Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
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Say No Go
2005-12-16 05:05
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

According to George King in The New York Post, Alex Rodriguez will not participate in the WBC games for either the U.S. or the Dominican Republic. Rodriguez told King, in part:

"When faced with the decision to choose between my country, the United States of America, and my Dominican heritage, I decided that I will not dishonor either."

Classic Rodriguez, not wanting to offend anyone. But honestly I couldn't care less about about his reasoning. As far as I'm concerned the fewer Yankees playing in this cockamamie tournament the better. It's not that I'm against the idea of the WBC in theory, but it feels almost inevitable that someone, somehow is going to get injured during the course of the games, and brother, I sure don't want it to be anyone on the Yanks. Can you relate?

Comments
2005-12-16 05:36:51
1.   wsporter
The WBC is so unintelligently designed that it would have to crawl its way half way up the evolutionary scale to be merely cockamamie.
2005-12-16 05:39:41
2.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I was trying to be generous...plus, I just love the word "cockamamie," and this seemed as good a place as any to use it!
2005-12-16 05:59:58
3.   Erik Siegrist
Huh huh... you said cockamamie.

Shut up, Butthead.

2005-12-16 06:02:33
4.   Dimelo
The minute a big player gets hurt, the backlash on MLB and Bud Selig, especially, will leave the sport with a black eye the entire year.
2005-12-16 06:10:45
5.   Ben
A-rod is so delicate and polite and profound. But I couldn't help thinking after reading his well thought out comment,... who cares. Is he running for office? What a weiner.

He's pretty fascinating. Can anyone think of another athlete of comparable ability to Arod who is so concerned with public image. I always figured that the onfield greatness had to be coupled with a kind of disregard for what other people think. Not necessarily hostile like Bonds, but even Jeter shows his disregard by never commenting out of turn about anything.

Whenever I read a comment by Arod, I'm just struck by how much pressure the guy seems to live with. it's not just the contract, he really seems to want everyone to like him and understand him. Amazing that he is still able to perform at all with that psychology.

2005-12-16 06:27:18
6.   Shaun P
I can, Ben - if you're willing to go beyond MLB with me for a minute.

Michael Jordan. The most polished, public image-conscious athlete on the planet. The difference is that Jordan usually comes off better than A-Rod. They both spout the don't-rock-the-boat comments all the time, but with Jordan . . . you see him and the first thing you think of is the sweetness of his moves (at least I do - he is, after all, Michael Jordan). That awe usually covers up the prepared, pre-canned drivel - until you go back and think about (or re-read) what he said.

A-Rod should have the same awe associated with him, but for whatever reason, he doesn't. So you notice the crap right away.

As for the WBC, I'll probably watch - and fervently pray that Jeter doesn't get hurt. I'm glad A-Rod isn't taking the risk.

2005-12-16 06:30:17
7.   Oscar Azocar
You can still count me in the minority who favors a world-wide tournament. There are some serious flaws in the planning and timing of the tournament. It should be held sometime in November rather than during spring training.
2005-12-16 06:50:02
8.   Knuckles
Tickets on sale in 10 minutes!

Gettin' bleachers to a handful of weekend matchups. Today is the day out fo the year I most regret leaving NJ/working in Manhattan...as a young punk in my first job, I was friendly with the CEO's secretary, and when his 'personal' corporate tickets were going un-used that night, my desk would be her first stop at 4:00pm to get rid...

2005-12-16 07:02:10
9.   Ben
Shaun P,

I thought about Jordan too, but I think he was different. He was political in a way that protected his image and his interests. Money and opportunity always seemed to be the bottom line, like it was apart of what made him great.

But with A-rod he seems to want to be liked for it's own sake, and it's just surprising that with such a burden he still manages to be so great.

2005-12-16 07:05:32
10.   Murray
Rodriguez and Jordan also have something else in common: they're degenerate gamblers. Well, at least Jordan is.

