Archive for the 'Alex Rodriguez' Category

…. Voice of reason

The NY Daily News’ Bill Madden is in the minority when it comes to common sense:

….the H

all of Fame’s Great Dilemma: It continues to bill itself as a museum, and the custodian of the game’s history, and records. But down the road, how does the Hall justify that if it excludes the holders of the most significant of those records?

…. with 15 MVP and Cy Young Awards between them, Clemens, ninth all-time in wins and third in strikeouts, and Bonds, the all-time home run leader, are the two most decorated players in the history of the Baseball Writers’ awards voting — and yet those same writers, many of whom are of the opinion they have an obligation to abide by the “integrity and sportsmanship” clause, feel compelled to say “No” when it comes to a plaque in Cooperstown.

…. “The problem you have now is that the Hall of Fame is supposed to tell the history of the game, good and bad,” said a baseball official, “and unfortunately there is this inconsistency between the records and the people elected to the Hall. If you’re going to keep out the suspected steroids players, don’t you then also have to put an asterisk or something on their records? You can’t have it both ways. Obviously, the commissioner has no intention of putting an asterisk on the records, and so, if they’re going to stand, Bonds and Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame. And, frankly, so, too, should Rose.”

Um, yeah. I’ve been saying that for going on a decade. Better late than never.

Meanwhile, Mike Lupica, (savior of children, baseball and integrity, though maybe not in that order) still wants us to know he’s got it right about Bonds and Clemens:

…. You break no laws, by the way, if you don’t care whether Clemens and Bonds and Sosa were shooting up in the dugout.

You don’t have to care.

But if you do, ask yourself a question:

Do you believe Clemens was clean over the second half of his career?

Once again, we see how it is with guys with a computer, a newspaper and am axe to grind. “Apologize.” Done. “Not enough.” “Gotcha, now go on trial.” Beat it. “Not enough.”

On and on. Just remember that Clemens was better than Lupica’s boyhood idols, Bonds was better than Lupica’s boyhood heroes, and that’s why he won’t let up. Guys like Palmeiro, guys like Ramirez, those guys he’s already forgotten about. Jason Grimsley? The only time Jason Grimsley will be in a Lupica article is if he shoots somebody. He didn’t beat an immortal.

UPDATE: In a related article written by Murray Chass, I came across this Buster Olney quote:

“The institution of baseball condoned the use of performance-enhancing drugs for almost two decades with inaction. To hold it against a handful of individuals now is, to me, retroactive morality.”

Again, not to belabor the point, but I have been saying that for going on a decade. At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll also mention that Pete Rose is in the same boat with these moving target assholes.. The sportswriters who now champion his permanent exclusion from baseball absolutely knew he was betting on sports for years; and at least a couple of them suspected he was betting on baseball. They said, wrote and did nothing, until it was politically expedient to act shocked and horrified.

On and on…. They demanded that Rose admit what he did, come clean, and apologize. The minute he did, they jumped down his throat insisting that he didn’t apologize the right way. Jason Giambi went through the exact same thing. So did A-Rod. Only Andy Pettitte appeared to handle his apology the right way. Of course, the writers already didn’t believe he was cheating anyway. He was an acknowledged “good guy,” which meant that he was a good interview for the sycophants.

…. Front-page

Grant over at McCovey Chronicles wrote a simply outstanding article about the McGwire situation, and the whole steroids and baseball issue, and comes away with a :

…. This isn’t to imply that it was just fine that a large percentage of the players were using. It’s not something that’s inconsequential, and it isn’t something that can be laughed off because a lot of players were using. But, good gravy, please stop the good vs. evil, hobbits vs. orcs, black and white discussion. Stop the false dichotomy of players from THE STEROID ERA vs. the OLD-TIMERS who did things the right way and who, if offered a way to extend their careers and improve their numbers with some chemicals, would have said “No way! I’m an old-timer who does things the right way!” I’m not sure if Rod Carew, Robin Yount, or Paul Molitor would have used steroids if they played in an era saturated in chemical enhancements, but the odds are that one of them would have. I say we kick them all out using the “Fallibility of Man” clause, just to be sure.

So when I hear or read that McGwire shouldn’t get in the Hall of Fame because he didn’t apologize the right way, it makes me stabby. Apologize to whom? To me? I had an idea he was using at the time, and I didn’t really care.

Makes me stabby? Nice. Very nice.

Go over there, and read the whole thing.

