Alex Rodriguez reminds me of my eight year-old son

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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.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.