Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Nobody in Yankeeland has been analyzed half as much as Alex Rodriguez has been this year. But just when you thought the horse couldn't take another lash, Tom Verducci arrives with an insightful, behind-the-scenes profile of Rodriguez. There are especially good quotes from Jason Giambi. Check it out.
I went to the SI website earlier looking to see if they had more about the Dodgers-Padres game last night, which I happened to be watching on the satellite TV at a bar on Broadway. Instead of something interesting about a historic game, I found they had Yet Another A-Rod Analysis (YAARA?) as their headline piece of the day. So I went elsewhere.
"If I can look back," says A-Rod, "and see I made 25 errors, hit .285, and drove in 125, I mean, has God really been that bad to me?"
Man, life is real good in Yankeeland if the scandal of the summer is a slump, and some dumbass booing by some dumbass fans.
Dang, he put a sweet swing on that ball last night, huh?
Johnny Damon CF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi 1B
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Hideki Matsui DH
Melky Cabrera LF
Jeff Karstens RHP
With Sheff on the bench!
GOOD STUFF THERE!
I thought that article was entirely mean-spirited. I was surprised that Giambi said so much for attribution, but I was angry at the "Yankee veteran" who dissed him anonymously.
It really grates on me when people slam Rodriguez for not being the person they want him to be. It's "unsettling" that he is well-dressed for a business meeting? He didn't show enough emotion with Joe, because all he did was twirl his ring? Frankly, I don't show much emotion if I'm dressed down by my boss, and I don't think it makes me a worse person.
And come on, every player in the majors can rattle off his stats.
Finally, there's this whole idea that none of it matters until October. Somehow that's become part of Yankee mythology in recent years - nobody ever said it about Mel Stottlemyre or Don Mattingly.
To say that winning is the only thing that matters is disingenuous. In fact, all the focus is on Rodriguez's individual performance, and I don't think he's the one who put it there. If the Yankees win the championship, that won't be enough in many people's eyes; he'll only be redeemed if he dominates the series. Even then, if Jeter hits one big homer, then forget it.
Worries vocalized from foxsorts writer dayn perry:
"During the regular season, Rivera's average appearance was 1.10 innings. But when the postseason rolled around, Torre counted on his closer for 1.53 innings on average.
As you can see, Torre shows a clear pattern of giving Rivera longer outings in the playoffs when the situations are obviously most critical. The worry, then, is whether an ailing Rivera will be able to handle those ramped-up workloads."
Just two months ago, we all admitted to ourselves (maybe secretly or openly) that neither of them would be back this season.
Now, we have a Godzilla who is playing like his old form, and another monster bat back (considering how soon the Yankees activated Sheff after the stimulated game, it's hard not to have high hopes).
Ladies and Gentlemen, let's just simply say,
LET'S GO YANKEES!
Let me ask you all something, if A-Rod was struck and killed by a car, if his plane crashed or he died in his sleep for whatever reason, are you gonna hash over his contributions as a Yankee, or whether he was fully supported in the locker room or whether he ever grew a set of brass so as to knock the cover off the ball and flip off the opposing team when he got home? Why in the world does this matter any more?
And let me say this right now, I don't freakin care if he's no longer dating Jeter or playing footsies in the dugout with him or not. Priorities, okay? Hit the ball, catch, throw, eat the ball, tell them to kiss your behind if necessary.
Look, this has been a really special year, better than the last five as far as I'm concerned. Lots of people have come into their own, even in the front office. And, might I add, I've never been so informed and entertained about the game until I found Toaster and started in on Banter. I love this place, and you guys are the best reason to be on the net right now. Still,I am quite miffed about having to rehash the soul-sucking that is this year's version of the A-Rod Saga, but then I am a rather emotional individual, for which again I don't apologize. Understand that some things have to be said and some things bear repeating, but this just isn't one of them. All this A-Rod Analyze This & That has gone beyond suck and just hurts now.
JL, I don't know if this makes any sense to you, but thanks for letting me borrow your rant gear. I'm returing it to you in good condition and with a sigh of relief. Alex, I wasn't blowing up on you or anything; that was a gut reaction to the article. No offense.
23 Well said. Cliff Notes Version: Banter good, A-Rod psychoanalyzing bad.
I hope the fans on the third base line have been warned.
Am I too skeptical if I'm not always full convinced an "anonymous quote" was actually said and not just something made up by the author?
23 You used it well. And you even got mehmattski to give you some of his "well said" stockpile.
The quotes in the article, in my opinion, are are demonstrations of some serious frustration. Arod's slump, believe or not, affected all the people who follow the Yankees, so of course, his teammates and coaches all suffered.
