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Yankees1 , Reds 1 (10 innings)
2007-03-07 16:55
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

In their first night game of the spring, the Yankees played the Reds to a ten-inning one-run tie, with Bronson Sardinha again coming up with a big ninth-inning hit in a televised game. Roger Clemens soaked it all in from the stands with his son Koby, the Astros minor league third baseman.

Lineup:

S - Melky Cabrera (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Jason Giambi (DH)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Hideki Matsui (LF)
R - Jorge Posada (C)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
L - Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)
R - Kevin Thompson (RF)

Pitchers: Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Darrell Rasner, Luis Vizcaino, Mike Myers, Jose Veras, Sean Henn

Subs: Josh Phelps (1B), Miguel Cairo (2B), Alberto Gonzalez (SS), Chris Basak (PR/3B), Ben Davis (C), Raul Chavez (C), Brett Gardner (CF), Kevin Reese (PR/LF), Eric Duncan (DH), Bronson Sardihna (PH/RF)

Opposition: The surprising third-place Reds' B-squad featuring just three starters led by Edwin Encarnacion.

Big Hits: Alex Rodriguez (2 for 3) led off the second inning with a double that rolled to the wall in center. With the Yankees down by one in the bottom of the ninth, Chris Basak (1 for 2) lead off by yanking a double down the left field line. After Kevin Reese bunted Basak to third in his only plate appearance, Torre sent Bronson Sardinha up to pinch-hit in roughly the same game situation as his game-winning homer on Monday. Sardinha delivered a game-tying single (it could have been a double but he stumbled rounding first). Later in that inning, with Cairo on first and two outs, Josh Phelps (1 for 1) creamed a ball to deep left that hopped over the wall for a grounds-rule double, forcing Cairo to hold up at third with the potential winning run.

Who Pitched Well: Everyone really. Pettitte pitched three scoreless innings, working out of a second inning bases-loaded jam by striking out Javier Valentin with a sharp curve and getting Juan Castro to ground into a double play. Mariano Rivera pitched his second perfect inning of the spring, striking out Josh Hamilton on a changeup, after which he laughingly gestured to Jeter at shortstop, pointing to his eyes as if to say "did you see that?" Darrell Rasner also showed a nice curve over three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two. Myers and Veras combined to pitch a perfect ninth. Henn added a perfect tenth save for Alberto Gonzalez's third error of the spring.

Who Didn't: Luis Vizcaino allowed the one Reds run on a Joey Votto homer with two outs in the eighth, but otherwise looked sharp, striking out two in his one inning of work, and also showing a nice curve.

Battles: Three scoreless innings by Rasner. A clutch ninth-inning double by Phelps in his only at-bat. Ben Davis flied out in his only at-bat and was pinch-hit for with Sardinha in the ninth. Raul Chavez served only as a defensive replacement in the tenth.

Oopsies: With two outs in the third and the bases empty, Pettitte got Chris Denorfia to hit a slow hopper to third base. Alex Rodriguez gloved it, pumped twice, and uncorked a throw that tailed into the runner. Mientkiewicz caught it, but was pulled off the bag and missed the tag. E-5. Rodriguez was also thrown out at home following his second-inning lead-off double when he then ran through Larry Bowa's stop sign on Hideki Matsui's ensuing single. In the third, Rodriguez took an 0-2 called strike three with two on and two outs. Tough day for the third baseman. After his game-tying single, Bronson Sardinha was thrown out stealing second on the back end of a botched hit-and-run (Cairo swung through the pitch). Alberto Gonzalez, who before last night had made the only two Yankee position player errors this spring, one at second base and one at third, picked up an E-6 in the tenth to complete the set when a hopper skipped under his glove at shortstop. To be fair, he had to range to his left and charge the ball to have a play on it.