As for the WBC, give me the steely professional over the sports nationalist every time.

2005-12-16 07:26:41
11.   wsporter
I'm just glad Arod didn't decide to please everyone by playing for both. For example the D.R. the first year then the U.S. the second. I don't see that Uncle Bud's marketing venture to a billion or more Chinese is worth anyone catching a spike for or taking a fastball on the hand or in the ear from some guy looking to be a hero in his country. If that sounds parochial or jingoistic I apologize, I don't mean it to be. I just don't see the WBC as a mountain worth dieing on. Arod doesn't owe me an apology for not playing, for the D.R. or the U.S. or for anything for that matter.
2005-12-16 07:39:50
12.   Dimelo
Again I find myself having to defend ARod at work from the haters, but there is no denying that ARod is chameleon. I just wish he'd keep his mouth shut and commit to something.

I was watching the apprentice last night and I don't usually watch crap on network television, but I've already won 15 straight Super Bowls with the New York Football Giants in John Madden so I was a little bored. Anyhow, I saw the last part of the show and Donald Trump asks the apprentice winner if he thinks he (Trump) should hire the girl who lost. The crowd starts clapping crazily in favor of her to get hired, but the guy basically said there should only be one winner and some people booed but I admired the balls this guy had to not be persuaded by the crowds clapping and trying to make everyone happy - by basically saying that she should be hired too. He was right, there should only be one winner. Boo hoo, she lost and she performed admirably but see ya', wouldn't wanna be ya'. I don't watch the show, but I had my own motives as to why I wanted her to win mostly it was because I liked her lips and my mind was wandering -- shit, I do that about every 4 seconds at work anyway. Anyhow, the point I'm trying to make is: what would ARod do in that situation - when the crowd is clapping and trying to persuade him, and Trump is putting the onus on him to deal this girl her fate? I think ARod would have buckled to the clapping and said to hire her. Now this is purely speculation on my part, but I think he would have buckled because to him being a leader is to be liked as opposed to having the killer instinct and telling her: 'you lost, I won, now beat it sista'. ARod needs to have that killer instinct. He can't let his PR people manage his every move. He needs to get out of the shadow of being ARod and being a human being that has flaws like the rest of us, he's got crazy good looks, gobs of money but he's a f'en machine when it comes to interacting with the common man. Quite frankly, I'm tired of it already….get some balls dude.

2005-12-16 07:57:33
13.   Dimelo
http://www.deadspin.com/sports/baseball/arod-loves-his-countries-just-too-damn-much-143587.php
2005-12-16 08:02:37
14.   sabernar
Do I think that ARod is imperfect when it comes to dealing with the media? Sure. But I have a bigger problem with all the fans (and, especially, anti-fans) that spend SO MUCH TIME discussing such a small, petty little point about this guy. Let it go, people. He's not perfect - we've always known that. But no player (and noBODY) is perfect. ARod is going to go down as one of the best baseball players of all times. Can't we leave it at that? I'm all for hot stove league chatter, but leave the guy alone. Yeah his PR sucks. Give it a rest.
2005-12-16 08:09:41
15.   wsporter
Amen saber.
2005-12-16 08:23:09
16.   standuptriple
I'm torn on this. On one hand I wish he would have just kept his mouth shut about the whole thing. But the badwagon to hate A-Rod is running strong so I don't think it will really get more or less boo's in the future no matter which nation he chose. I did want him to play. And if it meant playing for a team other than the US that's fine too. I wanted to see the best on the field. Now the DR gets Beltre. Quite the downgrade, while the US team wouldn't have taken as much of a hit by going with Chavez. The thing I really wanted to see though was A-Rod showing some genuine passion. That is, after all, one of the main items ESPN brings up about him when they're raking him over the coals. If this WBC got him fired up for the beginning of the regular season I'm all for it.
I'm not so worried about the injury factor other than the pitching. Since we only have Wang I'm not totally upset, but I'd like to have our youngest arm healthy for all of 2006.
2005-12-16 08:25:08
17.   jonm
Yeah, I cannot imagine why anyone would give a shit about this, ARod's moral worth, or ARod's psyche at all. From my perspective, baseball players are entertainment machines -- I don't know them, nor will I ever know them.