Give this team credit. How many teams have been effected like this in recent history and still managed to cruise into the playoffs as the team to beat? And on a consistent basis at that? (Sorry, '86 Mets...)
I agree, it was probably more frustration than anything else. Also (as I said on the last thread - following JL25and3's lead) it just shows what Torre's strength as a manager is. Imagine Ozzie Guillen, John Gibbons or Billy Martin managing this club.
Your friendly neighborhood Blue Jays:
.288 .387 .521 34 116
.370 .455 .759 7 41
They had to put Giambi's quote on the cover too. Nice timing for all of this.
However, the story was a fascinating read in terms of gaining insight into how A-Rod's performance and personality directly impact the clubhouse and teammates, if indeed the quotes are accurate. To hear his teammates actually express the same frustration with his erratic performance that the fans do (and yes, that includes the Banter crew that wonders how he swings haplessly at so many meatballs) was certainly revealing to me.
And I'm one of those that's fascinated at how this story just won't die. A-Rod's performance and personality, and everyone's polar reactions to it, really tell us a lot about our own expectations of sports stars. Despite A-Rod's gaudy numbers and steroid-free stature, somehow he's viewed as lacking something, and he doesn't even have the complete respect of his own teammates.
It's nice to keep pointing to his contract, the lack of a ring, and the fact that he plays for the Yankees as a reason for all the scrutiny, but there's something else at the heart of his personality that makes him a lightning rod for all this scorn. The best way he can deal with it is to keep playing well (and he's done that the last few weeks), and maybe spend a little less time trying to cozy up with the press.
I've always felt Alex should do a Manny or Pedro and just boycott the press for a while, as childish as it seems. Let people judge him on his performance and his on-field demeanor, but don't give the beat writers any more ammunition. He just doesn't seem to have the makeup to communicate with his teammates or the writers in a way that engenders respect.
For a guy who cares about his image so much, who always seems so scripted...he's prone to saying things he really, really shouldn't. Like what he said about Jeter that appears to have ended their friendship.
Anyone see that Andy Petitte's father is ill? Andy's missing his start. I wish them the best.
No, we know the way the press likes to present him and the audience likes to receive him.
The article is contradictory - on the one hand, the Yankees believe in handing on the baton, in the other A-Rod has to step up. On the one hand, A-Rod is too eager to please, on the other he's oblivious to how he's being received, on the other ...
Anyway, I hope never to have reason to comment on this issue again.
And you can be oblivious and be eager to please. Indeed, I would say A-Rod is strangely tone-deaf to how he comes across sometimes, while meaning well.
"Group X almost never talks about individual numbers because stats are incidental to the team's mission"
More of the same - how can X be unhappy with A-Rod's numbers if they don't know what they are? It's convenient that they can ignore A-Rod's VORP, isn't it?
I guess the press isn't going to get on Jeter for apparently sulking for 5 years about being called a #2 hitter. Or how poor his leadership qualities have been during A-Rod's slump. Or apparently how fragile he is, overpressing during the batting title race.
I hope Torre gives Jetes, Damon, Posada, Melky and ARod lots of time off after we clinch (or Minn. clinches it for us).
Arrrrrg! A 6 pitch inning!
DiMaggio was the same way. Toots Shor, one night after heavy drinking, once called Marilyn Monroe a wh*re. DiMaggio never went back to his restaurant again.
And IMO, the press has gotten on Jeter for not defending A-Rod. It's been a regular soap opera.
But Jeter never really gives anyone anything to feed on. He's never said anything that suggests he's sulking over what A-Rod said. Others assume he must be, because he and A-Rod are not as close, but he never says anything the press can sink their claws into. A-Rod would do well to emulate him.
We can blame the press all we want for the way A-Rod is portrayed, but at some point, if you look beyond the superficial profiles to the way the press machine works, there's enough noise to tell me (and this is obviously my judgement), that there's truth behind the heat.
None of this will make me support A-Rod any less as a Yankee, and I'm actually rooting for him harder because of the way he's been piled on. But that doesn't mean I'm going to turn a blind eye to how he seems to be his own worst enemy when he opens his mouth, and says things like "I needed to pick up the boys today" in the most unctuous manner possible. Like I said before, I just want him to perform and otherwise shutup...and when he doesn't perform, I don't want him to explain it to death.
As far as the contradictory nature of the article, naturally there are contradictions -- A-Rod is a mess of contradictions. That's what gives this story its dimension and leads it to be overanalyzed. If he were merely a Barry Bonds or Albert Belle type a*hole, it would be a lot simpler, wouldn't it?