Ouchies: In the first inning, Pettitte broke Denorfia's bat with a cutter and the barrel flew back to the mound and knicked him in the ring finger of his pitching hand. He showed no ill effects afterwords. The X-rays on Todd Pratt's heel came back negative, he should return to action soon. Humberto Sanchez is light tossing. Brian Bruney, who has been out with a back and the flue, threw 25 pitches in the bullpen last night and should get in a game by the weekend. Bobby Abreu should be dry swinging a bat this weekend.

Notes: Roger Clemens sat in the stands near the Yankee dugout to watch his buddy Andy Pettitte pitch. He spend an inning on the air with Ken Singleton and Al Leiter (my broadcast dream team) in the YES booth, but didn't betray anything about his intentions for this year (though if you want to try to read into his words, the clip is available on MLB.com). During the game, Clemens was seen talking jovially with Ron Guidry, Yogi Berra, and Reggie Jackson. It's a real treat to see players of that caliber palling around and disseminating wisdom to the current Yankees. Goose Gossage seemed to spend the entire game lecturing Scott Proctor in the dugout. Good stuff.

Comments
2007-03-07 20:44:59
1.   Rich
1) I continue to have a man crush on Josh Phelps's pursuit to make the team.

2) I hated to see Gardner apparently determined to not swing at a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded.

3) Gonzalez has been a huge, HUGE disappointment.

4) I was impressed with Rasner, and Sardinha continues to produce big hits.

btw, Abraham reported that Pettitte sustained a minor cut to his finger.

2007-03-07 21:21:30
2.   joejoejoe
What about Melky Cabrera screams leadoff hitter in this lineup? Are the days of Derek Jeter batting leadoff now officially over? If Damon goes down with an injury is Joe Torre going to throw away a chunk of runs by slotting Melky into Damon's leadoff role? I'm troubled by the idea of Melky batting leadoff on this team.

I know Torre loves to break up his R/L hitters but it's crazy to give Melky the extra ABs over Jeter, A-Rod or Abreu. I don't want to obsess over something this small but the few runs it costs over a season might be the win that puts you in the playoffs.

2007-03-07 22:08:35
3.   monkeypants
Phelps crushes another ball, further solidifies Minky's spot on roster.
2007-03-07 22:22:06
4.   Cliff Corcoran
2 Well, let's see. Melky's OBP last year was one point higher than Damon's (.360 to .359), when slotted in as the first man in the order in 2006 Melky hit .333/.405/.467, and when leading off an inning last year he hit .348/.395/.548. Melky's also fast and can steal bases. I see no problem with Torre using him as a "backup" leadoff man.

1 3) Sounds like your expectations were too high (a "hugh, HUGH" disappointment shouldn't have been possible), though certainly his defense thus far has not been as advertised.

2007-03-08 00:01:23
5.   joejoejoe
4 Melky stole 12 bases (5 CS) in 130 games in '06. He stole 13 bases (2 CS) in 138 games in '05. He looks fast in the OF but he hasn't show it on the basepaths. I think the topic of leadoff hitters was pretty much debated to death last year. I'm not endorsing Damon as leadoff but that's a done deal. Slotting Cabrera into Damon's slot because it makes it easy for everyone to find themselves on the lineup card is another story. Jeter would be a much better choice for leadoff than Damon under any statistical model and a mile better than Cabrera.

Here's what Baseball Musings Generator came up with for the '07 NYY ('54-'04 model).

w/Melky and Minky
Max runs/g = 6.453, minimum 6.201 - http://tinyurl.com/37u466

w/Damon and Minky
Max runs/game = 6.531, minimum 6.314 - http://tinyurl.com/2skr65

All of top max. lineups have Jeter batting leadoff and Melky last. It's not just about OB% - Cabrera has a SLG% 91 points lower than Damon. I'd be very happy if Melky has a better year than last year and develops power but the fact is the Red Sox bat Kevin Youkilis leadoff for a reason - he generates more runs for the team in that slot over the long run. Finding 0.1 runs a game is 16.2 runs a year. If you can do that simply with a more efficient batting order why wouldn't you? It's about 1.5 wins a year. There are a lot of conventional R/L/R/L lineups in the model that generate around 6.45 runs a game. Why not use one?

