Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2008-08-27 05:50
by Alex Belth

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008 New York Yankees.


Last night in the comments section, Schteeve asked, "If the 2008 Yankees were a character from fiction who would they be?" 

Chyll Will offered: "Gollem: Seems he was good maybe five hundred years ago...Garfield: Old, fat, and not nearly as entertaining as he used to be. Or The Family Circus: stuck in a time warp and way out of touch with reality." 

Mr OK Jazz TOKYO wrote:  "Charles Foster Kane: Started out with ideals and became a bloated, pompous mess with no friends, spending money wildly and ending up alone in an over-priced tomb."

Jeb had a bunch of winners: "Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby: Looks good, but has no integrity and will ultimately disappoint you. How about Dorian Gray? Seemingly young and virile, but with a picture of themselves in the attic that's aging beyond belief...For some reason I initially kept thinking of Bob Ewell from To Kill a Mockingbird but there was no way that could work unless Yankee fans are Arod's daughter and we're put Cashman on trial for Arod's sins....Hey it does kind of work."

Man, our readers are so cool.  What else ya got?

2008-08-27 07:01:08
1.   Sliced Bread
Not sure what character the team embodies, but ARod definintely has a Hester Prynne thing going on.
Damn, the pinstripped Puritans are givin' it to ol' H-Pry this morning.
2008-08-27 07:02:05
2.   Dimelo
I would say Fredo Corleone, "It ain't the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I'm smart! Not like everybody says... like dumb... I'm smart and I want respect!"

Then, just like Fredo, they get shot in the lake and there goes their 2008 season - I think last night was the lake scene.

2008-08-27 07:08:17
3.   Knuckles
Popeye, during a spinach shortage.
2008-08-27 07:08:52
4.   tommyl
Posted this just before the new thread went up so I'll repost here, in response to some other comments:

Argh, I'm not trying to be an A-Rod apologist but, argh. Can we stop this bashing of him? He had a shitty game last night, he's having an off year with RISP, but geez he's otherwise been amazing. I was at the game last night and Cliff, you're wrong about the booing, it started on Cash's infield single when A-Rod tried to barehand it. It was embarassing to call myself a Yankee fan at that point and be associated with those people. They literally expect A-Rod to run faster than a speeding bullet and hit a HR everytime out.

I was also at Game 4 of the ALDS last year and I remember when A-Rod hit that HR in the 7th people were complaining saying it was too little too late. Meanwhile, everyone forgets that the inning before Jeter grounded into a DP in a 1st and 3rd, 1 out situation. My point is not to bash Jeter at all, its to show that even the "clutchiest" of hitters screw up in big situations and that often our prevailing prejudices force us into a storyline. Does no one remember Alex's 12th inning HR a week ago?

I'm ranting a bit, but I'm sorry. In the long list of why the 2008 Yankees are mediocre the idea that A-Rod is high on that list is laughable. He has a 157 OPS+ and is playing a good 3B. I'm amazed no one besides Cliff has even pointed a finger at Andy for last night's game. You can't walk the 7-8-9 hitters as much as he did.

2008-08-27 07:17:44
5.   Sliced Bread
With RISP the 2008 Yanks are lilliputians... the shattered conch in Lord Of The Flies... the executed rebel pigs in Animal Farm.
2008-08-27 07:19:47
6.   Dimelo
4 You can have MRod. You can give me all the numbers you like and tell me how great he is, but MRod is a piece of crap. I'm not blaming MRod for those dribblers, that's definitely not his fault.

Last night's loss though, that IS MRod's fault. Andy didn't have his best stuff, but MRod had many chances to do something about it, to make a difference, to make us all believers again. The bottom line is that he didn't, sorry, it has nothing to do with how much money he makes, his image, looks or whatever, he's just a big loser who is suppose to be the best player and he plays like one big loser. If you want to pretend you don't see it, then fine.

That second at-bat against Wakefield, where he swung at a pitch 3 feet on the left handers batter's box is typical of what you'd expect from him when a big hit is needed. You can always count on MRod to fail when you most need him.

It's not even about "clutch", it's about when you most need him. I'm not talking about a game in the middle of May where he fails, this is when he's suppose to shine. Yet, he continually fails...the only conclusion you can make is that he's just a loser.

It took me a while, but yesterday I came to that conclusion.

2008-08-27 07:27:31
7.   tommyl
If we're going to Lord of the Rings how about Boromir? Great things expected of him but ultimately temptation and a lack of discipline led to his downfall. There was a small bit of redemption for him in the end, perhaps some of the kids can cheer us up down the stretch run to unimportance.
2008-08-27 07:30:05
8.   tommyl
6 A-Rod, Sept./Oct. 2007:

.362/.470/.723/1.193 203 OPS+, 10 HR, 31 RBIs. Yeah he really didn't help them when they really needed it last year.

