Cris Carter said he gave Alex Rodriguez a talking-to

25 Comments

This is fun. Ex-NFL player Cris Carter ran into A-Rod down in Florida when A-Rod was getting ready to come back this year and they had a little chat. Carter said that he was concerned about PEDs and A-Rod’s P.R. problems and how his example impacts children and stuff. Then it got good. He said this on the Mike & Mike show:

“And he went into, Well, you know, I’m fighting for my life, and I basically just interrupted him and said, ‘Your life as a baseball player is over with. Now what you decide to do with the rest of your life — that’s the decision that you have to make. You and a number of other athletes have lost a whole generation of kids. Now, they’re going to be experimenting with PEDs because you guys have been successful doing it. What are you going to do to try to repair that?’ ”

Carter went on to tell A-Rod: “That’s really what your legacy should be. What you decide to do is totally up to you. I don’t care. I’m nobody — I’m just a fan. But I thought I should tell you that. You have an opportunity — and it could start today — that you could have the greatest legacy as far as PEDs, kids, high school athletes.”

I don’t think A-Rod or any big time athlete doing PEDs has nearly the impact on kids doing them as do the habits of other kids and the competitive environment in which they find themselves (i.e. if the incentive exists for them it will be way stronger a push than anyone’s example might be). But Carter is right about where A-Rod is in the grand scheme of things.

He’s not “done” in the same way Bill Madden keeps saying he’s done. He will likely still play baseball. I also believe that, yes, A-Rod has every right and incentive — in in some ways responsibility — to fight the charges against him. If for no other reason than because the precedent of MLB leveling crazy 200+ game suspensions for first time violations of the JDA is insane.

But his time as a big impact player and famous superstar is over. And it would be a good idea for him think about his future more than his present. Any move calculated to work on his present image, as opposed to his legal status alone, is probably wasted effort.

The Cubs are in desperate need of relief

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Tonight in Chicago Yu Darvish of the Dodgers will face off against Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs. If this were Game 1, we’d have a lot to say about the Dodgers’ trade deadline pickup and the Cubs’ budding ace. If this series continues on the way it’s been going, however, each of them will be footnotes because it has been all about the bullpens.

The Cubs, you may have heard, are having tremendous problems with relief pitching. Both their own and with the opposition’s. Cubs relievers have a 7.03 ERA this postseason, and have allowed six runs on eight hits and have walked six batters in seven innings of work. And no, the relief struggles aren’t just a matter of Joe Maddon pushing the wrong buttons (even though, yeah, he has pushed the wrong buttons).

Maddon pushed Wade Davis for 44 pitches in Game 5 of the NLDS, limiting his availability in Games 1 and 2. That pushing is a result of a lack of relief depth on the Cubs. Brian Duensing, Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. all have talent and all have had their moments, but none of them are the sort of relievers we have come to see in the past few postseasons. The guys who, when your starter tosses 80 pitches in four innings like Jon Lester did the other night, can be relied upon to shut down the opposition for three and a half more until your lights-out closer can get the four-out save.

In contrast, the Dodgers bullpen has been dominant, tossing eight scoreless innings. Indeed, Dodgers relievers have tossed eight almost perfect innings, allowing zero hits and zero walks while striking out nine Cubs batters. The only imperfection came when Kenley Jansen hit Anthony Rizzo in Game 2. That’s it. Compare this to the past couple of postseasons where the only truly reliable arm down there was Jansen, and in which Dodgers managers have had to rely on Clayton Kershaw to come on in relief. That has not been a temptation at all as the revamped L.A. pen, featuring newcomers Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson. Suffice it to say, Joe Blanton is not missed.

Which brings us back to Kyle Hendricks. He has pitched twice this postseason, pitching seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but getting touched for four runs on nine hits while allowing a couple of dingers in Game 5. If the good Hendricks shows up, Maddon will be able to ride him until late in the game in which a now-rested Davis and maybe either Strop or Edwards can close things out in conventional fashion, returning this series to competitiveness. If the bad Hendricks does, he’ll have to do what he did in that NLDS Game 5, using multiple relievers and, perhaps, a repurposed starter in relief while grinding Davis into dust again. That was lucky to work there and doing it without Davis didn’t work in Game 2 on Sunday night.

So it all falls to Hendricks. The Dodgers have shown how soft the underbelly of the Cubs pen truly is. If they get to Hendricks early and get into that pen, you have to like L.A’s chances, not just in this game, but for the rest of the series, as bullpen wear-and-tear builds up quickly. It’s pretty simple: Hendricks has to give the Cubs some innings tonight. There is no other option available.

Just ask Joe Maddon. He’s tried.