Tag Archives: Yankees

Yankees Never Deserved A-Rod

When Alex Rodriguez was in front of the media on a Sunday morning, the world took notice.  Hero or villain; love him or hate him – the world wanted to see what A-Rod’s announcement was about.  In the end of it all, viewers came away with an “awkward goodbye” from Alex.  The whole situation had the feeling of an “ultimatum” instead of an “agreement.”   Seriously though, if a player was able to stand upright and be only four home-runs short of the seven-hundred mark, he shouldn’t be retiring.  A lot of the language was cryptic from A-Rod and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and it was obvious. . .

Alex+Rodriguez+Tampa+Bay+Rays+v+New+York+Yankees+qNcBCtmCg-Dl

New York radio and social media as a whole were taking their own stabs at the situation.  The end of a career, although some may say tainted – Alex Rodriguez was as polarizing as a sports super star could ever be.   A good looking, talented guy, getting paid ridiculous amounts of dollars to play baseball – the target has been on his back since 2000.  That was when he decided to chase the money and sign with the lowly Texas Rangers franchise because they signed him to a ten year, two-hundred and two million dollar contract.  Hey, lowly or not, that’s a ridiculous amount of paper.

As Alex Rodriguez continued to hammer his numbers into the record books, the hatred for him grew.  People saw him as a player who could hamstring an organization and a player who would put up gaudy numbers in a losing career.

When the Yankees traded for Alex and his price-tag, he saw it as a road to redemption.  He could continue to put up numbers with a franchise thats known for it’s “Championship or bust” mantra.  Alex Rodriguez, who already netted two Gold Glove awards while in Texas was bound to go down in history as the greatest short stop of all-time, but to satisfy his (at the time) good friend Derek Jeter, Alex took up the task of learning to play third base, although he was clearly the better short stop of the two. . . Never the less, A-Rod picked up the technique to play the “hot corner” for the betterment of the organization and to satisfy the hands that were already at the table. . .

Again A-Rod continued to pound out numbers at a Hall of Fame rate.  He gave them an MVP season in 2007, in which he put up his best numbers and was signed to another lucrative ten year contract in this time.

In 2009, rumors started circulating about Alex not being a “clean” player – but New Yorkers quickly stopped dissecting those rumors because they won the World Series in 2009.  Not only did they win the World Series, they won it mostly because of Alex Rodriguez.  Alex’s on-base-percentage was .500, slugging percentage was .808 (those two stats combined gave him a ridiculous OPS of 1.308, 19 hits, 18 rbis and six homeruns. . . For a guy who was infamously known for “disappearing” in the playoffs, he gave the Yankees one of the best playoff performances of all time in 2009.

Alex+Rodriguez+Tampa+Bay+Rays+v+New+York+Yankees+fDxHxxh7wkyl-1

In 2011, the City That Never Sleeps, started getting colder towards A-Rod.  His home run totals were decreasing, bat speed had slowed down and whenever things went wrong for the Bronx Bombers it was always the fault of Rodriguez.  The Yankees built a team of “Super-Men” but it seemingly would always fall on A-Rod.

Sure, the years followed with his admittance of using performance enhancing drugs and his one year suspension.  The Yankees organization and many of it’s fans were out-casting Rodriguez.  Corny people would say “its not the Yankee way,” “he’s a cheater” or even degrade his character with profanities – this was odd.  Odd because this is a fan base that still favors admitted P.E.D user Andy Petitte, and still holds a torch up high for the beer chugging womanizer that was Babe Ruth and even the alcoholic, narcissist Mickey Mantle (who wasn’t even liked by his own son).

Fans are insane.  We forget our own flaws while judging the flaws of others.  But fans are so insane that they NEVER forget the GOOD that a player has done for his or her franchise.  Except this time.  Yankees fans found it more to their liking to gang-up on a player who was already hated by the masses.  Keep in mind, he only added to that hatred when he joined your team (the MOST hated franchise in baseball – next to Philadelphia), gave up playing short stop and all the accolades that would’ve come with finishing his career at that position, gave you his greatest season in 2007 and a remarkable run in 2009 which gave you the last post season success the franchise has seen.

Alex could’ve put these numbers up and been loved anywhere else.  Bonds was and is still adored in San Francisco and even Ryan Braun (who was truly the biggest piece of scum when it comes to P.E.D scandals) still gets an applause when he bats for the Brewers.

