Mike Lupica continues to show his legal expertise


Today Mike Lupica writes about the A-Rod appeal. As my post from this morning suggests, I’m actually with him regarding how much of a clown show the protests outside of the arbitration have become. But of course Lupica can’t make one decent point and get off it. He has to use it as a new excuse to go after Rodriguez because that’s just what he does.

Except he does it in the dumbest ways possible.  Today he makes two arguments in furtherance of his “A-Rod is an awful monster” campaign. First, if A-Rod is so wronged, why has he not got on a witness stand and proclaimed his innocence?

Through it all, you keep waiting for Alex Rodriguez to be the one to tell you that the case against him is unjust and unfair, that he is an innocent man. Only he never says that, not even to the media, as if he’s under oath. He never says that, his handlers never say it, at least on the record. He just says he will tell his story at the appropriate time.

And you wonder what could possibly be a more appropriate time than at his own arbitration hearing!

You wonder why Alex Rodriguez doesn’t testify on his own behalf the absolute first chance he gets, proclaim his innocence so loudly that they can hear him downstairs on the street between the police barricades.

Any smart observer of this knows the answer to that: A-Rod’s defense is not one of innocence. It’s one of proportionality of punishment. That his suspension is too long compared to other similarly-situated offenders. And more than merely misrepresenting the defense in an effort to make A-Rod seem more disingenuous than he is, he misrepresents how the the arbitration works.  It does not require the player’s testimony. And no one with half a brain would go tell the media — which is what Lupica clearly wants — all about his case while it’s still pending either.

The second argument: if A-Rod has nothing to hide, why is his grand jury testimony from the Anthony Galea case still private, hmm?

You wonder about something else in this case, wonder if Rodriguez is so falsely accused, and such a victim of an MLB investigation his lawyers are flop-sweat desperate to put on trial, why did those same lawyers fight so hard in Buffalo to keep Rodriguez’s grand jury testimony in the federal case against Dr. Anthony Galea, Alex Rodriguez’s old doctor, the patron saint of human grown hormone, sealed from now until the end of time?

If there isn’t anything in Rodriguez’s grand jury testimony about his use of banned substances, if there isn’t anything in there that can hurt the guy, why are his lawyers so scared about it?

Let’s set aside the fact that A-Rod’s current legal team is not comprised of “those same lawyers” who represented him when he gave grand jury testimony in Buffalo. A-Rod hired Joe Tacopina and a different legal team since then, so here Lupica is smearing the wrong folks.

Instead, let’s focus on the fact that no lawyers are “fighting so hard” to keep A-Rod’s grand jury testimony sealed.  Grand jury testimony is sealed as a matter of course pursuant to federal law. The witness can say what he said in front of a grand jury but no one else privy to it can release it. If they do, they can go to jail. Some folks may be fighting so hard to unseal it, but it’s supposed to remain sealed. That’s how the law works.

But of course if you’re Lupica there’s no sense in understanding how grand juries work. To do so would prevent a great opportunity for grandstanding.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi
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You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.