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Alex Rodriguez reminds me of my eight year-old son


I was once told a story about Alex Rodriguez, the specific details of which, unfortunately, I cannot share. It was told to me by a person who was party to the events which took place and had absolutely no reason to lie. I have 100% confidence that the story told to me was true.

The upshot was that Rodriguez engaged in Profoundly Aberrant Behavior X immediately after being told that Profoundly Aberrant Behavior X was something he TOTALLY should not do. No one was harmed, it was nothing that would cause a scandal if it came to light in the media. It was just a matter of “Don’t do that,” followed directly by A-Rod doing that and it made everyone involved want to smack their damn heads.

When asked what in the heck he was thinking, A-Rod simply and honestly said that he thought it was OK to engage in Profoundly Aberrant Behavior X. He was genuinely surprised that what he did created any problems at all. He had no malice, actually. It wasn’t plotted. To the extent he had any agenda it was a half-formed “I’ll show them” kind of thing that your eight year-old son might do If there was part of him that thought he was getting away with something.

I have an eight year-old son who does that kind of stuff a lot.  Sometimes he actually tries to get away with things — truly plots out his behavior — but his deviousness and malevolence are  just not particularly well-formed and his eight year-old brain is just not all that great at thinking more than a step or two ahead yet. It doesn’t mean he’s dumb. It doesn’t mean he’s bad. He just doesn’t operate on a level most people do when strategic thinking is called for.

I sort of feel like that’s where we are with Alex Rodriguez.

I have no idea what, exactly, A-Rod was trying to accomplish by sending Dr. Michael Gross out on that little media tour yesterday. It appears as though it was his effort to fire shots at a Yankees team he perceives to be working against his interests somehow. I can understand the impulse. He probably has a bit of a siege mentality at this point, and for good reason. People are comparing him to mass-murderers for cryin’ out loud, and the league in which he plays is trying to end his career before he wants it to end.

But the facts of his quad injury and rehab are such that trotting out Dr. Gross was gonna get messy no matter what. According to the Yankees, A-Rod did say his quad was hurting. According to the CBA there are right ways and wrong ways to get competing medical opinions. Even if Rodriguez is, on the facts, totally on the side of the angels here — if he can play and wants to and the Yankees are just dithering for P.R./political/Biogenesis reasons, there was no clear path to P.R. victory here for Rodriguez and he probably would have been better off not even sending Dr. Gross on Mike Francesa’s show yesterday. But based on what we can know about A-Rod from a distance, one gets the impression that that sort of thing just doesn’t register with him.

Or maybe I’m way off, I don’t know. Engaging in armchair psychoanalysis like this is even harder than diagnosing a quad strain via an MRI and a phone call.

But I do know this much: Dr. Gross had no idea what he was getting into when he went on his mini media tour yesterday. After saying that he agreed to look at A-Rod’s MRI and that he didn’t take any payment for it, he said this to ESPN New York:

“I did it because I thought it would be fun,” Gross said. “I thought it would be interesting to be on this side of stuff. It was a lot of fun until the last half hour.”

I almost feel sorry for him. But really kids: if Alex Rodriguez asks you to go out and say things on his behalf, by all means, wear a freakin’ flak jacket. They’re firing live bullets out there. And A-Rod probably didn’t plan the operation like Wellington planned Waterloo.

Yasiel Puig might be more of a bench guy in the NLDS

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
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Yasiel Puig appeared in just 79 games during the regular season and missed all of September with a right hamstring strain. He returned on October 3 and appeared in the Dodgers’ final two regular-season games, but that doesn’t mean he is anywhere close to 100 percent heading into the NLDS.

Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles says the Dodgers are unlikely to start Puig over Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford against right-handers in the best-of-five Division Series. And the Mets are scheduled to throw three righties in the first three games: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. The only left-hander in the Mets’ postseason rotation is Steven Matz, and he is somewhat questionable with a back injury.

Would it make sense to leave Puig off the NLDS roster entirely? If he does aggravate the hamstring injury, which seems possible even in a limited role, that would put him out of the mix for the NLCS.

They could send Puig to Arizona and have him face live pitching for the next 8-10 days.

But that’s just a suggestion. It doesn’t sound like it’s actually a consideration.

Who should you root for in the playoffs?

Mets Fans

If you are a fan of the Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays, Royals, Rangers, Pirates, Cubs, Cardinals, Mets or Dodgers, your life is pretty easy. Your team is in the playoffs and you thus have someone to root for. Enjoy!

But what if your team isn’t in the playoffs? Then what do you do?

Well, the first thing you do is go to SI and follow the great Emma Span’s flowchart which picks a rooting interest for you. It has important considerations for you there which feed into this data-driven solution. Things like how you feel about underdogs, what kind of monster movies you like, your beard preferences and where you fall on the bunting/shifting/irritation scale. Go run your own preferences through the flowchat, but in the meantime know that it gave me the Royals, which is 100% baloney, but let’s not blame Emma for that. She does God’s work most of the time.