…. More more more

This is getting ridiculous:

…. McGwire doesn’t get off the hook, and leave Bonds hanging on one of his own, because people like him more. Or because Cardinals manager Tony La Russa – who starts to come across as some unindicted coconspirator with McGwire – wants to rewrite his personal history as much as Mc-Gwire does.

Nobody is defending what Bonds did with his own drug use, ever. But Bonds didn’t start the “steroid era.” McGwire is the one who did that. He doesn’t get cleared now because of a crying jag that started to make you think he was watching some kind of all-day “Old Yeller” movie marathon.

The guy sure did do a lot of crying, before he ever got to Costas. It was reported in the St. Louis paper that he cried on the phone. It was reported in USA Today by Mel Antonen that he cried on the phone. Tim Kurkjian reported that McGwire cried on the phone with him. Everybody who watched the Costas interview saw what happened there. But the question that doesn’t go away is why he was so broken up if all he was doing was taking “low dosages” of steroids to heal.

Wow. I mean, wow. It’s hard to imagine a more pompous, self-aggrandizing response. Just who the hell does Mike Lupica think he is? Sure, he can be a terrific sportswriter, but man, is he coming off small right here.

And I’m not gonna let it slide. I can’t. It’s wrong. It’s indefensible, really.

If there’s only one place in the world where you can read about how the so-called defenders of the game get called out for the blatant hypocrisy, it’ll be here at OBM. I’ll defend the players. I’ll defend their right to be treated as human beings, as fallible. I’ll defend my favorites, and I’ll even defend the ones I didn’t care so much about. They are men who play games. They stand there, in the spotlight, with all the pressure you can imagine in a world where they get paid millions of dollars to run around and hit and throw and catch a ball. It bears mentioning that sportswriters like Lupica are often the source of much of that pressure.

Be sure of that. When Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez fail, when they run out a lousy playoff performance, or strike out with the game on the line; guys like Lupica make their bones telling us how lousy they are:

…. he has made a career of hitting home runs and knocking in runs and compiling some of the best numbers in the history of his game. What he has never done is play in a World Series, even though he was supposed to play in one every year when the Yankees beat the Red Sox out of getting him after the 2003 season. He carried the Yankees for one first-round series in 2004 against the Twins and has never done it again when the games matter the most.

…. Thirty-one to play now. Yankees six out in the wild-card race. They left runners on base the way they have all year. Tuesday night they finally heard about it, and good, the $300 million third baseman most of all. Of course he was the last batter of the game for the Yankees, one last runner on base. Of course he got struck out and got booed one last time for good measure.

That’s from two years ago, when A-Rod didn’t come through. The Yankees lost to the Red Sox, and Lupica’s lead –and back-page headline, by the way– was Enough blame to go around, but it lands on A-Rod.

And that was before A-Rod , which, of course, didn’t satisfy Mike -Hall of Fame Defender- Lupica:

…. Alex Rodriguez gave us more than you thought he would when he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, a lot more than any big baseball star ever has. Rodriguez gave us his version of the truth. But that’s all it was, his version, and one only provided because he finally got caught.

Rodriguez says he was only dirty when he played in Texas but cleaner than corners on a hospital bed when he was in Seattle before that, and later when he got to New York.

We are supposed to accept all that as gospel because he has made this kind of television confession now. Or maybe he just expects us to believe him because he has always been such a good scout.

Here’s an idea. Since you seem to think it’s completely acceptable to walk around all day telling everyone what they’re supposed to, let me tell you what to do:

Stick to writing about the game. Stop acting like your job is to break these athletes down, make them accountable, hold their feet to the fire, or whatever version of saving the children you happen to posturing about on any given day. You’re not David Halbestram, writing about Vietnam. You’re not Woodward and Bernstein, breaking the Watergate scandal. You’re a sportswriter. If it wasn’t for your ridiculous, gas-bag television show, no one in the world would even know what you look like.

It’s the players that matter to fans. It’s the teams that we root for. Not the sportswriters. And, honestly, if you didn’t write about A-Rod’s girlfriend, or McGwire’s steroids supplier, we’d never notice. Really. We don’t care.

You, and Tom Verducci and the rest of you Great Defenders think you are the story. You’re not. And, quite honestly, we’re all tired of hearing about it. Let it go. Your heroes let you down? Please. Get over it. Let it go.

