Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for what is effectively a year; 162 games and the 2014 playoffs. Both myself and anyone even remotely interested has written about this ad nauseum, so I’ll just assume you’re up to date on the drama and info (or rather, the lack of info) and are sick of the topic from that standpoint. But, no matter how tired we are of this situation, it still matters. Here are two reasons why A-Rod’s suspension is important to Yankee fans:
At some point, all of the noise surrounding the latest Alex Rodriguez scandal became more interesting to me than the actual scandal. This may be due to the fact that I haven’t seen any of MLB’s evidence yet and they don’t have a failed drug test, but whatever. The point is, the colors of the debate are more interesting than the debate itself – and just as ridiculous as A-Rod himself.
To be clear, we know A-Rod did steroids – he finally admitted as much in 2009. Not that he had any choice but to come clean, but we did hear it from his mouth. He did it. We know it. And I’m sure he has been using Human Growth Hormone, testosterone and who the hell knows what else all this time around. You get that? I think it’s all true. I’m not a gambling man, but I’d bet money on it. And yeah, we know A-Rod was not been honest about it. He lied in interviews that were specifically about this topic. So we know who A-Rod is. That much is clear.
But the debate surrounding this circus is populated by false white knights who sit on their proverbial high horses and cast A-Rod as not just the leper, but as the embodiment of evil. They’ve made him the face of all that is wrong with baseball, and even though A-Rod has done it to himself time and time again, he doesn’t deserve what is being dumped on him. That being:
The narrative: A-Rod is ruining baseball because he’s a cheater and is the worst person ever.
This sure did move the Ryan Braun story to the back burner, huh?
Nobody has been more disingenuous than this mutt. Maybe it’s his mammoth insecurity complex. Maybe it’s his enormous capacity for self-delusion. Maybe it’s daddy issues for a man who was raised by a single mother.
Extreme, no? Since 2009, there must have been at least 100 articles like this. At least. You might think this is an extreme example, but it’s not. I think it’s clear, A-Rod is a pathological liar and a cheater (in a game that’s ripe with cheaters – that is, if you consider using PEDs cheating, and I think it’s a far cry from the 1951 New York Giants stealing signs with a telescope). And, I feel I would be remiss to not bring up an old saying: "If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying." A-Rod did not make that up.
The case that PEDs ruins the records
I’ve always disagreed with this idea because every era of baseball is so different. For example:
- The ballparks used to be much larger – Babe Ruth hit homers of 450 to 500 feet with regularity – new parks max out right around 400 feet. It’s a big difference.
- The pitcher’s mound used to be six inches higher – surely that has fundamentally changed the delivery angle of the baseball? Yet I never hear ANYONE talk about this. Also, several pitchs, like the spitter and the shiner, have been outlawed.
- There haven’t always been night games and intercontinental travel. Every time the Blue Jays go to and get home from a road trip, they have to go through customs.
- Babe Ruth didn’t have a person trainer, he had hot dogs. Let’s not forget modern medical science, dieticians, money and other advantages the modern player has over the past player.
- What about amphetamines, aka "greenies?" MLB didn’t outlaw these until just a few years ago. I recall Johnny Damon lamenting something to the effect of, "You’re going to see a lot of boring games come August." Players were using greenies at least as far back as the fifties. David Wells mentioned in his book that there were always two pots of coffee in the club house: a regular pot of coffee and another one that had greenies in it.
My point is that Babe Ruth is the best player of all time. He could hit and pitch. End of discussion.
No, my point is that comparing guys who played in different eras is an inherently flawed comparison because the variables change over time. So records be damned – and where were all of you folks in nineties?
Let’s talk about the cast in this circus for second.
People who are complaining about A-Rod:
Players are tweeting they want longer penalties for PED use. Hey guys, call the head of your union – don’t just throw things up on twitter – you can actually effect change here!
The Commissioner’s Office has finally started doing something about PEDs over the last few years, but Bed Selig doesn’t exactly have moral authority on this issue. Again, the nineties.