2007-03-08 00:02:28
6.   joejoejoe
4 On the Melky leadoff numbers - if it's a decent sample then you are right and I am wrong.
2007-03-08 03:08:28
7.   mikeplugh
I like Abreu in the leadoff spot personally, but he doesn't. He wants to be #3, and had an issue with it in Philly. Best if the first guy to hit sees 16 pitches and lets his teammated get a longer look, no?

Damon also does a great job. Jeter is a good leadoff hitter, but that aspect of his game is sometimes wanting with his free swinging style.

2007-03-08 05:30:40
8.   Jim Dean
What's up with the Attorney General? No bat AND no glove?

And Steven Jackson? Meh.

Meanwhile: Bean, Beam, Britton, Veras, Henn, Whelan, and heck even DeSalvo have all pitched better than Vizcaino. If you're counting at home that's seven relief pitchers who will start the year in the minors while Vizacaino blows a few games because he has a MLB history.

Shoot, if it wasn't for Dorf (Bless you Dorfman!), they could have just given Unit away.

Oh wait...

And that's your Daily Dean Rant!

2007-03-08 05:43:31
9.   yankz
Hey, Spring Training results mean everything! Totally how I always judge trades.
2007-03-08 06:10:01
10.   Jim Dean
9 Of course, you're right. In three years, we'll know if that trade was a success. Still that doesn't mean we can judge the result on the 2007 Yankees. And that won't be good, if at all.

Meanwhile, Stinky Minky continues his impressive hitless streak. The sad part is: He'll still be the opening day starter.

2007-03-08 06:18:20
11.   Jim Dean
11 One name I never knew, but the Yanks should have: Chris Carter. He's also hitting well for the Dbacks in addition to Conor Jackson. Except he's a year younger going into his year 24. His mL numbers to date through AAA? .307 .396 .526

So, let me get this straight. They had two young 1B's in addition to Tony Clark and the Yanks couldn't get one.

Yup, I know - it's an old rant. But it will apply even time MCI starts this year and drive me slowly mad in the process. By the end I'll only be able to type "MCI" over and over again.

MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy. MCI and a close race makes Jim a dull boy.

2007-03-08 06:24:39
12.   Cliff Corcoran
On the leadoff debate, I thought we covered this last year:

http://bronxbanter.baseballtoaster.com/archives/324917.html

2007-03-08 06:27:21
13.   Shaun P
11 I bet you could make a macro of that so you don't have to re-type it every time.

I'm not worried about Gonzalez yet, like yankz said in 9 - it is just spring training after all. Now if June rolls around, and he has 20 errors in the minors, then its time to worry.

Moose versus the Braves today - wonder if more vet hitters than usual will make the trip because its Disney World? Supposed to be a lot of nice golf courses around there.

2007-03-08 06:31:52
14.   Bama Yankee
11 Hey Jim, I have a question for you to take your mind off the MCI thing. Who is your favorite Yankee player of all time and why?
2007-03-08 06:34:36
15.   JL25and3
"Grounds-rule double?" Cliff, you've been listening to Sterling for too long.

8 There's also the question of who has options. Spring training is always a small sample size, so unless there's a huge disparity, they'd rather give themselves the most flexibility. Look at Vizcaino for another month, and if he sucks you can cut bait and bring up Britton (or somebody). No great harm done.

2007-03-08 06:46:18
16.   Shaun P
So Abreu swings a 'dry bat' this weekend, and maybe he's back in action by the weekend after. So, if he only gets about 2 weeks of spring hitting time, any thoughts on how it might affect him?
2007-03-08 06:51:43
17.   mikeplugh
12 Of course it hardly matters Cliff, and that was a good read by the way, but in some kind of alternate universe I have to wonder if the potential for the guys in the 1st inning order to see more pitches would be worth Abreu leading off. Statistically, it hardly seems to matter, but I wonder if it would give a couple of guys a leg up for having looked at the starter more.