Pete Rose. Jason Giambi. Marion Jones. A-Rod. Manny Ramirez. David Ortiz. Andy Pettitte. And you made damn sure that Mark McGwire knew he was never ever gonna get in the Hall of Fame if he didn’t apologize. On and on, you sat there, and called for their heads, like some King of all that’s Right. Except that the only way you show up like a King is when you’re being a royal pain in the ass. Not one time did any of these athletes satisfy your demands. Not one mea culpa was good enough. That’s the real story. Why did McGwire bother? We all have seen how you treated every other athlete who capitulated your demands. Why would anyone even consider coming clean, when this is what you get?

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa are still in your sights. They haven’t asked for your forgiveness yet, have they? And given the shameless way you and the rest of you Great Defenders are acting, why would they ever even consider it? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Shame on you. Shame on all of you.

UPDATE: Here’s another voice of reason:

…. In the wake of Mark McGwire’s admission that he used steroids and his blubbering, Costas-ized public apology, there’s been a good deal of faux outrage, petty character assassination, bad spelling, and even worse logic as the spineless hacks at the BBWAA and their willing sheep in the blogosphere rushed to pronounce judgement on Big Mac. There were the usual hyperbolic calls for records to be expunged, for purity to be restored to the game, and that sort of sanctimonious nonsense. There were those who nobly pretended to be shocked by McGwire’s admission. And then, there were those who laughed.

All the way to the bank.

I am speaking, of course, of the MLB owners cabal, and, in particular, of the leader, the man with the penchant for the short-sleeve dress shirt, one Bud Selig.

Well done. Hat tip to B

…. Yankees win!!!!

History made tonight. Matsui becomes the first Japanese-born player to win a World Series MVP, and a World Series, period.

Congratulations to the Yankees.

UPDATE: As I said yesterday, today’s game was all about Pettitte commanding the strike zone, and even though he walked five tonight, in the actual game situations, he was putting the ball exactly where he wanted to. Joe West was a bit inconsistent with his ball and strike calls, but Pettite refused to give in, and, in the end, with the early three-run lead, he was able to make sure that the pitches the Phillies swung at, the pitches that the Phillies hit, were the pitches he wanted them to swing at, the pitches he wanted them to hit. The pitches he wanted to them to hit, were thrown to the hitters he wanted to allow to have a chance to hit. All in all, the difference in the game was that Andy Pettitte commanded the strike zone, and by doing so, he won his 18th postseason game.

By the way, any talk about the Hall of Fame for Andy Pettitte (229-135 regular season record) must now consider the 40 postseason starts ( a whole extra seasons worth of work), and the 18-9 postseason record –which would raise his overall record to 257-144– was compiled at the highest, most demanding, pressure-filled level. Andy Pettitte has now won 5 postseason series clinching games. He’s now won 3 World Series clinching games. To suggest that he is the same pitcher as Jack Morris, as I read several times this week, is absurd. He’s had more than three times as many postseason wins as Morris, and he’s now won five –FIVE– World Series Championships.

Andy Pettitte did, in fact, command the strike zone, and, as I predicted, the Yankees did get to Pedro Martinez; and, as I predicted, if a Yankee hitter had an otherwordly game, he would steal the MVP from Mariano Rivera; and, as I predicted, if those things happened, the Yankees would be World Champions. And, they are.

…. Tasteless

Just the penultimate moment of the World Series, and Fox immediately cuts to a commercial instead of staying with the Sandman moment as Mariano comes in. Disgraceful.

…. Game Six

Just writing that gives me bad mojo…..

Apparently, Girardi doesn’t want to swap A-Rod and Texeira in the lineup, not one article or report has mentioned the possibility. The NY Daily News says that Tex has been taking extra batting practice. It was also noted that most of the switch hitters in the Series are doing poorly, suggesting that the long delays between games, as well as the constant switching back and forth may be making it hard for the switchies to get in a rhythm. Makes sense to me.

So, starting with that, Girardi ought to switch the two hitters, to ensure that A-Rod gets as many at-bats as possible. I noticed it Monday night in the first inning, when Texeira failed to even advance Damon, let alone get a hit. I thought that the situation would arise later in the game when an inning would be extended or ended in Texeira’s hands. I didn’t think it would be the ninth, as the tying run, but it was, and Texeira looked terrible in failing to get the game into A-Rod’s hands. The time has come to make the change.

As for Pettitte going tonight, well, that decision was made when the Yankees went with Sabathia in Game Four. Once you do that, there’s no going back. They messed with Chamberlain until he completely lost command of his pitches, they have no trust whatsoever in Gaudin, and there’s nobody else. I think the Yanks get to Martinez tonight, but the game is in Pettitte’s hands. If he can’t keep the Phillies at bay, we’re gonna see a Game Seven.

