The Yankees are totally pretending that A-Rod isn’t nearing Willie Mays’ home run total

53 Comments

I understand the Yankees’ lack of a desire to actually celebrate Alex Rodriguez’s 660th home run. I totally get why they don’t want to pay him a big bonus for actually hitting it. They may even have some decent legal recourse to avoid doing so, I don’t know. Really, and 100% honestly, there are non-crazy arguments for the Yankees to not want to be in the Alex Rodriguez Glorification business.

But “acknowledging reality” is not the same thing as glorifying, and the Yankees are apparently not even going to acknowledge reality. From Mark Feinsand of the Daily News:

When is a milestone not really a milestone? When the Yankees decide it’s not, apparently.

The team is not including Alex Rodriguez’s pursuit of Willie Mays’ No. 4 spot on the all-time home runs list as part of its daily “Upcoming Milestones” sheet, which distributed to the media prior to every series by the media relations department.

I’ve seen these sheets before. They have everything from big, important milestones to the bullpen catcher’s birthday. It’s a veritable avalanche of facts, figures and trivia. Sometimes reporters use them to flesh out game stories or columns. Most of the time the information gets ignored.

But, as Feinsand notes, this is a litigation tactic. If the Yankees appear to be getting any marketing value out of A-Rod tying Mays, it could be used against them if A-Rod decides to take them to arbitration for not paying the bonus. A “see, you marketed it!” kind of thing. They are, in contrast, noting on the milestones sheet other, relatively minor upcoming A-Rod feats such him being one run shy of tying Derek Jeter for ninth place on MLB’s all-time runs scored list.

All of which is stupid, because it’s not like the media and fans aren’t aware that Rodriguez is nearing Mays’ mark. It’s not like we won’t note it and, if he’s at 659 when the Yankees are on a homestand, at least some people won’t buy tickets to see it. Of course they will. It may not give the Yankees a $6 million marketing kick, but it’ll be something. And if they note every single minor thing their players achieve but conspicuously avoid this one thing, an arbitrator is going to assume that they did it precisely to try to get out of paying the guy. Ultimately, all that matters to whether they do have to pay him is what the contract language says about it all, which we don’t know. A line on an information sheet isn’t going to change the game.

But it will make the Yankees brass look dumb. And make them look like they think the fans and the press is dumb. If that’s something they think is cool, well, good for them. Most people think that’s pretty jerky.

Marcus Stroman loses no-hit bid in the seventh inning of WBC final against Puerto Rico

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
4 Comments

Update (11:57 PM ET): And it’s over. Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the seventh with a line drive double down the left field line off of Stroman, ending the no-hitter. Manager Jim Leyland immediately removed Stroman from the game.

*

U.S. starter Marcus Stroman has held Puerto Rico hitless through six innings thus far in the World Baseball Classic final. The Blue Jays’ right-hander has held the opposition to just one base runner — a walk — with three strikeouts on 68 pitches.

WBC rules limit a pitcher to throwing a maximum of 95 pitches in the Championship Round, so Stroman has 27 pitches left with which to play. If he hits the limit during the at-bat, he can continue throwing to the completion of that at-bat. Needless to say, though, Stroman won’t be finishing his potential no-no.

The U.S. has given four runs of support to Stroman. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Then, in the fifth, Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen both provided RBI singles. Update: The U.S. tacked on three more in the top of the seventh when Brandon Crawford drove in two with a bases-loaded single and Giancarlo Stanton followed up with an RBI single.

We’ll keep you updated as Stroman and any pitchers that follow him attempt to complete the no-hitter. Shairon Martis is the only player to throw a no-hitter in WBC history. However, the game ended after seven innings due to the mercy rule, or as it’s known now, the “early termination” rule.

Video: Ian Kinsler homers in WBC final, rounds bases solemnly

Harry How/Getty Images
8 Comments

Ian Kinsler found himself in hot water on Wednesday evening when he criticized the way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play baseball. It is his hope that kids watching the World Baseball Classic decide to emulate the emotionless way players from the U.S. play baseball as opposed to the exciting, cheerful way players from other countries tend to play the game.

Needless to say, Kinsler’s comments didn’t sit well with many people, but he has the most recent laugh. Kinsler broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning of Wednesday night’s WBC final against Puerto Rico, slugging a two-run home run to left-center field at Dodger Stadium off of Seth Lugo.

Kinsler, of course, rounded the bases solemnly which is sure to highlight just how cool and exciting the game of baseball is to international viewers.