In fact, off-the-field, baseball players are probably less interesting (in this media-centric, conformist age) than the guy who sits next to you at work.

2005-12-16 08:28:00
18.   jonm
By the way, I'm boycotting the WBC -- not reading anything about it and certainly not watching any of these exhibition games.

I heard Tommy Lasorda being interviewed about it and his "patriotic" rationale for caring about it was unconvincing to say the least.

2005-12-16 08:29:32
19.   Dimelo
I like ARod the baseball player, but ARod the person is really getting to me. I guess you are the types (sabernar and wsporter) that would love Terrell Owens, even though when he's not on the field he's going to bad mouth your QB. I'm sure you'd say to give that a rest, too. I can see the argument now: I know that TO isn't perfect and he says some crazy things off the field but damn-it he's a great football player and he scores touchdowns. Did you see the move he put on Champ Bailey to score a 99 yard TD? I don't think we should spend so much time discussing how TO alienates his teammates, it's a petty point to discuss his personality flaws.

I'm sorry, you can't have ARod the baseball player and, at a cursory glance, not talk about ARod the person in a constructive manner as we seem to be doing here. I'm a fan of ARod, but his flaws are so glaring that he makes Napoleon Dynamite look as if he has more redeeming qualities.

2005-12-16 08:43:00
20.   jonm
Dimelo, I think that you've been spending too much time reading Mike Lupica.
2005-12-16 08:45:48
21.   Ben
I don't hate A-rod, or think I'm bashing him. He came across like a putz, but that's no biggy.

I just think it's fascinating how such an nice guy is also such a talent. I've never seen anything like it. Usually the guys that are lights out are hostile or indifferent to other people's opinions. Hell, it seems necessary in baseball to be able to block out the boos. When Arod went back to Seattle for the All-star game and he was booed pretty badly and you could see it really bothered him. It sure would've bothered me.

Guys like Bonds, Clemens, Ty Cobb, Dimaggio, Ted Williams, (or Jordan, Bird, or Magic) would've been like f-you I'm gonna win the MVP next year assholes. A-rod just seems different than that, yet he still performs amongst an elite class. He's one of a kind as far as I can tell.

2005-12-16 08:50:42
22.   rilkefan
A-Rod expresses an admirable sentiment, people aren't willing to believe it, and the solution is for him to shut up, not them?
2005-12-16 08:51:06
23.   sabernar
I don't think niceness or meanness have anything to do with talent. Lou Gehrig? Bernie Williams? Don Mattingly? Roberto Clemente? Babe Ruth? There are a ton of nice players that did great things in MLB.
2005-12-16 08:54:07
24.   Marc Normandin
If I can continue to listen to bands like Guns 'n Roses where lead singer Axl Rose is a complete ass, I can deal with ARod having PR problems. I just ignore the part of the person that is not entertainment. I do think people should lay off ARod a little though, because it is sad to see the way he handles himself in the media. Maybe someone in the clubhouse should deflect the attention elsewhere to help, but I'm not sure if that can be done.
2005-12-16 09:01:19
25.   Nick from Washington Heights
A-Rod was getting shit even before his recent announcement for considering playing for the DR instead of the US. Meanwhile, Piazza decided to play for Italy and it's all fine and dandy (which, by the way, it should be). Is that a double-standard or am I missing the subtle differences between each player's position?
2005-12-16 09:24:34
26.   joejoejoe
I have a few random thoughts I want to share so I apologize in advance for this post resembling a Larry King column.