As mentioned above, the press is having a field day with this story, ignoring their own culpability in the issue. THE NINETIES! Mark McGuire has Andro in his locker – there was like one article!
People who could have done something about PEDs twenty years ago
Obviously, the players and the MLB Players Association knew what was going on. These guys were blowing up like balloons. And Bud Selig has eyes, like the rest of us, and the press – but no, everyone just went along with it and had a good time reporting on the home run race as everyone lined their pockets with cash and baseball made a post strike comeback in a big, big way.
People who got rich off baseball.
See above. If you ever wonder why nobody said anything about PEDs in baseball until Congress embarrassed them publicly (Because then President Bush is a big baseball fan – did he trade Sammy Sosa because of steroid use? We’ll never know – Bush isn’t talking and Sosa forgot how to speak English. [That's the best defense ever, by the way.])
NOTE: none of the players who were suspended on Monday failed a drug test. MLB’s drug testing program apparently has some holes in it – better testing would cost more money, and as previously discussed, these guys favor money above all else.
The fallacy of competitive balance
This brings us to the falicy of competitive balance. If none of these guys failed drug tests, then we don’t really know who is and is not clean. Therefore, how can we assume there is true competitive balance if the drug testing program doesn’t work? It makes this whole thing a big waste of time. And I’m still trying to figure out why David Ortiz, who failed a drug test and had a crazy bout of Roid Rage just a few weeks ago, never got suspended – the point being that I’m sure there are lots of guys who didn’t get caught and are currently playing in MLB.
Sure, A-Rod is a cheater and I’m sure he’s just as guilty as he was last time, but let’s not pretend he’s the only one to blame in this situation. There’s plenty of blame to go around.
Alex Rodriguez continues to invoke ire from the western world. His latest infraction: attempting to pick up chicks via ball boy communication while he was benched during the ALCS.
Just to recap for anyone who needs a refresher, behavior for baseball players during games goes as follows:
Remember, 2 MVPs and 1 World Series title count for NOTHING when you’re benched for lack of production! (Don Mattingly is beloved by Yankee fans because… he gave us something to watch while the rest of the team stunk? I guess…) This should CLEARLY be the focus of the press as the Yankees face elimination in the ALCS.
Just to be clear: not saying A-Rod’s focus should be on chicks, but the best player on the team (Robinson Cano) hasn’t had a hit since Game 2 of the ALDS. Seems like a bigger story.
Look, Yankee fans, I know A-Rod is, for a certain portion of you, the guy you love to hate, but the Alex Rodriguez bashing is getting old. I know this is the playoffs and the stakes are high, but jeez. Let’s take a look at the Yankees 2012 post season numbers so far:
Sure, Ibanez was the big hero last night with two homers, but he only has 5 at bats in this series, so he’s not a regular. As for the every day players, Jeter, Teixeira and Martin are hitting, but the rest of the starting position players? Not so much. If A-Rod didn’t have one more at bat than Granderson, their stats would be identical. Granderson hit 41 homers this season, and he’s basically turned into an all or nothing guy, and so far, nothing is what has shown up from him… and I haven’t heard one person say shit about that. Not on the radio, not on the web and not via text. Everyone just maintains that A-Rod sucks, which isn’t wrong right now, but he’s not the only lifeless bat on this team. If Cano hadn’t picked up that last minute RBI double in Game 1, he’d be about where A-Rod is in terms of production, and those were just tack on runs… so why doesn’t anyone complain about Cano? He’s supposed to be one of the great hitters in the game right now, and he’s not doing much of anything in this series. And frankly, A-Rod is a broken down old man, but Cano and Granderson are supposed to be in their primes. What gives? Where’s the complaints?
I guess the problem is that these other guys are “True Yankees” and A-Rod is just some hired gun… except when he carried the offense on his back to a World Series title in 2009. But then, that doesn’t count because A-Rod did steroids, right? Something like that. Jeter is 6-13 in this series, so who cares if he’s made 2 errors in 3 games and grounded out to 3rd with the bases loaded in a pivotal spot in game 2? Nobody, that’s who.
