Craig Calcaterra

Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod walked back his retirement talk last night


Yesterday Alex Rodriguez was pretty clear in speaking to ESPN New York that he wanted to retire following the 2017 season. His words: “I won’t play after next year. I’ve really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be Dad.”

In a text to the Daily News last night, however, he walked it back a bit, saying “I’m thinking in terms of my contract which ends in 2017. After that, we’ll see what happens. I’ve got two years and more than 300 games to play.”

His publicist likewise kept the door open, speaking to USA Today:

“Nothing is ever official until you officially retire,’’ Berkowitz told USA TODAY Sports. “He has two years left on his current deal and plans to play it out, and then the contract will be done.’’

If he performs well, is it possible he would keep playing past 2017?

“He could,’’ Berkowitz said, “yes.’’

It all comes down to how he plays and how healthy he is, I presume. If he has a good 2016 and 2017 and if he’s within striking distance of Barry Bonds’ home run record, someone will probably give him a one-year deal for low dough. Probably the Yankees, actually, unless they have some killer DH option. If he doesn’t have two good years or if being 42-years-old affects his body like it affects almost everyone else’s, he’ll be done like he told ESPN.

Pretty simple. Or at least as simple as things can be when A-Rod is involved. If I had to bet I’d say it’s, I don’t know, an 80% shot that he’s done when his contract is up.Maybe 90%. 2015 was nice for him. The odds of him having two more seasons more or less like 2015 simply are not great.

I’ve come to like watching A-Rod, however, so I’m hoping to be wrong about that.

Vin Scully found it “embarrassing” to have his name “tossed into a negotiation”

vin scully getty

Yesterday I wrote a quick screed — the best kind, really — against Major League Baseball using Vin Scully for its P.R. push against some cable companies who are in negotiations with the Dodgers over broadcast rights. I thought it was manipulative and low and I speculated about whether Scully appreciated it all that much.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times spoke to Scully after that and got his comments. You will not be surprised to hear that he did not rip anyone. It’d be somewhat jarring and maybe halfway to amazing if Scully ever ripped anyone, but if a good old redass rant was not in his toolbox by age 88 it wasn’t ever gonna be there.

He did feel awkward about it all, however. Scully referred to it as having his name “tossed into a negotiation” and Shaikin characterized Scully as “not being comfortable” with that. Scully said “it’s really kind of embarrassing for me,” though he also said that if it worked to get fans see more games he’d be happy. So it’s not like he’s against the idea of a p.r. campaign to resolve the carriage dispute, he’s just self-conscious about being attached to it.

Fair enough. Scully survived the McCourt years and Bowie Kuhn and all kinds of other dumb baseball people doing misguided things. Not getting his blood pressure up over it all is probably one of the reasons he’s still doing his job and doing it well.

Major League Baseball issues a statement on the passing of Joe Garagiola

FILE - In this April 14, 2013, file photo, Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster Joe Garagiola, center, waves to a cheering crowd during festivities honoring the retiring broadcaster, prior to a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in Phoenix. Former big league catcher and popular broadcaster Joe Garagiola has died. He was 90. The Arizona Diamondbacks say Garagiola died Wednesday, March 23, 2016. He had been in ill health in recent years. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Associated Press

From the Commissioner’s office on the death of Joe Garagiola:

“All of us at Major League Baseball are deeply saddened by the loss of Joe Garagiola.  Joe began illustrious career as a baseball player, but it wasn’t long before everyone knew that this unique individual would combine his multi-talented media skills and wonderful personality to make a mark off the field as well.   Following his nine-year playing career, which included a 1946 World Series Championship with the St. Louis Cardinals, Joe became a broadcasting icon during his 58 years behind the microphone.  The winner of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award in 1991 and Buck O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, Joe narrated countless memorable moments, including Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle’s 500th career home run, as well as three All-Star Games and three World Series during the 1980s, working alongside fellow broadcast legend Vin Scully.

“With all of Joe’s professional successes, it was behind the scenes where Joe has had an equally impressive impact. For his work with kids, Joe was named the 1998 recipient of the Children’s MVP Award presented by the Jim Eisenreich Foundation. He served baseball as a leader in the fight against smokeless tobacco, working with NSTEP – the National Spit Tobacco Education Program – and traveling to each Major League camp during Spring Training to educate players about the dangers of tobacco and oral cancer. He was also a tireless supporter and longtime champion for the Baseball Assistance Team, which helps members of the baseball family who are in need.

“Joe’s love of the game was always on display, and his knowledge and insight is something that I truly admired.  On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Joe’s wife Audrey, their son, MLB Senior Vice President long-time baseball executive Joe Jr., as well as son Steve, daughter Gina, and their entire family, as well as his countless friends and admirers throughout our game.”