2008-08-27 07:31:37
9.   Sliced Bread
The 2008 Yanks are Miss Havisham, and we're Pip with the Great Expectations.
Heh. Pips in pinstripes. Oy, when will they start the clocks, and put on the other shoe already?
2008-08-27 07:32:15
10.   pistolpete
Really sending the Stadium out in style, aren't they? Yeesh.

You know when they should have knocked it down? Right after Game 5 of the 2001 World Series. One of the greatest, 'gritty' performances I've ever seen (starting with the night before) from that bunch, and it would have been the perfect sendoff with YES just starting up as well.

Who cares that they didn't have a plan at that point. Bring in the wrecking ball, play at Shea for 7 years, who cares. They've done about as well in the playoff department as the boys from Queens anyway... Just a complete disgrace of a year it's been up to this point.

Either that, or keep the old Stadium up until we finally win another championship, then have the parade route lead right into it for one final celebration.

That all off my chest, I'm glad I chose to catch up on my DVR viewing last night instead.

2008-08-27 07:35:37
11.   tommyl
I know he's on the Sox, but Tim Wakefield is one classy guy:

2008-08-27 07:38:59
12.   bp1
I would imagine if A-Rod is reading the banter this morning, he's Pink, trying to build a wall around himself. Don't be surprised if he shows up in tonight's game with shaved eyebrows.

Hank will be in the owner's box, looking down:

Hush, my A-Rod. A-Rod, dont you cry.
Hank is gonna make all of your nightmares come true.
Hank is gonna put all of his fears into you.
Hank is gonna keep you right here under his wing.
He wont let you fly, but he might let you swing.
Hank is gonna keep A-Rod cozy and warm.

2008-08-27 07:39:50
13.   tommyl
6 I think your argument proves my point. At this stage when do the Yankees not need a big hit from A-Rod? He can't do it every game, but because its ingrained in us that the storyline is A-Rod is a choker we harp on the negative. Giambi had an 0-fer, so did I-Rod (including that PH with runners on). Why don't we call them the chokingest chokers ever?
2008-08-27 07:40:18
14.   jonnystrongleg
The Yankees are the Knights of the Round Table. We have seen their great triumphs; and now we see their morte.

Torre is Merlin, imprisoned in LA, helpless to stop the impending doom he had prophesized.

Jeter is Arthur. Not the best knight, not the best player, but the man trying to hold it altogether in the face of diminished skills. His early career brought unheard of success, and his later career will never quite measure up. He is the once and future Yankee.

Mariano is Percival. A holy man, able to achieve the ultimate quest and rise above the folly of the latter day knights. Always separate from the brotherhood in some sense.

Arod is Lancelot - the greatest Knight who will never achieve his most important quest because of a fatal flaw.

Giambi is Gawaine, a powerful figure whose strength increased 'til noon and then faded in kind.

I'm sure their are other good comparisons, but these are the one that jump out.

2008-08-27 07:44:20
15.   Dimelo
8 A-Rod, Sept./Oct. 2007

BTW, just cause the regular season went one day into October then that doesn't mean he REALLY put those numbers up in October. A little misleading. Because we all know what ARod HAS done during the real October.

Anyhow, here's what MRod has done with bases loaded this YEAR, 2008:

Late inning pressure:
.286/.379/ .469


RISP 2 Outs:

Keep in mind that he has 9 and 7 IBB when there are RISP and RISP w/ 2 outs, respectively.

MRod is like that guy at work who shines 9 - 5, but when he/she gets the call at 3 in the morning because something is not right then he's no where to be found - though he's the one that help out the most.

He's like David Blaine, he always disappears when you need him most. However, unlike Blaine, you can still see him there but you see that his insides have been guttted.

2008-08-27 07:47:13
16.   Bama Yankee
I think the 2008 Yankees are Willy Loman staring in the epic "Death of a Batsman"

Also, after seeing those two runs score on a grounder to third, J.D. Salinger might say that Giambi was Holden Ball-in-field...

2008-08-27 07:48:09
17.   Dimelo
11 Yea he is a classy guy, I agree with you 1000% there.
2008-08-27 07:51:02
18.   tommyl
15 Again, you're proving my point. Last year he was amazing, this year not as much. When you deal with small sample sizes and cherry pick numbers you can paint any picture you want. Over his career A-Rod has been nothing short of remarkable. I'm not denying he has done poorly in some big situations this year, but the idea that A-Rod is just plain a choker is untrue. Last year he was clutch, this year he hasn't been as much. Which is the real A-Rod? Both are!

You want to go postseason, take his numbers up to Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS and then after. The first set shows a great playoff performer, the last set shows a mediocre to bad one. Which do you put stock in?

