Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

A-Rod batting third, DHing in his final Yankees game


The lineup for tonight’s Rays-Yankees game is out. Alex Rodriguez is batting third and DHing. He hit cleanup last night, but by batting him third tonight Joe Girardi guarantees that he will come to the plate in the first inning.

Probably important as there are going to be various on-field and video-board-related tributes and festivities. There will be a career retrospective video, video messages of some kind — what they are are not yet known — and some sort of on-field presentation.

In other news, the Yankees, despite spending a good part of last year avoiding the promotion of A-Rod milestones for legal and financial reasons — have issued an A-Rod specific fact sheet to the media:

The game will be nationally televised on Fox.


A Core Four Farewell: Jeter, Rivera, Pettite and Posada praise A-Rod

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Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal got statements from each of the “Core Four” New York Yankees of the 1990s-2000s Yankee Dynasty: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada.

All of them had good things to say about Alex Rodriguez, calling him a hard worker, a good teammate, a smart baseball mind and someone who cared about the game. You know, all of those things the media and fans claim he wasn’t even though they were in nowhere as good a position to know as those four guys.

OK, I realize that the rules for such farewell statements are the same as for funerals: if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. I’m 100% certain that at one time or another each of those four was livid at A-Rod for something and obviously they’re not going to say it here. Still, the idea that one can hold two views of Alex Rodriguez — appreciate what was good about him even if there are things about him you didn’t care for —  is a pretty shocking concept for most people, even if we treat everyone else in the world that way. The statements:

Derek Jeter:

“I’ve spent 22 years playing against, playing with and watching Alex from afar, and there are two things that stand out to me the most: the conversations we had when we were young — hoping for the opportunity to play at the major league level and then somehow finding a way to stick around — and the championship we won together in 2009. That was a season everyone on that team could cherish.

“What people don’t realize is how much time, effort and work that Alex put in on a daily basis. He lives and breathes baseball. I know it will be difficult for him to not be on the field, but I’m sure he will continue to give back to the game. Congrats, Alex.”

Mariano Rivera:

“It was a privilege to play with Alex. Through his preparation and work ethic, you saw how much he cared about this game and about helping this team win.  I love him — as a friend and as a teammate. He was all you could ask for in both.”

Andy Pettitte:

“I had a chance to see Alex as a young player in the league, and I knew immediately he was going to be special. It was always fun competing against Alex, but I really enjoyed having the opportunity to play side-by-side with him in New York. He was a big reason we were able to win the 2009 World Series. I wish Alex and his family nothing but the best moving forward.”

Jorge Posada:

“Alex was not only one of the best players in the world, he was one of the smartest players on the field. It was such a great combination. Please go have fun and enjoy your family — you are an awesome dad. I’m very proud of you.”



The Angels come crawling back to Anaheim after new stadium talks go nowhere

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A couple of years ago the Anaheim Angels started talking to Tustin, California about a new stadium. The idea would’ve been for Tustin to build them something on an ex-Marine base. Tustin told them “nah.” Then months and months of silence.

Now comes news that the Angels have re-engaged with Anaheim in an effort to get the city or someone to give Anaheim Stadium $130-150 million in upgrades and renovations. This is all playing out against a backdrop in which the Angels can opt-out of their stadium lease between now and 2019 but, if they don’t opt-out, they’re locked in until 2029.

The story here is the same as it ever is: the ballclub wants someone else to pay for their ballpark and/or ballpark upgrades. The difference is that, unlike most other places, most California municipalities have increasingly told sports teams to pay for it themselves. Arte Moreno and the Angels don’t have a ton of options here. In the meantime they’re just giving passive-aggressive digs at the city they’ve called home for 50 years:

“Moving to Tustin requires a new stadium, and none of the parties could overcome the financial hurdle,” said Marie Garvey, Angels spokeswoman. “In our discussions with the city of Anaheim, we are focused on trying to find a way to deliver a high-quality fan experience in a city-owned, aging stadium.”

My guess is that, eventually, the city will throw the Angels some renovation money and give them incentives to stay in the form of development rights on stadium property, as the article suggests. All of which makes me wonder: if stadiums are such economic boons and baseball owners are such masters of development, why wouldn’t Arte Moreno just build his own ballpark?

It’s almost as if someone isn’t being honest about how ballpark economics work.