Perhaps A-Rod can play in the World Series of Poker and play one hand for the Dominican and one for the good ol' U. S. of A ...Nothing beats watching a team of utility infielders represent Italy in world competition...Marco Scutaro puts the O in OPS ...When Joe Torre calls information does the operator think the Yankees are interested? ....Anyone else looking forward to the Skeleton competition at the Turin Olympics ...if last night is any indication my wife Shawn would medal at Skeleton, she sure can ride ....I didn't go to school with Sandy Koufax but I said I did in a book ....nothing says the Bronx like a spaghetti dinner on Arthur Street ....my insides are animatronic and I will never die ....Evansville, Indiana - HELLO!

2005-12-16 09:26:53
27.   standuptriple
It is a double standard, but Piazza wouldn't even make the US team, whereas A-Rod would probably bat 3rd or 4th. That's the only difference I can see.
2005-12-16 09:45:15
28.   Eric
Hi Alex, congratulations on yet another article on SI.com. Nice picture!
2005-12-16 09:59:03
29.   singledd
RE: ARod.....
Man... I've never seen someone take so much shit for being nice. Is everyone who is concerned with others opinions a putz? Is everyone who does something sensitive a Weenie? Running for office?

Bonds takes shit because he is surley and uncommunicative. ARod takes shit because is is polite, thoughtful and communicative.

ARod had to play for one team or another. Regardless of his choice (Rock vs HardPlace), it would have been his pleasure to read about how he (fill in your unpatriotic insult here)... in about 1000 newspapers, magazine, blogs and on bathroom walls.

These guys (Bonds included) are professional athletes. I wish we could all keep our comments about what kind of althletes they are.

2005-12-16 10:19:59
30.   Ben
Singledd,

I think you're misunderstanding my point.

it's not that A-rod is nice or not nice, I could care less. It's that his public persona is a very careful and politically minded one. Which leads me to believe he is investing time and energy into the way his position is recieved. That's fine too, I understand that he has a lot of scrutiny on his every move. But it seems incongrous with the kind of single-minded drive it takes to succeed in professioanl sports. And I've never seen anyone who is both careful and excellent to the extent Arod is.

2005-12-16 10:24:56
31.   ChuckM
ARod comes off as a putz not because he's nice, but because he doesn't seem to be genuine. His "niceness" seems premeditated to the point where if someone spit on him, he'd apologize for being in the way of the loogy.
2005-12-16 10:57:06
32.   Dimelo
Good points Chuck and Ben. Again, I am a fan of ARod the Yankees 3rd baseman, but when it comes to him outside of the baseball diamond then I have no other choice except to refer to him as AFraud. Anyone who thinks he's this great guy is truly fooling themselves. He's a very calculating individual, who (as stated by ChuckM) is not genuine. There are way too many things that just keep pissing me off about the guy. How can ARod be so adamant about playing then say I'm not playing because I love both countries equally? Quite frankly, that's a bunch of horseshit. This is not about the WBC, this is not about the Dominican Republic or the USA. I was born in the USA, but my parents are from the Dominican Republic and I've lived there off-and-on throughout my upbringing. I have a good understanding of both cultures and I would have respected ARod's desires for wanting to playing for the Dominican team, I know how much baseball means over there. However, when something comes out of your mouth then that is your bond -- I taught that an early age. You just can't say stuff and change your mind when it's convenient for you or because you want to play both sides of the fence. Those are not characteristics that I consider sincere and, even less, admirable. I care for him because he's a Yankee, but he will turn on the Yankees the minute he sees he's not profiting (not monetarily necessarily) from being part of the most storied franchise. His fame, fortune and public image have grown larger than him. He can no longer handle being ARod. It is because of this that so many Yankee fans struggle with him. It's a love-hate thing. I want to root for him the way I root for Jeter, but he doesn't allow that to happen. He carefully crafts himself to always look good. We have people who are like that at the place we work and make a living and we probably hate/dislike them, they play the political games and get all the accolades when we all know they aren't deserving as the one's who are in the trenches and don't bring extra attention to themselves when it's convenient -- usually around management and upper management. We hate those types at work, but now say it's OK to root for that same type just because he plays for the New York Yankees. We are just setting ourselves up for the big set-up, the same way Seattle and Texas did. I will not drink from that Kool-Aid. I will root for him, but I too will be careful in falling in love with the prettiest girl because I know her history. IF you don't have a good understanding of history then you are doomed to repeat it.
2005-12-16 11:07:29
33.   Dimelo
If ARod had simply said:

I am not playing in the WBC because I want my mind and body solely focused on one goal, and that is to win a championship for the New York Yankees and its legions of fans. At this point, I'd rather not focus my attention elsewhere except to prepare for the upcoming 2006 Major League Baseball season. I understand me playing would have meant a lot to a number of baseball fans and to I apologize to them, but there will still be a great number of baseball players represented from Major League Baseball and the World, and they will make baseball a joy to watch when play begins. I wish all the participating countries luck in their quest to bring home a championship for their nationalistic pride.

Something to that effect is a much better response then I love both countries so I can't choose one right now. If I had said similar crap when I was dating two women, then I was left with no girl and probably a few red marks in my face: "Ladies, I can't choose which one I want more right now so I will continue to date both you till the time is right".

2005-12-16 11:25:10
34.   standuptriple
See, I have a different opinion. I think that since there is more at stake in the WBC than regular spring training the hitters will see better pitching and be more prepared for the regular season. That's why I have no issues with the Yanks sending bats to the WBC. IMO this would have been a great opportunity for A-Rod to get his game face on early. The country thing was poorly thought out, but methinks Boras had his hands on this as well. I actually think A-Rod is a slave to his contract. Ever since it was signed he's been expected to be the equivalent of baseball jesus, and while he's put up MVP #'s he's still head and shoulders $ per year than everybody else, which causes resentment that I don't think he deserves. That must create pressure.
I do think the pitching would be better served working with Guidry/Posada and RJ's boy.
2005-12-16 11:25:48
35.   sabernar
Dimelo:

But WHO CARES? We're baseball fans. We care about baseball. Who cares if he's not sincere when he puts out a press release. He's not beating his wife, of hurting the team in any way. So he's a fraud: GET OVER IT! There are plenty of people who do much worse things in the world, but you get your panties in a wad over insincere press releases? Sheesh. Get a life.

2005-12-16 11:41:57
36.   Dimelo
Dude, I have a life....you're the one busting a nutty over the guy like he's your personal love toy. I'm just calling it like it is, sorry if I offended you and your man-love relationship with all things ARod. I'll let you be and let you go back to "playing" with your personal ARod bobble-head.
2005-12-16 12:15:21
37.   sabernar
Perhaps you do have a life, but it's one of way too much hatred and mean-spiritedness. Let it go. Yeah, I'm an ARod fan, though he's far from my favorite player. No where in any of my posts did I say anything worshipful about ARod, I just commented on how people need to stop wasting so much time and energy ranting and raving about a guy's press release. It really has nothing to do with ARod - I would have made the same comment if you had said the same thing about any other player. Just relax and let ARod make any excuse that he wants to - WHO CARES? It's not like he allowed the NSA to wiretap Americans with no warrants.
2005-12-16 13:03:00
38.   brockdc
See what happens when you give us a slow baseball news day, God?
2005-12-16 14:03:56
39.   singledd
sabernar seems to get it.... the rest of you just prove my point. None of us are 'calculatiing'. None of us are concerned about our hair, dress, looks, speech, etc., and how effects and is taken by people around us. We are all 'Mr. Natural'.

Look, when you fart, your girlfriend makes a face, AND ITS OVER. When ARod farts, it generates more news in an instant then any of us will in a lifetime.