There was quite a bit of chatter about the Sports Illustrated story on Alex Rodriguez. Joe Torre felt the general tone was fair and accurate, that the team tried to support A-Rod when he was struggling.
Jason Giambi comes off in the story as being a little combative with A-Rod and both insisted that wasn't the case. From what I have seen, the rest of the Yankees only care if he hits. The rest of it is window dressing.
Personally, I find the whole thing a little sickening. The constant taking of A-Rod's temperature is out of hand. But he doesn't help himself by saying how smart and good-looking he is and maybe that's why people don't like him.
I say that about myself all the time and nobody seems to care. In fact, I wrote a book titled "I am so smart and good looking"
"You employed Scott Boras, you got your money and one of the results is that people expect a lot. Either live with it or quit.
Meanwhile, he's hitting .288 with 34 homers and 116 RBI. I know he has made a lot of errors (23) and has too many strikeouts (137) and DPs (21). But .288/.387/.521 is hardly struggling."
He's living with it. A big contract doesn't give others license to be jerks. Anyway, as I just said at LoHud, the contract isn't the problem so much as conservative societal attitudes about macho and mental health counselling.
Sigh...is it too much to ask for a nice'n easy game once awhile? especially we are so close to clinch this thing?
134 Nope, I been reading all sorts of speculation over the Internet.
136 Doesn't Rasner seem like a much much better option?
All I want A-Rod to do is hit with runners in scoring position, play sound D and do the little things that help win ballgames. I understand he when slumps, I trust he's far too talented not to snap out of it sooner rather than later. I don't need the media telling me he should be doing this or that because his agent was able to cut an incredible deal for him. Put that in the Business section.
This is why I don't want Giambi playing D. Not only is he not that great at it, he always hurts himself.
Hansel (Jeter) Why you been acting so messed up to me?
Non Zoolander fans won't find that as funny as I do.
Can anybody answer 150
Actually, she thinks Posada is hot. Her favorite Yankees are Bernie (not for his looks, just likes him since he seems "nice" and she likes his CD as well) and Jorge, and she really liked Karim Garcia for some strange reason. She thought he "looked like a ballplayer."
And there's more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.
Man, Karim has had a great day on the Banter today...
173 Is there anyone who doesn't dig Cano's big smile? I missed it so dearly during that 6 weeks when he was on the DL.
YES! HOME RUN!
Meanwhile... God Bless you, Pat Gillick.
Sorry, couldn't resist one more. It's Scott Proctor, for all 8 outs, obviously.
Nothing against him, I'm just sick of all the BS swirling around him. Just play ball for pete's sake.
While we are all living this horror, just keep repeating the next phrase,
"Mo is coming back in three days, Mo is coming back in three days, Mo is coming back, Mo...Mo...Mo..."
How did we manage without him?
"Jeter doesn't think he's going to kick your a$$, he knows he's going to kick your a$$."
This is why I really don't think this sort-of slump is because the MVP talk and the streak. Read the Joel Sherman interview in the sidebar, he says Jeet and Torre are the two most self-confident people he knows. I think it's just a slump that everyone gets once in a while.
"Mo we miss you"
I'm sorry, this has to be TJ's uncle or something: http://tinyurl.com/k4ydh
Specially with "options" like the one pitching now.
Well, Mo Jr. is working on keeping his job for another month.
I hope he gets to hit, let's see what he has.
271 Aha, and Ortiz made the last out, K swinging.
276 Neh no biggie. Hey I'm a Joisey girl, I've got tough skin.
We can second guess Joe's bullpen usage, and wish A-Rod hit better in the "clutch" and wish that guys never got hurt, but that's not how baseball works. So I just try to enjoy the games for what they are.
But again, that's just me, and I hope nobody takes offense to it.
used to live there, in the states now...
Myers looks like shit but I know you need a couple of lefties....
One 'mo, baby. One 'mo.
I have great appreciation for the team this year as well, and I surely am enjoying every minute of it. I think I just miss Mo too much.
Thanks for the nice thoughts that were nicely put.
Roy Halladay v. Sean Henn
A few standout quotes (mostly paraphrasing):
"The whiskey bottles New York fans threw at me were always empty."
Stephen A: What player today most reminds you of yourself in your playing days?
Rose: Jeter. (Leadership, clutch, yadda, yadda...)
On the Chicago Cubs' fruitless quest for a championship:
God told the Cubs "Hey, don't do anything 'till I get back."
Verducci checks in with another interview with Alex:
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