The first two innings will be key. If Pettitte cannot command the strike zone, the Yankees are in trouble, because, other than the three starters and Rivera, there’s no one Girardi trusts anymore.

…. Bad game

….for the Yankees.

Bad game for AJ Burnett. Didn’t anyone on the Yankees think the Phillies would swing earlier in the count, after Burnett went 22 for 25 first pitch strikes?

Bad game for Girardi. What the hell was he doing having Texeira in the third spot batting .063? Why didn’t he pinch run for Matsui in the ninth?

Bad game for the relievers. How many home runs can these guys give up?

Terrible postseason for Texeira. Easily the goat if the Yankees don’t close these guys out. Easily.

Well, except for Robinson Cano, who looks so lost at the plate, he might as well be playing for the Giants.

Great game/series/postseason for Alex Rodriguez. Need I say more?

Great game for Johnny Damon. Moving into series MVP conversation.

GREAT game for Chase Utley. Does he do anything other than hit the ball hard and far?

Back to the Bronx.

…. Twenty-seven

The Yankees are 27 outs away from their 27th World Series championship. They’ll send AJ Burnett tonight to face Cliff Lee, who has dominated like few in history this post season. Odds are likely the series heads back to the Bronx for at least one more game, but should it end tonight, it seems like a tough choice for MVP. It seems like Damon has been involved in a lot of the scoring in Philadelphia, (but in reality, he’s been hot the last game and a half) Derek Jeter has the best batting average and the most hits in the Series, and A-Rod has made the most of his two safeties.

I think it’s gonna end up being Rivera. There’s no chance Burnett goes the distance, so without question, if the Yankees win tonight, Rivera will be getting the last three outs. If that happens, he’ll have three saves, allowed no runs, and basically saved the season with his two inning save in Game 2. Unless one of the two superstars singlehandedly wins the game, it’s gonna be the Sandman.

UPDATE: So much for that. It looks like Cliff Lee could be the MVP, whether the Phillies come all the way back or not. As for the Yankees, this is the first game of the postseason that they had a starter get knocked out early.

…. It’s a mistake

Rebecca Glass wonders whether Joe Girardi should have gone to Mariano Rivera in the seventh inning last night:

…. Here’s the leverage argument:

Because of the importance of the situation, with the tying runs on base and the Angels’ best hitters (Hunter-Guerrerro-Morales) due up, Girardi should have gone to Mariano Rivera.

It’s a claim that much of the MSM and their readers/viewers will brush off as being too reactionary, but it’s based on the single, simple premise discussed above:

Teams should use their very best relievers in the highest leveraged situations.

At the time, there is utterly no way to predict that the ninth inning will matter or how much it will matter. What you know, however, is that at the time, the two potential tying runs on base are the two most important runs you want to prevent from scoring if you are the Yankees.

She is absolutely right. Watching the game, I was aghast when I saw Burnett come out for the seventh. In my view, the hitters had just gotten him off the hook for his horrible start to the game, the bullpen was fully rested after Sabbathia went eight innings and then they had a day off…. I mean, no matter how you slice it, there was no reason whatsoever to allow Burnett to continue in that game. Not to mention, as Don Zimmer used to say to Joe Torre –when Girardi was his catcher, by the way– “it gets late early in the postseason.” For Girardi and the Yankees, it’s late now. Girardi’s error could cost his team everything, and his error was clear the minute it was happening. If you were in the Yankees dugout, how did you not wonder what the hell was going on? What do you think Derek Jeter was thinking as he watched Burnett sweat his way through the 8th and 9th place hitters on the Angels?

The Yankees were nine outs from the World Series, with a two run lead, a shaky all season long starter who had already been raked, and every reliever in his bullpen was available. And in case you are still wondering if I am over reacting, let me make it even clearer:


That means that all Girardi had to do was get three outs without allowing a run, in an inning in which the lineup was #8 hitter, #9 hitter, and Chone Figgins, who was 2 for 31 to that point in the postseason. To get that job done, he used the aforementioned shaky AJ Burnett, who allowed two base-runners in about ten seconds, and then –with the tying runs on base and nobody out in a game in which the Yankees were nine outs from going to the Serious– Girardi went to Damaso Marte, easily the worst pitcher on the Yankees playoff roster, if not the worst pitcher in the entire playoff universe. Damaso Marte. The same Damaso Marte who appeared in 21 games in 2009, threw 13 innings, allowed 14 earned runs and posted a 9.45 ERA.