I know, I’m just wasting my time trying to convince A-Rod haters that he’s not the reason they lost game 2 and not the reason they offense has been lifeless this series, but I had to try. I figure A-Rod deserves and advocate because… you know… 2 MVPs with the Yankees. One World Series title that he had a lot to do with .
I know the little infielder that is known as Scrappy around my house isn’t the greatest player in the world, but we love us some Ramiro Pena, and now that A-Rod’s hand is broken, he’s on his way to join the team. It sure has been a busy couple of weeks in Yankee Land.
Just to recap:
- Brett Gardner had another setback and now is having what sounds like season ending elbow surgery
- Nick Swisher is day to day with a hip flexor (or whatever the hell that’s called), making the outfield that much thinner, at least temporarily
- then KABOOM! Ichiro Suzuki is suddenly a Yankee, patrolling right field, at least temporarily, and then moving to left field when Swisher returns… or so I heard on the radio
- A-Rod gets hit in the hand by King Felix, breaking that shiz, and now Scrappy becomes the back up infielder, surely giving Jason Nix and Eric Chavez a lot more work at 3rd base
Not to be too indelicate, but what the FUCK is going to happen next? Hopefully, something good – Joba Chamberlain may only be days away from rejoining the team, and that sure would be a boost to the bullpen. I was just about ready to close the book on Freddy Garcia, but last night’s start was a bit above average what with his 7.1 IP and 9 Ks, but 3 ER is nothing to get too excited about. Still, not a bad start, but I’d rather see what David Phelps can do at this point. (Also, it’s fair to point out that the Mariners suck at hitting – their team average is under .200 in their home park.)
Today’s day rubber game is one the Yankees really need to win for two reasons:
- the Mariners totally blow
- they got swept in a four game series by Oakland, who is not bad at all, but sheesh – four loses in a row to the same team… that’s assy
Hisashi Iwakuma is barely even a starter – he’s bee a reliever for most of the year, as far as I know, and when Ivan Nova starts, the Yankees generally win, so… let’s go Scrappy!
I know the thing to do in regard to post season numbers is to pick on A-Rod until there’s nothing left, so I thought I’d take a look at C.C. Sabathia‘s numbers instead. Guess what? Outside of 2009, they ain’t so good.
Why is this a problem? It’s not, really – but it is the exact same argument everyone makes when they take A-Rod out back behind the shed and shoot him.
|6 Seasons (10 Series)||4.81||16||15||86||93||48||46||12||46||8||82||5||1||4||386||1.616||9.7||1.3||4.8||8.6||1.78|
See? 2009 is sparkling, but the other years… CC is not really getting it done. I guess way back in 2001 was a fine start, but recently, outside of 2009, the guy hasn’t done much of anything. How many more years of this are going to be acceptable until the A-Rod haters turn on CC? Maybe none – after all, Sabathia is the guy who gets the Yankees there during the regular season – but you have to admit, 2010 and 2011 have been a bust.
Protect us from his fastball command,
Protect us from his 59 feet curve balls,
And give strength to that new tattoo that is not helping at all.
Lord, guide Russell Martin’s Canadian glove hand,
Let him block pitches and wield a mighty April-like bat.
Lord, help Derek Jeter hit with runners in scoring position,
Seriously – people are booing A-Rod and Jeter has left a small village on the base paths.
And Lord, speaking of Alex Rodriguez and, while we’re at it, the middle of the order –
Can you do something about Mark Teixeira’s anemic bat?
Lord, keep Joe Girardi’s head in the game and out of the match up binder.
Make sure he doesn’t stick with A.J. for too long like he did with C.C. Sabathia last night.
I still can’t believe he let Brett Gardner bat in the 9th inning when they were down by one with a runner on.
Lord, How did it come to this? A season in the pitching hand of A.J. Burentt;
Is this because Jesus Montero didn’t get into the game last night?
