The Yankees should hope that Tanaka is as disastrous as A-Rod

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You know you’ve reached peak A-Rod Derangement Syndrome when you use his experience with the Yankees as a warning sign. That’s what Joel Sherman does today at the New York Post. Here’s the tweet teasing the article:

And here’s the article. The upshot is just what the tweet implies: yes, everyone is happy on the day of the signing, but you never know what you’re going to get. With the “what you’re going to get” with A-Rod being painted as awful — the story literally says his example does not represent “success” — despite all the hope and promise his signing suggested back in 2004. Which is a pretty audacious level of revisionism.

What’s not in the article? Any mention that A-Rod led them to their last World Series title. That he won two MVP Awards in pinstripes. That in ten years with the Yankees he put up a line of .291/.386/.534 with 309 homers and 979 RBI, winning three Silver Slugger Awards. That during his tenure the Yankees won six division titles and won fewer than 90 games only twice (once when they won 89, once when he missed most of the season). That the Yankees were first in attendance every single year A-Rod played for them.

I’m not suggesting that A-Rod’s contract, financially speaking, ended up being the best deal. Nor am I suggesting the team-wide success and financial success of the franchise is attributable to A-Rod only. I am saying, however, that any suggestion that A-Rod was, in the aggregate, bad for the New York Yankees, takes a special kind of crazy and requires a special kind of denial of how good a baseball player and draw he was.

And, if Masahiro Tanaka is as successful with the Yankees as A-Rod was — if he wins a couple Cy Young Awards, routinely rates as one of the top pitchers in baseball and is part of a World Series champion — I don’t think that anyone would claim that the deal was a bad one like so many wish to do regarding A-Rod now.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.