Alex+Rodriguez+Tampa+Bay+Rays+v+New+York+Yankees+fz3H9kTREwfl

Hopefully someone will take on Rodriguez just long enough so that he can get his home-run total to 700.   That would mean the world to Alex – and oddly enough it would mean just the same to feel appreciated in New York.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

NY Sports Today, Pt. 4: The MLB

New York Mets:

New+York+Mets+Photo+Day+BoS2zfjwoytl

The Metropolitans find themselves in an unfamiliar space.  They – not the Yankees – are the best team in New York, and their are lofty expectations that come with that claim.   Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated has called the New York Mets’ pitching rotation to be “the best in baseball.”  When your biggest problem is NOT knowing who your “number one” pitcher is – and all of them have “the goods” – your problems are pretty awesome.  Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom lead the charge with veteran Bartolo Colon and (a-hopefully-ready by mid-season) Zack Wheeler rounding out a possible six man rotation.  The Mets pitching staff is their lifeline and it should be enough to carry them into the playoffs.  David Wright’s spine didn’t agree with him last year and was limited to less than forty games during the regular season, but looked pretty good in the post-season and in spring training this year.  If right can give them consistent production at the third base spot, the Mets will have that corner of the infield in good hands. It showed on one-too-many occasions last year, how much his glove was missed at the “hot corner.”  The Mets re-signed Yoenis Cespedes to a big deal, and they better hope this isn’t a case of a “sucker them in deal.”  Cespedes’ bat was a much needed addition to the Mets’ offense and he helped lead the charge into the playoffs from the Summer and on.  Mets fans are weary of the showboat though (if anybody caught his opening day lackluster drop in left field, that should be enough reason to justify that worry.)  Curtis Granderson is a fan favorite with one of the most vicious swings in baseball.  His stat line is confusing though – he strikes out a lot, but it seems when he’s not striking out, he’s getting on base or driving in a run.  The Mets have a century to go before ever being mentioned in the same breath with the New York Yankees, but this is their moment and it’s now or never for the blue and orange boys out of Queens.

 

New York Yankees:

Starlin+Castro+New+York+Yankees+v+Detroit+HrHOlLpTOs6l

Some will say that last year proved one can never count the New York Yankees out, the others will say – they got lucky.  You’re kind of right if you’re on either side of the argument.  The Yankees are the most recognizable sports franchise in America and for good reason.  The legacy alone, strikes fear into competition and if “hate” truly concealed “jealousy” – the Yankees are swimming among weaker human emotions as they hold their numerous banners high in the greatest city in the world – New York. But last year – was pretty lucky if we’re being honest.  The resurgence of a forgotten Mark Texiera and a public relations nightmare in Alex Rodriguez, ended up being the most important pieces to this line up.  Texiera had an on-base-percentage of .357, a slugging percentage of .548 and 100 hits last season.  A-Rod blasted 33 homers with 131 RBI, a year after being suspended for PED use.  The Yankees know they’d be hard pressed depending on their veterans for the same kind of production again so they signed former Chicago Cub, Starlin Castro.  The Yankees will most likely try to find a places for their big young bats  Greg Bird and Aaron Judge.  Both of these kids display some raw power at the plate and if the vets struggle, it won’t take long for these kids to be put into place.  The Yankees starting pitching is a bit nerve racking and inconsistent, which is why the Yankees were thrilled that they had guys for the 7th, 8th and 9th innings to close games in Andrew  Miller, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman – but a domestic incident resulted in a 30 game suspension for Chapman, which resulted in Miller getting the closer spot – and now Miller is pitching through a wrist injury to start the season.  The Yankees had a nice start to the season last year and burned out towards the end.  The same may happen again – and that’s thinking positively.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

A-Rod: Heel Turned Face

In the wrestling world, if you’re a good guy – you’re a face, and if you’re a bad guy – you’re a heel.  A lot of politics goes into who gets a push as a face or a heel and its ultimately determined by the fans reactions to the wrestlers.

When the WWE started to showcase Stone Cold Steve Austin,  he was a typical heel – bald head, all black attire,  never smiled and played dirty.  He was first greeted by boos from the crowd and then something happened – the fans loved him.  The swearing, beer drinking loner who opposed all authority became the guy everyone rooted for.  Even Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, was a cocky, arrogant heel who the crowd hated. . . then eventually they loved to hate. . . and ultimately ended up loving.

