Results tagged ‘ a-rod ’
“Play ground. By the swings. 3 o’clock. Be there or…”
No matter where you sat on the whole brewhaha involving A’s pitcher Dallas Braden and the man we love to hate, a.k.a. Alex Rodriguez, this is pretty much what one has to hear every time the young hurler opens his mouth.
Which is quite often.
Braden didn’t care for Rodriguez running across his mound a few weeks ago. OK, fine, even though it’s hard to find anyone who had ever heard of that as one of baseball’s unwritten rules. The general consensus seems to range from “I have never really heard about that one” to “I never gave much thought about it man”.
The A’s pitcher had his say at the time and it seemed like it was a genuine display emotion, in a way that made you respect the guy as a competitor.
But now he is just looking like an ass. He’s out of line insinuating, as he did this week, that a fight is brewing if and when he faces A-Rod in July, the next time the teams meet.
First of all, if Braden wants to be a tough guy, in the old-school manner of Don Drysdale, why doesn’t he just drill Rodriguez in the ribs the next time he faced him in that very game? Why wait then tell the world about it two months ahead of time?
“There are things that are going to have to happen,” Braden told CSN Bay Area on Wednesday. “Out of respect to my teammates, out of respect to the game. I think he’s probably garnered a new respect for the unwritten rules and the people who hold them close to their game. But I think you’re right, we don’t do much talking in the 209.”
Um, excuse me? We don’t do much talking in the 209?
How can you take a guy seriously who refers to the area code where he lives, in Stockton, Calif., as if to explain why you shouldn’t mess with him?
CC Sabathia, an Oakland native, certainly has a hard time doing so:
“He’s a clown,” CC Sabathia said of Braden. “Guy says he’s from the 209, what the [bleep] is that? That’s where I’m from and I don’t know what he’s talking about. Two-oh-nine. He needs to just calm down – put that in the paper. That’s just tired.”
Braden kept digging that hole a ‘lil deeper by going on call Rodriguez a “fool” for the crack he made at the time of the incident, when he laughed off the A’s pitcher as someone “with a handful of wins” in the big leagues.
While I am not a big fan of the “who the hell is Karim Garcia?” defense method, it’s not like there isn’t an argument for a player letting his play do most of his talking for him, preferably over a respectable amount of time.
Finally, Braden took the prima donna angle on Rodriguez.
“He’s an individualistic player,” Braden said. “He plays for the name on the back of the jersey, not the front. I don’t know if he’s noticed, but he doesn’t have a name on the back over there so he should play for the name on the front.”
In the past I would have done nothing but agree with this one, at one time early in the 2004 season even having listed the slugging third basemen on eBay for what could best be described as “a really low freakin’ price”.
But one can’t ignore the fact that until this incident we had been seeing a completely new A-Rod over the last year.
The guy has been carrying himself differently, playing his ass off (even in clutch situations) and by all accounts been a solid team mate. It was Rodriguez who took Robinson Cano aside early in spring training, telling him that “a player with your talent could have a couple of MVPs by now”.
Cano recounts drills where Rodriguez would create RBI scenarios such as second and third, one out. Cano would take 15 swings and then A-Rod would “break down not just the mechanics, but — just as vital — the mindset.”
Judging by the start to this season for the Yankees second basemen I’d say it had a profound impact.
Nope, sorry Mr. Braden, any attempt to paint him with that same broad brush we once did just isn’t going to get the job done anymore.
Frankly, it’s just time for you to act like an adult and let things go. You got your 15 minutes of fame, plucked from baseball obscurity by some odd confluence of events that could only happen to the human lightning rod known as Alex Rodriguez.
Now it’s time you to let this pearl of wisdom from Crash Davis sink in real good.
“Don’t think, Meat. It can only hurt the ball club.”
As the dust continues to swirl around the “A-Roid” issue in Major League Baseball, I continue to sit back and marvel at the sheer hypocrisy that is flooding airwaves and bulletin boards alike.
One by one, writers, fans, major league baseball executives, and even, laughably, owners (yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, Tom Hicks) have all lined up to take their pot shots at the ever-growing list of major league baseball players that have been found out to be “cheats.”