2008-08-27 07:52:15
19.   tommyl
14 Wow, that's spot on man. I love it. Who's Mordred?
2008-08-27 07:52:27
20.   pistolpete
14 That's pretty good. Gave me the chills.
2008-08-27 07:56:34
21.   Dimelo
18 Aren't you cherry picking to prove how "great" and "clutch" MRod is/has been?

I'm sorry, when the Yanks needed him most last year he didn't show up. It's been like that every year of his Yankee career, I'm sorry but there's a pattern here that is too hard to deny at this point. When the Yanks need him most, when there collective backs are against the wall and he comes up with an opportunity to remind us all how "great" he really is then he fails.

The only memory I have of MRod is of him failing, but there were those great games against the Indians and Orioles last year in April. Those were great and I am not diminishing them or his accomplishments, but when everyone is truly watching...he disappears. That's what I see.

2008-08-27 08:04:35
22.   tommyl
21 Yes I am cherry picking! That's my point, A-Rod is neither super clutch or a choker. He succeeds and fails sometimes and over his career his performance in most situations is about the same as his normal performance. I also remind you that A-Rod almost single-handedly won the 2004 ALDS against the Twins. Without him there was no series with the Sox. Without him last year they don't even come close to the playoffs. I'm not sure how you define "when they need him most"? It seems you're defining it as important times when A-Rod didn't come through. Well then yes, he sucks at those times, but he's also come through a fair amount as well.

Why isn't Jeter a choker to you for that GIDP in the 6th inning of game 4 last year? That killed the only real rally they had that game. Didn't they need Jeter to come through there more than at any other point in the season? and he failed.

2008-08-27 08:09:01
23.   JL25and3
8 Yeah, but none of those hits really mattered. Just padding his stats.
2008-08-27 08:16:13
24.   tommyl
23 Ah right, I forgot. The only ABs that matter are when A-Rod comes up and he fails. Right? ;)
2008-08-27 08:20:14
25.   dianagramr
ARod with RISP, since 2000

Season BA OBA Slug%
2000 .295 .414 .597
2001 .307 .402 .647
2002 .366 .479 .752
2003 .281 .383 .527
2004 .248 .346 .439
2005 .290 .410 .484
2006 .302 .431 .508
2007 .330 .457 .659
2008 .246 .400 .413

2008-08-27 08:23:40
26.   tommyl
25 What's his career rates?
2008-08-27 08:24:15
27.   jonnystrongleg
19 I couldn't think of a good one for Mordred. Ideally he would be an ex-Yankee who sucked in NY and then bloomed in Boston. But nobody really fits that bill.

So you could just use one of Boston's villains or one of the hugely disappointing Yanks. Neither is really satisfying though.

2008-08-27 08:30:25
28.   weeping for brunnhilde
Just to wade into the fray here, I think the problem Dimelo is trying to articulate is that, in these big spots, one can observe Alex not merely making an out, but appearing jumpy and nervous.

You can see the guy feels the pressure and, as Damon observed, feels the need to show he's the greatest player ever.

I believe that demonstrating Alex's performance by statistics fails to grasp the true nature of the argument here.

I believe the point is that something in Alex's psyche allows him to beat himself, to appear overmatched even by mediocre pitchers. "Choking" isn't the same thing as "making an out in a big spot."

"Choking" is allowing the pressure to negatively impact one's performance.

I think it's hard to make an argument that among players in Alex's class, he's conspicuously susceptible to beating himself rather than merely getting beaten or making an out.

Come on guys, we all watch Alex day in and day out; can any of us really say that he's the guy we want up in a pressure situation? Or that we've not often seen him just wilt under pressure?

This isn't Alex-bashing, just plain observation.

2008-08-27 08:30:36
29.   pistolpete
27 Beckett.
2008-08-27 08:32:26
30.   JL25and3
28 What I will say is this: Rodriguez is a streaky hitter, and when he's in a cold streak he looks awful. I'm not willing to attribute any of it to "big spots" or "clutch" or anything else - just cold streaks where he looks terrible.
2008-08-27 08:34:26
31.   Dimelo
28 Thank you!!!! This is so true, "Choking" is allowing the pressure to negatively impact one's performance.

You should have put that in bold, so I did it for you. I think that's the easiest way to describe it. That statement is the clarity I was searching for, thanks again!

2008-08-27 08:35:38
32.   williamnyy23
21 You seem to keep ignoring all of the evidence in an effort to prove your point. I think that speaks to the strength of your argument.

Here is the only place where I think you can knock Arod: compared to the very best in the game (i.e., Manny, Pujols and maybe one or two more), Arod seems much more prone to get into mental slumps, whereas the other greats seem to only suffer from mechanical problems. That's not really a big problem, however, unless your entire lineup is built around Arod and you really on him to get a big hit every night. I don't think it's a crime to suggest that Aarod may not be as good a hitter as Pujols and Manny, but it is rathe rabsurd to suggest he isn't a great player.