I'll have to work on that simulation when the George Steinbrenner "AI" game is available for X-Box.

2007-03-08 06:56:36
18.   Raf
16 As an 11 year veteran, it shouldn't affect him too much.
2007-03-08 07:03:18
19.   joejoejoe
1217 The difference in height between Mount Everest and K2 is 2.3%. Every little bit counts.
2007-03-08 07:10:56
20.   williamnyy23
7 Is it still fair to call Derek Jeter a free swinger? In fact, was DJ ever really a free swinger? That seems to be a popular misconception with which I disagree.

While he isn't Abreu or Giambi by any stretch, Jeter does exhibit enough patience to walk his fair share. I don't know what the P/PA numbers say, but I'm sure Jeter doesn't rank among other players who are more accurately defined as free swingers...guys such as Vlad and Nomar.

In other words, while Jeter may be a free swinger in the local night clubs, I think he is a moderately patient guy in the batter's box.

2007-03-08 07:13:43
21.   Jim Dean
14 I'm not sure I have one. It's more like I appreciate the parts on each team for what they offer.

As a kid I liked Pags and Rags.

I really liked O'Neill - especially since he used to interact with the fans in the RF porch. Plus, I loved his intensity. That's one thing that hasn't been replaced since he left. Shef was a SOB but he was selfish - always has been.

Meeting Bernie last summer showed just how cool he is. I wish I watched him more closely over the years - but it was so easy for him to blend in and then appreciate the results.

Who doesn't love Donnie B? And he's kind enough to wave/point when you yell his name.

And of course Mo. But loving Mo is like loving a robot - he's so automatic you just can't embrace him as a favorite.

Posada I appreciate as a player - but I'm not sure he'd be fun to have a beer with.

More I think I just like to root for the kids and nothing makes me happier than when they make it. But then I move on to cheer for a new crop. It's like Cano, Wang, and Melky (to say nothing of Jeter) have their fans now - they don't need me. But the transition from prospect to valued teammate was really fun to watch.

That might also explain my craziness with MCI, Cairo, and Pratt. Not only do they offer nothing to the team - they offer nothing to me as a fan. It also goes back to why I was pissed they didn't give 1B to Nick Johnson. To me, the Giambi signing was the moment the dynasty flipped.

Now this year? Can I really root for Phil Huge? We all know he's going to be great.

Otherwise the team is lacking pleasant surprises. That's where I think a young C or 1B would have been a nice gift as a fan.

You?

2007-03-08 07:18:04
22.   joejoejoe
20 I think people mean Jeter swings and misses a lot - not that he isn't patient.
2007-03-08 07:32:53
23.   Rob Middletown CT
Phelps just keeps hitting. Of course, it's ST, and he's probably getting those hits off of scrubs. But those are the same scrubs getting ManCaveItch out.

I argued last year that Andy Philips should get a shot. He got it. He sucked.

ManCaveItch is what he is - a defensive specialist at a position known for offense. Meh. I'd be ok with a MCI/Phelps platoon, I guess.

2007-03-08 07:47:14
24.   Schteeve
Music and Lyrics was a Hugh Hugh Hugh disppointment.
2007-03-08 07:59:06
25.   Start Spreading the News
5JoeCubed, your point of 16.2 runs only makes a difference if Melky plays leadoff all 162 instead of Damon.

How often is that really going to happen? Damon has shown a history of playing, injured or not. Typically 10 runs roughly translates to a win. So year of Melky over Damon is 1.6 wins. But 20 games of such a lineup construction is only 2 runs or .2 wins.

2007-03-08 08:03:30
26.   Cliff Corcoran
24 Again, your expectations were likely too high.
2007-03-08 08:06:37
27.   yankz
24Last week's house was a Hugh success, IMO.
2007-03-08 08:52:16
28.   Jeteupthemiddle
I feel kind of bad for Phillips.

Through no fault of his own, he isn't able to participate in the games this spring....meanwhile, Phelps keeps hitting the ball.

