We heard the news about Alex Rodriguez being benched for Game 5, and the reaction from the manager, now here it is straight from the man himself:
“Obviously I’m not happy and disappointed. You want to be in there in the worst way, but as I keep telling you guys, this isn’t a story about one person. This is about a team, and we have some unfinished business today. Our objective is to win one game tonight and keep this thing moving.”
When if he’s OK coming off the bench — and Joe Girardi said he would pinch hit Rodriguez if and a lefty comes in — he said:
“Without question. I do know in 27 outs, a lot can happen. I’ll be ready.”
He also added that he has no problem with Joe Girardi, saying “It’s never about Joe. I always have to look in the mirror and do what I can do to do the best I can.”
Well, at least he has experience with that.
Seriously, though: those are all the right answers. If anyone is looking to make a bigger deal out of this than “struggling player sits in favor of player with better chance to help team win in a single game,” they’re just looking for stuff that isn’t there. To the extent this becomes a bigger drama, it’ll happen in the offseason in the event that the Yankees think about fundamentally changing A-Rod’s role with the team.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.