Now make absolutely no mistake about this: I cry for the game. I truly do.
All of my friends only “kind of laugh” when they hear me use my all too familiar line, “Baseball isn’t a sport to me; it’s a religion.” Thus it saddens me to see my beloved pastime suffer from yet another self-induced blow of the performance-enhancing drug variety.
That being said, nothing gets me more irritated than this “holier than thou” attitude that is being dumped on the players involved in this whole fiasco.
I am sick and tired of these so-called “moralists” acting outraged at the fact that these players could do such a thing. Everyone under the sun is just piling on these guys like they are the vilest of the vile, insulting our sensibilities at each and every turn.
To them I say, “Where were you when all of this was going on?”
Where were you, mister commissioner, when you presided over the dirtiest era the sport has ever seen? You were busy patting yourself on the back as revenues exploded like balls off of Barry Bonds’ bat, that’s where.
And where were you, Major League Baseball Players Union chair Donald Fehr? You were too consumed with protecting the players that were juiced up, as their ill-gotten productivity was driving up revenues that you could secure in your collective bargaining agreements.
Where were you, the fans, as record after record fell at a meteoric rate? As prodigious home run after home run left the bat of players like McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, and Rodriguez, did you once speak out in protest of what should have been all too obvious?
Even now as we mire through this never-ending saga of dishonesty and betrayal, why did it take an economic recession the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the late ’20s to finally drive down ticket sales?
And lastly, where were you, “Mister/Ms. Sportswriter” (and yes, my finger is pointed squarely at myself as I type this), while all of this was going on? Was it not you that was closest to all of this without actually being on the inside? Were you not there, day after day, chronicling all of this without so much as a peep about PEDs?
Who had greater access to the game, its players, its owners, and all of its “dirty little secrets” than you? Yet, save a handful of cries that went completely ignored, not a word was said about what from all accounts was “a culture that was prevalent throughout all of major league baseball.”
Yet here we are, all of us looking down our noses at the players involved, chastising them as cheats, narcissists, and greed-fueled monsters devoid of any morally redeeming value.
We were all partners in this crime that has tarnished our wonderful game.
MLB executives, the players union, and owners that did absolutely nothing to stop this; players that not only used the PEDs but those that turned a blind eye to what was obviously going on; fans that uttered every “ooh” and “ah” at the towering home runs that dominated the landscape of the era; and yes, the so-called “journalists” that somehow couldn’t figure out what was going on right under their very noses.
Alex Rodriguez and others should indeed be held accountable in the court of public opinion for what they have done.
But then again, shouldn’t we all?
“Alex, it’s Scott Boras. You need to call me right now.”
“Alex, how’s it hangin’ man? It’s Scott … didn’t you get my message?”
“Hey A-Rod! It’s Scotty. How’s my billion dollar baby? Call me back, lil’ buddy.”
“Hey, Cynthia. Scott here, you know, you’re husband’s agent. Did he change his number by chance?”
“Uh, Mr. Rodriguez, sir? Um, it’s Scott, can you (feint sniffle) call me please?”
After what could go down as the single greatest case of someone having misread a market, I would imagine that sequence of phone calls is not that far from the truth in recent days. Somewhere the baseball gods are smiling…
I am, of course, referring to the recent A-Rod/Stay Rod/Gay Rod fiasco that seems to have come full circle in Gotham in recent days.
For those of you who haven’t paid much attention to this soap opera I’ll give you the hilight reel:
- After the sluggers MVP season ended, the Yankees were prepared to offer a five-year extension worth up to $150 million, but didn’t when Boras set the bar at $350 million over 10 years just for the privilege to talk with their third baseman.
- Rodriguez opted out out his deal and Boras got the word out on Oct. 28 as the Red Sox were completing their World Series sweep over the Rockies, infuriating MLB executives, the Red Sox and basically anyone on the planet with a respect for the game.
- After Rodriguez opted out, incensed Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said: “I don’t want anybody on my team that doesn’t want to be a Yankee. We’re not going to back down. It’s goodbye.”
- However, like a Roger Clemens retirement, the door was always more than just cracked, and it opened when Rodriguez approached the Yankees through a third party and started with an apology to Steinbrenner for how he handled opting out of his contract with three years and $81 million remaining.