I am hopeful that when Phillips is designated for assignment, a team picks him up.

Also, I mentioned this in yesterday's thread, but figured i would mention it again...if anyone wants to participate in a Phil Hughes Community Projection, please feel free to do so at my blog. jeteupthemiddle.blogspot.com

Thanks.

2007-03-08 09:16:30
29.   David
28 If Phillips is designated for assignement, it would be good for him if another team picks him up. However, the Yanks would be better off if he didn't get picked up, thus remaining a backup option if Phelps and MCI don't pan out.

So, could the Yanks send Phillips to the minors without being picked up by another team? I think there's a pretty good chance he wouldn't be picked up, because other teams are having the problem of retaining all the players they kind of like. They won't have a slots for a mediocre first baseman.

2007-03-08 09:17:47
30.   Bama Yankee
21 Good answer Jim. I always had you pegged as a Paul O'Neil fan since you seem to share his intensity (I mean that in a good way, I appreciate and understand your passion for what you believe in when it comes to the Yankees).

As for me the answer is Mattingly, when I was a kid I was a Reggie fan (at least until I read the Bronx Zoo). Just as the torch seemed to get passed from Thurman to Mattingly to Jeter so did my favorite player change through the years. I realize that those guys are an obvious choice, however growing up in Alabama I took a lot of grief for being a Yankee fan and we didn't get much coverage down here. So I guess I just went with the most popular guys (so people would know who I was talking about when they asked me who my favorite player was). I also liked Rickey and Bernie since I played OF. Now of course I guess I am the last Andy Phillips fan around (say it ain't so Cliff).

2007-03-08 09:20:12
31.   OldYanksFan
Some pretty exciting stuff: http://tinyurl.com/ysvjho
Please take a look at this, Mr. Dean.
It looks to me like 516 RH pitchers may not be a bad thing.
2007-03-08 09:52:28
32.   Jim Dean
31 I only have a problem with 462 relief pitchers because of the utter trash on the 2007 Yankees. MCI starting opening day is a problem especially since a Conor Jackson/Chris Carter could have been had (and both are younger than Cody Ehlers - he and Andy Phillips should talk - sorry Bama). Eric Duncan can't be counted on until he shows something in Scranton.

Then to have nothing behind Jorge, that's a problem too with no solution in the system.

Sure, it's nice they Kevin Thompson and Bronson Sardinha. But light hitting OF's are almost as common as above average hitting 1B's.

My point all along is that the GM has made choices that makes the race closer than it should be. Even if a better 1B meant only two wins, that's two more wins that the other teams need to make up.

30 Thanks and good to hear. Me, I wish A-Rod would bust out with some intense shit - I think he's the one person on the current team that's got an O'Neill streak in him.

2007-03-08 10:04:50
33.   Cliff Corcoran
32 Rodriguez can get hot under the collar, but Posada's the red-ass on this team.
2007-03-08 10:30:23
34.   Chyll Will
30 Nope, you're not the only one (cough) He's the one that got me started here after all. I have a very soft spot for the underdog as Mom taught us to always protect those younger and weaker than yourself. Sentimentally, that's how I see Andy. I hope he stays for another year, even if it means starting out in Scranton for a month or so, but whatever God intends iss more important than anything else.

(cough) 32 I agree(!) I've always said he should just shout "@#$%-it!" at everyone and play. A-Rod + (@#$%) = 1 Sad A.L. I hope the last three seasons have been seasoning enough.

2007-03-08 10:46:27
35.   Jim Dean
33 The weird thing about Jorge is that he gets red ass but he doesn't fire up the team in the process. I'm not sure he's a typical field general nor with the bat nor in the clubhouse.

I think Alex has that in him.

2007-03-08 11:06:43
36.   hoppystone
Gee, all this talk about generals and red-asses - we already have a 'captain', don't we?
(Obviously, this is a deliberate effort to stir up another pot...)
2007-03-08 11:07:31
37.   Bama Yankee
34 Good to hear that I am not the only one. Andy is a genuinely good guy and seems to be well thought of by his teammates. His performance on the field last year certainly could have been better (although I disagree with 23's comment that he "sucked"). People seem to forget that he did have a couple of good months (May and June) sandwiched between a couple of bad months. All in all, I don't think that he is the long term answer for the Yankees at 1B, but while it lasts it sure is good for me to see a fellow Crimson Tide alum wearing pinstripes.
2007-03-08 11:32:32
38.   Bama Yankee
32 & 34 Good call on A-Rod (after reading Jim's comment I was hoping that Chyll would post his classic A-Rod idea). Along those same lines, I had a thought the other day that A-Rod should try the Muhammad Ali approach.

After watching a special on Ali it struck me how he went from being a villain (after the Vietnam stuff) to being one of the most beloved figures in all of sport. All the while talking trash about how he was "The Greatest". He was able to back it up most of the time, but not always (losing a few famous bouts). His trash talk seemed to "get inside the head" of his opponent, giving him a slight advantage. His opponents would try so hard to shut him up that they would get out of their game plan.

It might not be Alex's style or personality to do this, but when his career is done he might very well be considered "The Greatest" so I say that he starts acting the part. If he wants to proclaim it a'la Ali, then go right ahead. At least maybe he will get inside the opponent's head instead of his own.

2007-03-08 11:55:26
39.   Cliff Corcoran
38 That's pretty much the exact opposite of what Rodriguez needs to do. This isn't boxing, or even the NFL or NBA. It's a daily nine-act play about the harsh realities of life and probability. You can't will yourself to greatness in baseball, even if you're already great.
2007-03-08 12:04:37
40.   Chyll Will
38 I didn't know it was classic, since no one responded to it anytime I mentioned it (including you, whom I was paraphrasing when I first said it >;) But it makes perfect sense:

"Throw the ball, catch the ball, hit the ball, eat the ball, tell 'em to kiss your behind if necessary, play the game."

If some actual Yankee was/is reading this blog and related this mantra to A-Rod, then in him I am well pleased. (cough)

2007-03-08 12:13:34
41.   vockins
Colter Bean is on fire! 6 up, 6 down!
2007-03-08 12:27:38
42.   Chyll Will
36 Being sick enough to slow down and think it over, I will say this about our Captain:

Never has Jeter gotten in someone's face on camera and screamed, shouted or otherwise humiliated his teammate for all to see. The reason we don't see these types of public outbursts from the Captain is as simple as respect and as deep as not letting your opponents or supporters know your weaknesses.

I would hate to be called out in front of strangers about my attitude or my apparent/assorted flaws and weaknesses. Whatever the issues that A-Rod and Jeter have with each other, they've kept the details under wraps even with the micro-speculation that flies around here and everywhere. Some people respond to a public slap in the face or on the butt, but some don't. If A-Rod begins to focus on the fundamentals and forget what the press or Jeter said or didn't say about him, he kills the AL this year. Don't you think that any team would gladly exploit those things if they know they have to face him, especially when he's on a tear?

All that to say this: Jeter, as much as I and anyone else would like him to stick up for A-Rod or at least show some emotion when confronted with potential disruptions, is what he is and has not let anything disturb his production, something his teammates can all gain something from. He's the one with insight on what's going on with whom, and though his approach to handling authority is not outwardly impressive, it has seemingly had enough effect to keep this team in uncommon competitiveness since he was named captain. All we can do is speculate and look at the results, which aren't as bad as we tend to think. (cough)

2007-03-08 12:45:42
43.   Shaun P
42 Jeter is what he is, oh so true. As time goes on, I find that what I think Derek Jeter is, is probably not what Derek Jeter wishes me to think. There is a disconnect between the image he projects and his actions/words - you just have to look closely to see it. I missed it for years, to be honest with you.

This isn't a bad thing - I understand that DiMaggio (and Mantle, to a degree) was (were) the same way - just an observation.

