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Fessin' Up
2007-02-19 13:07
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

It's a bitterly cold Presidents' Day Observed and I'm alone at the office, having traded Friday for Monday on my work schedule.

Down in Tampa it's a good 35 to 40 degrees warmer and there's an atmosphere of unburdening in the air. Yankee Chairman of the Board and heir apparent to the Boss Steve Swindal made his first appearance at Legends Field and spoke to reporters about his DUI bust in the wee hours of the morning last Thursday. Clearly humiliated, Swindal was very apologetic, but unable to comment much due to his pending trial scheduled for some time in March.

A bit earlier, Alex Rodriguez spoke candidly to reporters about his opt-out clause, his relationship with Derek Jeter (which will grab most of the headlines) and his reaction to batting eighth in the Yankees' final postseason game last year. About the last he admitted to being "disappointed" and "embarrassed" and said he "didn't like it," but expressed awareness that his performance was what lead to Torre's decision.

Our man in the field, Peter Abraham has full audio of both men up on his blog: Swindal, Rodriguez.

The latter is enlightening not simply because of Rodriguez's refreshing honesty, but because of the way the assembled reporters badger him about his opt-out clause. Rodriguez says some version of "I want to be a Yankee" at least eight times but, wisely, refuses to say more because that opt-out clause is a tremendous bit of negotiating leverage and he's obviously too smart to undermine it just to get a bullheaded beat reporter off his back (he also says "I understand my contract" or the like at least four times). The closest he comes to conceding to the onslaught, which at one point becomes so absurd that the crowd erupts in laughter, is saying that he will not be a free agent next year, but he simultaneously refuses to turn "I want to be a Yankee" into "I will be a Yankee." If you want to know why the New York media drives some athletes crazy, give a listen and consider that this is Rodriguez's first day in camp and all he's done thus far is unpack his things and get a physical.

In injury news, Steven White threw today, his neck pain from Friday having proven to be as inconsequential as had been assumed. Meanwhile, according to Joe Torre, Carl Pavano ended some of his drills early today due to "heavy legs." With any other player this wouldn't be news. Indeed, Meat did throw his bullpen session later in the day. Still, because it's Pavano, it bears watching.

Comments
2007-02-19 13:51:16
1.   Jeteupthemiddle
Ahem. Steven White.

"Will you be a Yankee?"
"I want to be a Yankee."
"But will you be a Yankee?"
"I want to be a Yankee."

And so on and so forth. I would have guaged out my eyes.

2007-02-19 13:55:24
2.   Cliff Corcoran
2 Thanks, I was being so careful about Steven v. Stephen that I clearly just tossed the last name off without thinking.

I would have gouged out someone else's eyes . . .

2007-02-19 14:11:35
3.   Shaun P
I think that was the first time I ever heard Steve Swindal speak; he sounded sincere to me. His voice kind of reminded me of Cashman's, actually.

I'm halfway through the A-Rod audio and I love it. Pete Abraham does it again!

2007-02-19 14:12:39
4.   rbj
I'd have gouged out that reporter's tongue.
2007-02-19 14:15:38
5.   Shaun P
1 "I understand my contract" - hilarious!

Who was that guy?

"My goal is to go with Derek and Mo and open the new Stadium."

Watch how someone analyzes that and wonders why he didn't include Posada in that one. I hope I didn't just give someone an idea . . .

2007-02-19 14:21:55
6.   dianagramr
5

"My goal is to go with Derek and Mo and open the new Stadium."

=====================

How does he know the White Sox are gonna be the Yanks Opening Day opponents in 2009?

(ducking and running)

2007-02-19 14:26:25
7.   yankz
5 You're one of them bast*rds who doesn't want to see Bernie Baseball playing in 2009, aren't you?
2007-02-19 14:34:10
8.   dianagramr
7

There's always the Old Timer's Game ...

2007-02-19 14:44:05
9.   yankz
8 Haha, true dat. (I hope everyone can tell I was kidding around in 7...)
2007-02-19 14:52:17
10.   atc
That reporter was Joel Sherman, correct?
2007-02-19 15:10:02
11.   yankz
I bet that whole "Five sleepovers a week" is going to give some insecure Sox fan more material for one of those "Chokeback Mountain" videos.
2007-02-19 15:11:07
12.   tommyl
I love Pete Abraham:

The gritty, gutty Carl Pavano managed to get through his bullpen session.

2007-02-19 16:21:51
13.   OldYanksFan
I don't know if ARod can really make more money by opting out. For one thing, under the current contract, Texas is absorbing something like $8M/yr... so we have a big discount over other teams. And of course, even without the discount, it's not like the Yankees are afraid to spend big bucks on a premiere player.

I think it's all about how much sh*t he will take if he stays in NY. To Opt out or not to Opt out, that is the question. And the answer will be based on emotional comfort... not money.

I, for one, hope he retires as a Yankee. 500, 600, 700 and 755 HRs are only a few of the milestones I hope we all get to celebrate together.

2007-02-19 19:37:17
14.   C2Coke
Now it's hard for me to imagine the days being a Yankee fan without Alex, Cliff, and Pete Abraham. The blogs are awesome. Thanks a lot!
2007-02-19 19:57:58
15.   BklynBmr
13 Ditto on the hopes that A-Rod will retire in pinstripes. Me, I never paid much attention to this "rift" with Jeter — I always thought it would and should not affect overall team results. See the Bronx Zoo teams of the late 70's. Those clubhouses were ones for the books. But they got it done.