Phil Hughes missed yet another start due to injury – this time, it’s the back spasms again. The Yankees bullpen put together a superior effort after Hector Noesi’s start – well, I guess Howell didn’t get anyone out but the combination of Valdes, Kontos, Laffey, Wade, Logan, Ayala and Mariano Rivera blanks the Rays completely. Joe Madden probably left Big Game James Shields in the game too long and the 8th inning proved to be his undoing as Eduardo Nunez homered and he lost a hard fought battle with Brett Gardner and then walked Derek Jeter. Robinson Cano made Madden pay for going with JP Howell for a lefty on lefty match up by doubling in the rest of the damage – before that inning, the Yankees only other scoring that the could eek out was a double by A-Rod that plated Derek Jeter. The Yankees are so close to clinching the AL East I can taste it! (It tastes like… victory.)
And since I’m already being weird: Red Sox starter Erik Bedard was served legal papers by a Yankee fan attorney regarding a child support dispute – the mom wants a cost of living increase because Bedard’s salary has gone up since their original agreement. Anyway, the Yankee fan, Tom Cabral, posted about it on Facebook and Yahoo.com didn’t have any problem taking screen grabs of what he wrote – or, what anyone of his Facebook friends wrote. They didn’t even bother to obscure his friends’ names. You can view the torrid tale here. Other stupid crap that’s currently posted on the MLB page at Yahoo includes a video discussion regarding whether or not Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time. Was that ever a question, even before he broke the record? And if no Mo, then who? Trevor Hoffman? Don’t make me laugh.
After a four game sweep of the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees headed to Boston to end a road trip with three games against the Red Sox – to determine the fate of the division!
Well, we all know how it turned out – Boston took two of three and reclaimed their hold on 1st place in the American League East. After the previous road trip and the beating the Yankees gave the White Sox, you might have had high expectations with the Yankees going into Fenway, and that would be fair – the Yankees are certainly playing better ball of late, even without A-Rod.
It just didn’t happen for the Yankees this weekend, and, as usual, the prime suspect was starting pitching. If the Yankees have had a theme over the last decade (minus a year or two), it’s been the starting pitching putting too much pressure on the bullpen, and this series was no different. On Friday, Bartolo Colon just didn’t have his best stuff (as has been the case through most of his starts since returning from the DL), CC Sabathia was just bad from the first inning (any time you see Fransisco Cervelli doing that half split catcher’s stance in the first inning, you know you’re in trouble) and Freddy Garcia through a zillion pitches in such a short while (98 pitches in 5 IP) that I’m shocked Sweaty Freddy didn’t dehydrate.
But whatever; the Yankees are one game back in the east now, and seven games up in the wild card – they’re going to the playoffs.
The Red Sox are inside CC’s head?
I heard people saying the Red Sox are inside CC Sabathia’s head before and after Saturday’s game… I don’t buy it. I know he hasn’t beaten them in four tries this year, but that’s they way it goes sometimes. He’s certainly had success against them before, and since coming to the Yankees, even if his lifetime numbers aren’t dominant against the Red Sox. And, it’s not like he had his best stuff on Saturday and the Red Sox beat him – he was bad right from the start. You can say that’s some sort of Red Sox hangover, but I don’t buy it.
Posada to ride the pine
Jorge Posada is going to be a pinch hitter for the rest of the year instead of part of a DH rotation with Andruw Jones as Eric Chavez takes over for him. It’s just another phase out of Posada’s Yankee career, which will be even more pronounced when Jesus Montero makes his appearance as part of September call ups Frankly, I’d rather see Montero in the roll full time, but I guess we’re stuck for a few more weeks.
Mo is human
It would have been nice for Mo to nail down the save last night and win a series at Fenway against the Red Sox, but it didn’t happen – a near home run that turns into a lead off double is pretty hard to pitch around, even for my savior. Oh well.
If you frequent the New York Times as often as I do (almost daily), it’s still easy to miss articles because their publication is so massive, and is even more so online, so it’s understandable if you missed this gem: Some Pet Owners Judge Jeter Name Best in Show
Before we get to the article, let me say this: Jorge Castillo has OUTDONE HIMSELF. This is sports journalism at it’s finest. Seriously. Pulitzer – no, F that – Nobel! Castillo deserves the Nobel Prize for this article!