Alex+Rodriguez+Boston+Red+Sox+v+New+York+Yankees+r69V7Uj4uYcl

It seems that the WWE broke America’s code.  The code is:  if you’re told to hate something too much, you’ll eventually just love it.

Want proof?

How many times have you watched Al Pacino in Scarface and hoped by some miracle the movie has an alternate ending which keeps the cocaine fueled drug lord alive?   For those that watched Gangs of New York -was there a character more entertaining than  Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of the psychotic, Bill the Butcher?  Tyler Durden ran mayhem in every major city in America, in the movie Fight Club – and yet you left the theatre thinking “he was probably the coolest guy ever. ” Pick a Joker – Jack Nicholson, the late Heath Ledger – hey even Caesar Romero – all portrayed what was supposed to be bad – but it was portrayed so well, we loved it.

In the case of Alex Rodriguez, he made himself the bad guy.  Between the performance enhancing drugs, the lying and his “beef” with the golden-boy of the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter (the ultimate face) –  Alex Rodriguez dug himself into a place that is rarely visited by one who at one time was considered to be a great in the game of baseball.    The Biogenesis Scandal didn’t help his efforts in gaining any supporters either.  He was suspended the entire 2014 season and since his suspension he’s been at war with the New York Yankees.

The Yankees tried to get out of his lucrative contract (including milestone bonuses) and made efforts publicly of not mentioning his name – and if his name was forced upon the Yankees organization, they would speak about him in obvious disgust.

Alex+Rodriguez+New+York+Yankees+v+Boston+Red+b5MEgKYk74Rl

Think about this. . .

Major League Baseball legitimately screwed up, when they couldn’t nail Barry Bonds for his use of performance enhancing drugs.  While under speculation, Bonds was spitting in the MLB’s face by destroying it’s precious home run record.   Bonds was “the one” Major League Baseball wanted, they couldn’t get him – so they had to make an example out of A-Rod.   The difference between Bonds and A-Rod was that Bonds really deep down could care less what people thought of him while Alex has always been about his public perception.  Major League Baseball was assisted by one of the most powerful franchise in professional sports, the New York Yankees, in trying to disgrace the name and reputation of Alex Rodriguez.  They made sure newspapers graced their back and front pages with expressions like “A-Fraud” or “A-Roid” while reaching deep, seeking people who would do interviews with the sole purpose of “selling him out.”

People hated him already.   This would surely build on that hatred and hopefully keep Alex Rodriguez away from the game of baseball for good.  Right? . . . .

Alex had other plans.

Alex Rodriguez decided to “compound” his heel-like ways and formed a tag-team with Barry Bonds.   Bonds worked as A-Rod’s hitting coach in the off-season, helping Rodriguez get his form back.  This is like the Emperor in Star Wars taking Darth Vader under his wing.

A funny thing happened to the most hated man in baseball though. . . in spring training, he was greeted with applause and cheers.  People yelling “Go Alex” while he was doing interviews.  People got tired of the “piling on.”  Even going into the season, when Alex Rodriguez stepped to the plate, fans cheered – when he hit his first homerun of the year, they applauded – even the next morning – sports radio and television personalities seemed to smile in re-calling the action.

Why?

Alex+Rodriguez+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+New+York+NaOulL0FhMBl

Well, simply put – Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees tried so hard to vilify Alex Rodriguez that they made him a sympathetic character.  They somehow made him the underdog people could root for, he became the loner riding against authority and he became for the first time in his career – relatable.

The New York Yankees pulled the ultimate Vince McMahon move. They put Alex  in a spot that looks impossible to get out of unscathed, so of course, us as humans we don’t want to see him get pummeled to a pulp, or kicked while he’s down – we’d rather see him claw his way back up and earn some respect.

If Major League Baseball would’ve went on with their business, without the smear campaign, there would be no pity for Alex.  Instead, this all backfired.  Sure Alex is far removed from the monster of a player he once was and nobody is certain how this will all turn out in the end, but one thing is for sure – A-Rod v.s. the Yanks, will be the only rivalry worth watching for baseball fans in New York this season. . .

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio