Of the 36 players polled, 35 said they didn't want to intentionally bean A-Rod, with one player abstaining. Of those same 35 players, just one said that they'd "send A-Rod a message" once per series and risk an ejection. Rodriguez has played in all but one of the Yankees' games since the Dempster incident, and hasn't been hit once by pitchers from the Blue Jays or Rays. 30 of the 36 players polled feel that Rodriguez should be allowed to play during his appeal, which tells me that six players have no idea how the CBA works.
28 players answered an open-ended question about how many players would side with A-Rod in regards to the unfairness of his 211 game suspension, and the average answer was 43.6%, or nearly half of the league. Six of 33 players would specifically target A-Rod is one of their teammates was hit by a Yankees pitcher.
In another open-ended question, 25 players were asked another open-ended question about what percentage of players do they think are still violating the league's anti-drug policy, and the average response was 7.1%. 7.1% of 750 players (30 teams, 25-man roster) is 53 players, which raises the question of whether or not the policy is actually working or not. There have been only 43 suspensions of major league players since the policy was enacted in 2005, and only 21 of those suspensions have come since the beginning of 2008.
There were also some interesting quotes in relation to Rodriguez, including the following.
NL starter: "You don't start throwing baseballs at guys because you disagree with what they did. He's entitled to his appeal and to have both sides make their case. I think it's ridiculous that Ryan Dempster took it into his own hands to basically convict him."
NL starter: "Bud is trying to do too much. He's going outside of what Major League Baseball has established as a drug policy and I think that all they have to do is stick to what the policy is and not try to target a certain person to make an example."
Perennial All-Star pitcher who sides with A-Rod: "I would hope a big percentage of players would side with A-Rod. We're family. We all fight together for one cause and, like it or not, with what he did, there's a basic agreement. You start giving into stuff like that and we become weaker."
There's a lot of good stuff in the full post, so I'd recommend giving it a read. Maybe the players don't hate A-Rod as much as the media would have you believe.