Here are some notable quotes:
New York City, you see, is home to 33 dogs actively registered under the name Jeter. Across the Hudson, at the Valley Animal Hospital in Clifton, N.J., there are seven clients who go by the name Jeter, and on a single mail route in nearby Montclair, there are at least two Jeters — both reported to be friendly. In Jersey City, a Labrador is named Jeter; in Stamford, Conn., the city’s lone Jeter is a beagle.
Oh, those two Jeter dogs are friendly – that the lord! What if they were vicious, insane killer dogs who bark and when they bark, bees come out of their mouths? So, this begs the question: is Jeter one of the more popular names for dogs in our area?
In New York, Jeter does not come close to cracking the city’s 10 most popular dog names. That list consists of traditional dog names like Max, which 942 dogs answer to in the five boroughs. The only top name that could possibly be associated with an athlete is Rocky, which is the third-most popular name in the city, with 644 dogs licensed.
Guess not. But, let’s remember: Mr. Castillo said “Some Pet Owners Judge Jeter Name Best in Show,” not all. But do people name their kids after Jeter? Turns out, they do.
But pets are not the only Jeters around. According to the Social Security Administration, 47 baby boys nationwide were named Jeter in 2010, up from 39 in 2009. In 1998, five newborns were given the name.
Yet, Jeter as a baby name does not compare to another Yankees legend. In 1957, Mickey Mantle won the second of his back-to-back American league Most Valuable Player Awards and led the Yankees to the World Series title. That same, year 944 babies were named Mickey.
I was totally going to ask if Jeter was the most popular name for Yankee fans to name their kids, but nope, doesn’t look like it’s close. But, uhm, you know… nice factoid, I guess.
Jack Beibel, 16, of Montclair said he named his dog Jeter because the shortstop was his favorite player. His cockapoo has taken to it.
“If we yell, ‘Yankees,’ he starts barking,’ ” Beibel said. “And if we yell, ‘Red Sox,’ he kneels down.”
When reached for comment, my German Shepard mix remarked, “I find this all very undignified.”
Jeter, by this canine measure, is more popular than his teammates, according to statistics provided by the New York City Department of Health. There is, for instance, one licensed dog named A-Rod. There are eight licensed dogs named Tex in the city, although it is far from clear whether they are all named in honor of Mark Teixeira.
Take that, A-Rod! You may have MVP awards, a World Series ring, millions of dollars, fame,Cameron Diaz (you can keep her, actually), but hey, almost nobody is naming their dog after you. Almost nobody. Anyway, I asked my Golden Retriever for her thoughts on Jeter and she replied, “I go to my right better than he does.” I can’t argue with that – she’s the most gifted athlete since… well, since A-Rod. I think she could certainly field the ball at all infield and outfield positions, but I’m not sure how she’d do at making throws, especially to the plate from right field…
This is a real article. I did not make this up – I can’t stress that enough, because this seems like the sort of joke I’d make. (NOTE: see ‘Derek Jeter has a distinct old man smell.’) I can’t imagine what the New York Times wa thinking. I know the 3000 hit chase is nearing its close (as the article notes), so up until then, is it going to be general press policy to get these weird peripheral Jeter stories out there until he gets it done? Did everyone stop what they were doing and write their stories praising his career already so they wouldn’t have to rush when it happened, only to find that he got hurt and they had all the time they could need and now have nothing else to write about? I just don’t understand who comes up with this concept, writes the article and publishes it – via the New York Times. The Times! This is the sort of BS filler I expect from The Post. I love dogs, and to an extent, I’m a big fan of Derek Jeter; but lets get a hold of ourselves.
If you haven’t already, check out NoMaas.org’s interview with Mark Newman concerning the Yankees farm system – it’s interesting stuff. If you are not familiar with NoMaas, please be advised BEFORE you click the link that I am not responsible for any content on their site or affiliated with them in any way. I don’t have a problem with their site, but they make this blog look like courtesy class – especially the comments. (Just FYI)