For days, he can then read 'expert' opinions about his bowels, his meals, his smell, whether or not his fart was sellserving, how it compares to Jeter's fart (smells like roses), if someone who makes 25 mil should be allowed to fart, if it was a 'true Yankee' fart, whether he only farts when the game is not on the line, why he didn't wait until he was in Fenway to fart, 'just what was that fart was calculated to mean' and 'did he really fart or did he just WANT US TO THINK he farted?'

This guy lives under a microscope. Hundreds of people making their livings just waiting for him to fart so they can offer us 'real commentary'. And over 100,000,000 people are absolutely sure why he farted and what it means. Pictures of him farting will span the glode in seconds.

'Is AFRod farting good for the game?'
'Does this guy really love the smell of his own farts?'
'Would Jeter have farted in that situation?'
'that wasn't AFART that was AFRAUD!'

Get a grip guys. Calculating is Bush. Chenney. Our whole damm government. ARod just wants to see how many balls he can hit and catch. However, he understands that inquiring noses want to know... and simply acts appropriately.

Just read: 32.Dimelo.... to get an idea of what one little off-season fart means to one guy (who knows ARod and his intentions intimately) and multiply that times 100,000,000... and you get the furor that is ARod farting.

Good thing we are all so in tune with our own actions and intentions that we can spend so much time 'analyzing' ARod's.

2005-12-16 14:14:07
40.   wsporter
brockdc

What do you mean? A healthy discussion of warrant-less search and seizure is always called for in these dangerous SABER crazed times. The 4th , 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments play a central role in any baseball discussion. I applaud saber for his courage in bringing that issue to the fore.

On the plus side, Lombardi has a nice little piece about Mo over at "Was Watching" as well as some reassurance on our lad Bubba. It seems that he just can't resist that A-Rod dig though. Don't get that, personally.

2005-12-16 16:03:20
41.   singledd
Re: 40. wsporter. Thanks. Good post at 'WW'. Bubba was over 100 at RAA/150 innings, Damon was 17. I'm not sure how this translates to actually runs, but add Damon's 'worst arm in baseball' to the equation, and Bubba looks pretty good next to the 13million$ man.

I nice little blurb on Bubba's 2007 replacement.
http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20051216&content_id=1282835&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy

2005-12-16 16:38:53
42.   brockdc
I would imagine that many star atheletes, celebs, current and/or former robber barons are meticulously coached on maintainence of their respective public personas. Some are just better than others at keeping up the false veneer. But that's what the public wants. Joe Shmo wants to believe that Jeter and A-Rod are fantastic guys and Shmo is pleased when he hears the party line ooze from each player's mouth.

However, the SECOND either A-Rod or Jeter shows a glimpse of his darker half, he's a cancer to the team and a blight on the game. Just be careful what you wish for, that's all.

2005-12-16 18:06:42
43.   rilkefan
I came to A-Rod's defense above but the following from http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/17/sports/baseball/17yanks.html annoys me:

Rodriguez [...] praised the free agent Johnny Damon in Newsday last week while taking a subtle jab at his teammate Derek Jeter, the leadoff hitter.

Rodriguez said, "Johnny Damon is, along with Ichiro Suzuki, the best leadoff hitter in the game."

2005-12-16 19:35:44
44.   Nick from Washington Heights
rilkefan, Torre would probably say the same thing. For some reason, the conventional wisdom is that Damon is a better fit at lead-off than Jeter (Lupica and a lot of others have argued this over and over during the off-season). I think A-Rod is just following the conventional view without meaning any insult to Jeter. Heck, Jeter might even think Damon is a better lead-off hitter. He spent most of his career in the #2 spot, and doesn't have a special connection to leading off (like my man Rickey). Anyway, I think the writer of that article was reading way too much into A-Rod's quote. I guess he's as bored as we are and needed to stir up some drama.
2005-12-17 11:36:06
45.   rilkefan
Nick, good point I guess, though even if A-Rod is ignorant of the actual value of Jeter's stats - due to, what, mathematical inability? - you'd think he'd at least pretend to rate them equally and say, We could have two elite leadoff hitters at the top of the lineup.

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