Nonetheless, the less time this season we feel the need to discuss the Jeter-A-Rod relationship, A-Rod's coping abilities, et al., the better off we probably are. And the better the Yanks must be doing!

I hope.

2007-03-08 12:48:43
44.   sam2175
Colter Bean! Colter Bean!

I hope some team gives him a chance in the majors.

2007-03-08 12:53:40
45.   Bama Yankee
39 I see your point. I agree that he can't "will" himself to be great. He already is great. It just seems that sometimes he (along with some fans) forgets that fact and his play suffers. I was suggesting that he stop being so nice (as Jim and Chyll mentioned) and display a little more bravado. Hopefully, this would translate into more confidence on the field and help his psyche.

Even though baseball is different (especially the team aspect instead of an individual sport), I think there are some areas where a little bravdo is not out of line. The confrontation between a batter and a pitcher is a classic one-on-one battle where intimidation plays a part (think Sheff vs. Pedro).

A-Rod may not be able to be the next Ali (Ali was one of a kind), but I wouldn't mind seeing him be more boisterous ("it ain't braggin' if you can back it up"). It always seemed to work for Reggie "Magnitude of Me" Jackson and Gary "Mystique of Me" Sheffield.

I am ready for Alex "Mystiq-itude of Me" Rodriguez.

2007-03-08 13:15:23
46.   Chyll Will
44 Yes, but I would argue that our perceptions are augmented or biased by what we read about him as opposed to first-hand observations:

I read a story about a former non-star Yankee during the lean years when Mickey played out his last few years in decline; the guy was rookie and was on the bench when Mickey stormed back into the dugout after striking out, proceeding to unleash his temper on everything inanimate within reach, all the while cursing up a storm. Then he finally threw himself on the bench next to the rookie, fuming. The guy's obviously shaking like a leaf, when Mickey turns around and looks him in the face.

"You know how the town of Normal, OK got it's name?" Mickey says.

No, to which Mickey starts to tell one of his infamously dirty stories. It loosened him up a lot, but also gave an important lesson that even I got without knowing the actual story. Perhaps there are things we don't really know about Jeter because the ones with direct access to him are more concerned about things related to their columns or editors. I would argue that Joe D., for whatever faults he may have had as a teammate, was passionate about things beyond baseball, which would explain his routine of placing a rose on Marilyn's grave once a year for practically the rest of his life. And considering how most writers and columnists tend to behave in NYC in particular now as opposed to fifty years ago and such, disconnect might be a good strategy. Could you imagine having to be "on" all the time? To be chained to a particular image, regardless of your own imagination or desires?

Think Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes) and Charles Schulz (Peanuts). I read where Schulz's ultimate disappointment, regardless of being the most successful cartoonist in history, was that he could never break out of the mold that he created himself with Peanuts. Bill Watterson sited that as one of his reasons for discontinuing his own strip. Apply that to baseball, and the principle can and might end up being the same.

2007-03-08 13:32:42
47.   Shaun P
46 "Could you imagine having to be "on" all the time? To be chained to a particular image, regardless of your own imagination or desires?"

No, and that's why I feel bad for A-Rod, who seems to be in exactly the situation you describe.

I understand Bill Watterson's thinking, and I don't blame him for it. But I sure do miss Calvin and Hobbes.

2007-03-08 14:12:56
48.   Chyll Will
46 Obviously I meant 43

47 Yeah (sigh) one of my major inspirations.

45 I agree with you Bama, but I would replace "bravado" with focus. I don't see A-Rod devolving into an average ballplayer under any circumstance. Imagine if he had to go through what Andy is going through right now... I can't imagine how the writers would be stepping all over themselves to appear supportive and considerate if he had ongoing circumstances to deal with. That's why you should never buy into the hype, good or bad honestly. If he can't walk on water, I expect him to fail at times more often than I would want, but give the best he's got.

Honestly, I think we need to redefine our heroes and allow these men to do their best. They're only the best after the deed is done.

2007-03-08 16:59:55
49.   Chyll Will
(cough)

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