How is that sequence even remotely defensible? I’ve been looking all day, and am still waiting for the dozens of articles questioning the choices Girardi made in that inning. Here’s one, from Jesse Spector, of the NY Daily News:

…. the burden of a collapse in this series would fall squarely on Girardi, who has made decisions in both losses that are indefensible. In both Games 3 and 5 in Anaheim, Girardi’s management of the Yankees’ pitching staff left fans saying to themselves, “What the hell is he thinking?” And that was before Alfredo Aceves coughed up Game 3, and before A.J. Burnett let the tying runs get on base in Game 5. From the time that Aceves came in, and from the time that Burnett stayed in after a long top of the frame, Girardi’s decisions had “mistake” written all over them. Both proved catastrophic.

Is that it? The umpires are getting raked for their mistakes. They’re writing about how Nick Swisher made the first and the last outs in that fateful seventh. They’re talking about the lousy broadcast coverage, the lack of insight, how Scoscia misused Brian Fuentes, how Fuentes shouldn’t have thrown that fastball to A-Rod. Girardi’s complete mishandling of the bottom of the seventh inning seems to have happened in a vacuum. I was screaming at the television, from the minute he sent Burnett out there, I mean, that was a farce. Here’s the heat Girardi has taken for it, the MLB page for Sports Illustrated has the following headlines:

Breathless ninth drains emotion from all
Angels’ aggressive approach pays dividends
Game 6 critical for Yanks’ Series rotation

From ESPN’s MLB page:

Managing their thoughts

Here’s what I would’ve chosen:

Girardi’s gaffe
Loss falls on manager

…. Bondsian

Alex Rodriguez has sportswriters and talk show hosts all atwitter as they struggle to come up with adequate comparisons to his performance thus far this postseason. Of course, Giants fans know exactly who he is reminding everyone of, while theBud the Selig-imposed gag order on writing,m saying or thinking positive things about Barry Bonds is still in effect.

Bonds 2002 17 G 45 AB 18 R 16 H 2 2B 1 3B 8 HR 16 RBI 27 BB 6 SO .356/.581/.978 1.559 OPS
A Rod 2009 07 G 27 AB 9 R 11 H 1 2B 0 3B 5 HR 11 RBI 4 BB 4 SO .407/.469/1.000 1.469 OPS

Turns out, the comparisons are actually pretty much right on. A Rod is having a Bondsian postseason. He’s way off in the walks, but teams pretty much walked Bonds every chance they got that year, so he’s never gonna get there. But, he’s got the power, the on base percentage is right there, and he’s actually got a better batting average so far. He’s gotta do it for another seven or ten games, but. still in all, he looks great side by side with the greatest postseason performance in baseball history, which is saying something.

UPDATE: David Pinto also notices the lack of walks:

…. They pitch to him because the Yankees lineup behind him is pretty potent. This isn’t the Giants, with Bonds and a bunch of nobodies. Teams need to make an effort to get an out with A-Rod at the plate, otherwise they’re just playing to the Yankees OBP strength.

I’ve always believed that Bonds was walked as often as he was because he was so universally hated, but that’s probably the Giants fan in me being so pissed that they could get away with walking him so constantly.

Teams started walking him for real in 2001, after he started the year with 11 home runs in 75 April at bats (he ended the season with 177 free passes). But those ’01-’02 Giants were the best Giants teams of the last twenty years. Besides Jeff Kent, who was a truly great hitter, the Giants during that time had a still terrific Rich Aurilia, Benito Santiago was pretty good, David Bell had a terrific year in ’02, Reggie Sanders had 23 home runs in ’02. In ’03, the team started being weaker, Grissom and Jose Cruz Jr. each had 20, but Bonds ended up with 148 walks in 130 games played. In ’04, things got out of hand. Grissom and Feliz had 22 home runs, but they were useless as the second and third best hitters on the team. Bonds walked 232 times that season, 68 of them intentional, and probably another 50 or 60 as semi-intentional, and virtually no team paid a significant price for avoiding him.

So really, only once in that time did Bonds have someone even close to the hitter Texeira is, in 2002, when Kent hit 37 home runs. I remember it feeling different at the time, but now that I’m looking back, Pinto’s right.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
None of the opinions expressed should be construed as being endorsed by the
San Francisco Giants, Major League Baseball, or any other organization mentioned herein.

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