Steinbrenner was gracious and quite pleased Wednesday.
“Part of it is obviously proving he really wants to be a Yankee and I think he’s doing that, I really do.”
So far, if you take what Rodriguez has said publicly of the issue at face value, Steinbrenner may indeed be right. Rodriguez posted this on his personal website yesterday:
“We know there are other opportunities for us, but Cynthia and I have a foundation with the club that has brought us comfort, stability and happiness,” Rodriguez’s statement continued. “As a result, I reached out to the Yankees through mutual friends and conveyed that message. I also understand that I had to respond to certain Yankees concerns, and I was receptive and understanding of that situation.
“Cynthia and I have since spoken directly with the Steinbrenner family. During these healthy discussions, both sides were able to share honest feelings and hopes with one another and we expect to continue this dialogue with the Yankees over the next few days.”
While we will never really know what brought about this mea culpa from the best baseball player on the planet, we sure as hell can take an educated guess here. And frankly I am betting the completely beatdown his credibility/image have taken the last few weeks has more than a little something to do with it.
Peter Gammons, a Hall of Fame journalist, wondered forcefully if this sort of gauche hubris explained why Rodriguez hadn’t yet played in the World Series. A-Rod got hammered by print columnists, by Mike and Mike, by Mike and the Mad Dog, by Michael Kay in New York and Mike Felger in Boston and the Mad Dog in Lansing and Softy in Seattle.
A-Rod got hammered like a pinata in a room full of fat kids, after word of his decision to opt out of his record-setting contract leaked out in the middle of Game 4 of the World Series — an act for which his agent Scott Boras first blamed on the Yankees; then blamed on a clerical mistake; and then, probably chastised by his All-Star client, finally blamed on himself, acknowledging what everybody in the game thought anyway.
A-Rod continued to get hammered last week, after word came out that Boras had demanded an initial offer of $350 million from the Yankees, and as the Players Association – and what does it say about the state of baseball that I can actually utter this next phrase – raised the question of whether there was collusion against a player whom the Yankees had been prepared to offer the highest salary in the history of professional sports. If only Rodriguez had taken their call.
And the saddest part about all of this is there was absolutely no need for any of this to happen. The Yankees wanted him. The Yankees needed him. They can ill afford to take the biggest right-handed bat in the game out of an increasingly lefty heavy lineup. They have a new stadium to break in in 2009 and need to maintain an air baseball royalty and hat better way to do it than to field the man everyone fully expects to shatter some of baseballs most revered records?
The sooner the Scott Boras’s of the world stop being the cancers that they are, the better we will all be. I fully appreciate the need for a fair market and I certainly feel the owners should not be the only ones reaping the financial rewards of this multi-billion dollar industry. But this is the perfect example of how the Gordon Gekko “Greed is Good” mantra can taint the human soul.
The absolute silver lining in this dark cloud has been that Boras’s rep has taken a huge hit prompting one major league executive to say on Wednesday, “This is the greatest day of my life, seeing Boras get put in his place.”
He literally had the world’s best baseball player, coming off of a historic season, in the prime of his career and still managed to screw it up. Hopefully this public dressdown from his prize client will help him put his ego in check and finally bury the personal hatchet he as had with baseball (the institution) after his dreams of playing in the big leagues were dashed after just a few years in the minor leagues.
As for A-Rod, the biggest part of his motivation may very well be his understanding of baseball history.
There’s one huge factor that must be considered: A-Rod walked into that meeting with the Steinbrenners in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday because he wants to be remembered as one of the greatest Yankees of all time. He wants that monument in center field, right next to Ruth and Gehrig and Mantle and DiMaggio. That’s got to be just as important to A-Rod as wiping Barry Bonds’ name off the all-time home run record.
But the only way to be remembered as an all-time Yankees is to be a Yankee, now and forever. The deal that A-Rod will soon sign will be his last; he’s going to retire in pinstripes. For all that’s been said about the man — he’s vain, egocentric, hopelessly insecure — Rodriguez deserves credit for having the guts to admit he made a mistake opting out, and to do it without hiding behind his agent.