If I’m being less scientific, when my Braves are not in the playoffs I generally choose based on my gut, and my gut tends to like (a) individual players more than teams; (b) pitching more than hitting; and (c) newer playoff faces instead of ones who are there every damn year. These aren’t hard and fast rules — I want to see the Dodgers do well because I like Kershaw, Greinke and Puig, but they aren’t new faces and big payroll teams can get bent —  but in generally they hold.

Here are some pros and cons of your potential rooting interests:


Pro: They’re actually underdogs this year, at least according to the oddmakers. Rooting for A-Rod is always a good thing because he is all that is right and just in baseball.

Con: They’re still the friggin’ Yankees and who, besides Yankees fans, roots for the Yankees?


Pro: They’re young and plucky and were supposed to be years away from contention and worst-to-first stories are grand.

Con: If you don’t like sabermetrics and stuff this club might annoy you. Of course if that’s a basis for annoyance for you, you’re probably not reading this blog too often.


Pro: If you dig the longball, these are your huckleberries. Rogers Centre is going to be rocking like crazy, and that’s fun to see.

Con: You’re such a Trump supporter that you’re worried about the NORTHERN border too and you’d feel way more comfortable if there weren’t reasons for foreigners to travel here. Also: the more they advance, the more likely it is that you’re gonna hear Rush music as bumpers between innings.


Pro: Good defense is great. Teams with lots of contributors instead of a couple of megastars are great. They came so close last year and seeing those finally-got-over-the-mountain teams break through is pretty neat. At least it was back when the Bulls followed the Pistons who followed the Celtics. Torch-passing is cool.

Con: Baseball writers online telling you all about their barbecue experiences. Those guys are the worst.


Pro: They came outta nowhere and, the longer they play, the more likely it is we’ll get to see Prince Fielder leg out extra bases. If Josh Hamilton makes the World Series it’ll be even more of an eff you to Arte Moreno, who really deserves an eff you over how he handled the Josh Hamilton situation.

Con: With games in Dallas broadcast by Fox, we’ll almost certainly get some gimmicky double-broadcast stunts from Joe Buck.


Pro: Andrew McCutchen is fun to watch and it would be a shame if, like the early 90s, they had a megastar on the Pirates who just never quite made it to the World Series.

Con: Everyone’s gonna be mad at ’em if they eliminate the Cubs, who are likely going to be every bandwagon fan’s choice this year. Or maybe that’s a pro. Depends on how angry you like everyone to be.


Pro: A lotta fun players on this club and, for as much of a joke and sense of identity it has become, you have to be pretty hard hearted to not at least be somewhat happy for a team breaking a 107-year World Series championship drought.

Con: I think Joe Maddon is a great manager, but the way the media treats him when his teams are doing well is pretty insufferable. The entire World Series broadcast will be people lauding his singular wisdom for bringing the Cubs back to life and forgetting that a multi-year rebuild has just gone down.


Pro: I’ll get back to you on this one. I honestly can’t think of a single reason why a non-Cards fans would root for the Cardinals. They’re not underdogs. They’re in it every year, it seems. People say I hate the Cardinals and that’s not true, but I am very weary of the Cardinals and their storylines much the same way so many people were tied of seeing the Red Sox and Yankees deep into the playoffs every season.

Cons: Pick any number of things. I would venture to say that, if one could measure such a thing, the Cards will have fewer non-Cards fans rooting for them this month than any other team will have non-fans rooting for them.


Pro: Lots of pros here. Perpetual underdogs and sad sacks. Great pitching. They’ve been out of it for years. Cool players like Cespedes and Bartolo and deGrom and Harvey and everyone. Far fewer annoying celebrity fans than the Yankees have. Just a solid, solid choice for a rent-a-root situation, and I say that even as a guy who normally hates the Mets because they’re in my team’s division. Just go with it.

Cons: If they do go far it may get exhausting. Aligning yourself with Mets fans is to align yourself with misery. They could be up 5-0 in Game 7 of the World Series and Mets fans will be worrying about the bullpen and bitching about how they didn’t close it out in five. It’s just always like that with them.


Pro: Fun players in Greinke, Kershaw and Puig. Nice camera shots of the L.A. sunset after they come back from commercial. Good vibes for Vin Scully.

Cons: They are the anti-underdog given their payroll and three straight division titles. I have heard rumors that some people don’t like Yasiel Puig as much as I do, though I have discounted them as slander. Fox’s “spot a celebrity from an upcoming Fox show who just happens to be in the crowd here tonight” game will go into overdrive.

So there are the metrics. Choose wisely.