New York Yankees

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Remember, back in 2009 when no one was paying any attention to Alex Rodriguez? Me neither.

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Tony Massarotti, who claims that “no one cares about A-Rod” anymore and then proceeds to write an entire column about him, had this to say about Alex Rodriguez while doing the de riguer cataloging of his shortcomings:

“Rodriguez always had more ability than his chief contemporary, Derek Jeter. He just didn’t have the makeup. For all the attention Rodriguez sought during his career, he routinely wilted under it. On the field and off, as it turns out. In assorted postseason series with the Yankees, Rodriguez batted .133, .071, .190, .111, .125 and .111. His career postseason batting average of .263 was noticeably lower than his career regular season number of .299, and it was worse if you eliminate the productive 2009 postseason in which A-Rod was not the focus.”

Translation: “Alex Rodriguez was awful in the postseason except for that time he was AMAZING but that didn’t count because of this narrative I just made up about how it didn’t count.”

He goes on to say that no one was paying attention to Rodriguez that postseason as “[t]hat October, C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were the ones in New York’s crosshairs.” Because no, Alex Rodriguez was not in the spotlight in 2009. Not at all. It was only the sleepy little year in which:

  • A salacious tell-all book came out about him, written by a New York Times columnist;
  • He gave a nationally televised admission of steroid use to kick off spring training after his name was revealed on the list of guys who tested positive during the sample testing period;
  • He had hip surgery;
  • He nonetheless hit a home run on the first swing he took after recovering from hip surgery;
  • His relationship with Kate Hudson was all over the tabloids;
  • The story about him allegedly having a painting of him depicted as a centaur in his room broke; and
  • The ENTIRE runup to the postseason and every single postseason story about him and the Yankees that year was about how, in the past, Rodriguez had choked in the postseason.

After the World Series that year, ESPN’s Jim Caple called it “the most interesting season of [Rodriguez’s] life by far.” But sure, “A-Rod was not the focus.” He was just a regular joe, going hardly noticed by people. Most of us forgot what he even looked like.

It must be nice to be a radio/columnist dude. You can just make up stuff all you want and merely assert it with no care whatsoever about, you know, reality.

Report: The Yankees were “fuming” at how A-Rod handled his early arrival to spring training

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Alex Rodriguez arrived to Yankees camp in Tampa, Florida today, first completing a physical before doing his first workout at the team’s minor league complex. Normally teams would applaud their players for reporting early. It’s showing initiative. But this is A-Rod we are talking about, so of course somebody has a problem with it.

According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Yankees officials were “fuming” that A-Rod didn’t give them a heads up about his early arrival. Really:

A-Rod’s early arrival was a bit of a surprise, as many had pegged him for a Wednesday appearance when position players are slated to report to Steinbrenner Field.

Roughly 20 reporters and a handful of cameras were on hand at the minor-league complex to greet A-Rod, a fraction of what had been expected for his arrival.

But while the early start may have lessened the media boom, it also caught the Yankees by surprise, leaving Brian Cashman and the team’s media relations staff scrambling for answers when asked about Rodriguez’s rumored arrival.

The Yankees had no issues with A-Rod arriving on Monday, but team officials were fuming that he hadn’t alerted them to his plans.

“He’s learned nothing,” said one baseball executive. “He’s the same old guy. He just did what he wanted to do.”

And if A-Rod merely reported on time with the rest of the position players, we’d likely hear an anonymous source saying the Yankees were disappointed he didn’t get there early to show that he means business after his year-long PED suspension. We’re in damned if you do, damned if you don’t territory here and it’s beyond silly. But it’s also oh-so-predictable.

Columnist wants to take 190 home runs away from Alex Rodriguez

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Philip Hersh — an Olympics writer who hasn’t covered baseball in eons — has decided that today is the day to make a brave claim: someone should go back and take home runs away from Alex Rodriguez:

If baseball’s leaders were fully committed to anti-doping, there would be no way Rodriguez could get close to Bonds’ 762 (***) home runs, no matter how many more years the 39-year-old A-Rod plays.

Because baseball should wipe at least 190 home runs from Rodriguez’ current total of 654.

He wants to do this, see, because that’s the number of home runs A-Rod hit in seasons he has either admitted to or was caught using drugs. No word on why Hersh takes Rodriguez’s word for that here when he would almost certainly call A-Rod a pathological liar elsewhere, but let him go, he’s on a roll. Not as hot a roll as he was on a couple of years ago at Hall of Fame voting time, but it’s hard to beat one’s personal best.

This is obviously an idea designed to inspire a reaction, not one of any actual intellectual merit. If it was the latter, after all, Hersh would explain how to do this with other players like Barry Bonds, whose drug use has been documented but by no means specifically contained to a certain set of years. Or Willie Mays, for that matter, who took what are now classified as performance enhancing drugs. Or any number of other players. Maybe Hersh doesn’t have enough asterisks in his office to handle that part of the conversation.

In any event, we’ve covered this ground in the past. Here is why the whitewashing of baseball history is a bad idea. Here is why the hurt feelings of sports columnists are no basis to even consider trying to do so.

Now, be a good boy, Phillip, and go back and cover individual sports in which individual performances can and are routinely nullified immediately after the fact. We’ll wake you up next December when it’s time to go “stick it to the cheaters” with your Hall of Fame ballot again.