For reasons I can't put my finger on, this thing seems different. Weirder. And the NY press being what it is just fuels it. Maybe Cap should take the initiative, offer a kiss and make up, and bury this f'n thing. It's about #27 — nothing else. We get enough Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan drama everywhere else, we really don't need it from the Yank's clubhouse.

Hey, Ca$h is in charge, Joe isn't sweatin' anything, we lost the two high-maintenance distractions we needed to, and stocked our pond in the process. Hughes, Sanchez, etc. on the horizon. This should be a good spring and a great season. The last thing I want to go through is a daily A-Rod death-watch.

It would be nice to see '25 guys/one goal'. Jeter can probably do something to affect this outcome. Not knowing the personal dynamics involved, I can only say I hope they meet halfway and end this. Now.

2007-02-19 19:59:05
16.   Simone
Hey folks, it's been awhile. I always thought A-Rod would opt out of his contract, but now I'm thinking, nope, he'll tough it out. We'll just have to wait and see.
2007-02-19 20:00:36
17.   BklynBmr
13 Ditto on the hopes that A-Rod will retire in pinstripes. Me, I never paid much attention to this "rift" with Jeter — I always thought it would and should not affect overall team results. See the Bronx Zoo teams of the late 70's. Those clubhouses were ones for the books. But they got it done.

For reasons I can't put my finger on, this thing seems different. Weirder. And the NY press being what it is just fuels it. Maybe Cap should take the initiative, offer a kiss and make up, and bury this f'n thing. It's about #27 — nothing else. We get enough Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan drama everywhere else, we really don't need it from the Yank's clubhouse.

Hey, Ca$h is in charge, Joe isn't sweatin' anything, we lost the two high-maintenance distractions we needed to, and stocked our pond in the process. Hughes, Sanchez, etc. on the horizon. This should be a good spring and a great season. The last thing I want to go through is a daily A-Rod death-watch.

It would be nice to see '25 guys/one goal'. Jeter can probably do something to affect this outcome. Not knowing the personal dynamics involved, I can only say I hope they meet halfway and end this. Now.

2007-02-19 20:07:02
18.   yankz
I can't comment at Was Watching because I'm too lazy to register, but he has an interesting take on the situation. Let me just say that I have complete faith in the Captain to do all the right things.

Sometimes I wish I was a little kid again. I didn't know about or care for any of this BS drama. Baseball was so pristine back then.

2007-02-19 20:10:11
19.   BklynBmr
15,17 Sorry 'bout that, gang. Don't know how that happened...

16 A belated Happy New Year and beyond. And, no reason to bring up the NFL playoffs on either of our accounts ;-)

2007-02-19 20:35:50
20.   BklynBmr
18 Thanks, yankz. That is a very good read by Steve L., right on the money IMHO.

http://www.waswatching.com/

Also, I hear ya on the 25 hours per day, 600 channel news cycle we're living in. BTW, what's the latest on Anna Nicole? I haven't heard anything new in at least 10 minutes!

2007-02-19 20:43:23
21.   Jim Dean
18 20 Sorry, it's a nifty bit of psychoanalyzing but I'm not buying it, for one simple reason:

This isn't something Alex would have done following the superstar playbook.

And you know what? If this is seen as a direct challenge to Jeter's NY supremacy, I say "Great!". Put up or shut up.

A-Rod playing the good choir boy wasn't working for him. If he's turning up the heat, then yeah - let him step right up and confront the bullshit.

And damn straight Jeter should do the same. I could give a crap if they're best friends. But everyone knew this already. It's about time they acknowledged it and moved on. If not, then let them compete on the field. Them trying to out-do each other only makes the team stronger.

2007-02-19 20:56:48
22.   Jim Dean
One more note on that: I fucking love this shit. The whole nonsense of this being Derek Jeter's team hasn't worked for six seasons now. Why? Because that nonsense doesn't apply in baseball.

Yet you have guys like Clemens and A-Rod coming in and being afraid of puffing their chests (check the numbers) for fear of offending Sir Jeter. Well, you know what? It's fucking NY City. There's room enough for plenty of ego and if it helps the pussy attitude that's infected the team for the last six years then I'm all for it.

Let the red asses glow!

2007-02-19 21:01:23
23.   BklynBmr
21 The military cliché of 'every war plan goes out the window the second the first shot is fired' applies here.

Any 'superstar playbook' had no chance here for Alex based on both expectations and his baggage from the SI piece. Yanks win in '04, and no one talking about this.

A-Rod is a commodity, granted. But I like your take on him putting this in Cap's lap. Sort this out, and let's 'PLAY BALL!'

2007-02-19 21:25:31
24.   yankz
You know what's more fun than the BFF drama? Looking at Robinson Cano's splits. God, I love this kid.

http://tinyurl.com/36va4z

Cano makes a great play (Warning: Risk of IQ loss after listening to Joe Morgan)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=sEBCaPPI2QA

Too bad the rest of the YT videos of him suck.

2007-02-20 05:27:37
25.   seamus
18 While there are probably elements of truth in their, I wouldn't buy into Lombardi's spin. A-Rod could save the world from Lex Luther and Lombardi would find some fault in it.
2007-02-20 09:13:00
26.   Raf
If I'm not mistaken, isn't this the first year Jeter put up better stats than Rodriguez?

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