2008-08-27 08:39:49
33.   Dimelo
32 MRod is simply Patrick Ewing, he's great, one of the top 50 players of all time, just like Ewing. But when you need him most then Pippen is dunking on Ewing and putting his nuts in Ewing's face.

Ewing got booed constantly, Ewing would make absurd statements and never deliver when they needed him, I think that's it.....MRod will simply go down as the greatest player the franchise ever had who never won it all, just like Ewing.

2008-08-27 08:48:27
34.   williamnyy23
33 Right...because Ewing didn't play great and lead to the Knicks to the verge of a championship. I guess it's Ewing's fault that the Bulls had the best player on the planet and Pippen...and we might as well blame him for Starks inability to hit one damn jump shot. You've made a great comparison, however. Maligning Ewing was a pretty silly fan reaction, so it seems that the same lack of logic is behind those who boo Arod.

By the way, how do the Knicks look without Ewing now?

2008-08-27 08:57:20
35.   JL25and3
Also, to say that last night's loss is Rodriguez's fault is just silly. The Red Sox beat the Yankees in every aspect of the game last night - hitting, pitching, fielding, baserunning and probably a few other things as well. Pointing to a couple of at-bats as The Reason They Lost makes no sense.
2008-08-27 09:02:31
36.   williamnyy23
35 Suggesting that the Yankees are losing because of Arod doesn't hold water. What you can say, however, is that unlike last season, he hasn't been the team's savior. Sadly for the Yankees, Arod has not been able to make up for the Yankees all around poor play. Of course, if everyone else would play better, he wouldn't have to...but why let rational thoughts get in the way of booing Arod.
2008-08-27 09:04:58
37.   weeping for brunnhilde
30 Could be. I'm not convinced that's it, but it certainly sounds plausible.
2008-08-27 09:12:03
38.   RZG
6 Pettitte gives up 6 runs including 2 leads and you blame the loss on Arod. Perhaps you just want to blame Arod regardless of what really took place in the game rather than the guy who really was responsible for the loss - Pettitte.

Oh but Pettitte can never be blamed for anything. He's a TRUE Yankee.

2008-08-27 09:13:24
39.   RZG
31 Did Pettitte choke in this big game?
2008-08-27 09:20:14
40.   DarrenF
28 I don't think he's a choker at all (though last night was ridiculously bad), he's just scrutinized. I don't see the comparison to other sports because other sports are not predicated on failure as much as baseball is. Jordan didn't have to score 50 ppg, but nobody could stop him from taking 50 shots if he wanted to. A baseball player gets 4 or 5 plate appearances and that's it.

I'm also a little tired of the fans who skip May and June and decide that a late August game against Boston is "big."

ARod's averages vs. AL playoff teams this year: .314, .318, .344, .390 with the ob% and sl% to match. (No CWS - he must have been injured.)

He hit .083 vs. Pittsburgh, quite possibly the lowest-pressure games of the year, vs. one of the worst teams, and pre-divorce, too.

2008-08-27 09:23:03
41.   tommyl
36 I think that says it quite well William so thanks. Its true A-Rod hasn't single-handedly saved them as he did last year, but to turn that around and say its therefore all his fault is ludicrous.

The whole myth of true Yankee and big game blah blah really bothers me. Andy is a true Yankee, well how about him completely tanking Game 6 of the 2001 Serious? He was awful (2 innings, 6 ER) yet that never gets mentioned. On the other hand Moose isn't a big game pitcher even though he was great in Game 5 that year and in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS in relief. Its just making actual events conform to a storyline, which is fine I guess but its not the reality.

2008-08-27 09:26:49
42.   DarrenF
28 My other observation is that I need more information. Lefty or right on the mound? Do we need a HR or a single? What the heck is a pressure situation, anyway?

Bottom of the 7th, bases loaded, sure.

But then why does anybody care about a 3rd inning GIDP? Or a first inning strikeout?

Runners were not in scoring position. It wasn't close and late. It's not even the playoffs and we only care about the playoffs in the Big Apple.

2008-08-27 09:31:13
43.   tommyl
40 It also ignores that every single game is important. Had the Yankees played a bit better early on, and against teams like the Orioles they wouldn't be in this mess right now.
2008-08-27 09:40:52
44.   Zack
Can't we all just agree that this entire TEAM has basically choked? I mean, at the very least they could have been entertaining in sucking, but nooo, they had to not only be infuriating and mediocre, but they had to be BORING in so doing.

Yuck, what a dull season...

2008-08-27 09:50:24
45.   pistolpete
43 Yes sir. Only 6 games here or there in the spring, and we'd be right in the mix.
2008-08-27 09:51:38
46.   JL25and3
44 Yeah, but at least you've had the Padres to make it more interesting, right?
2008-08-27 10:07:24
47.   Schteeve
A lot of Yankee fans won't give A-Rod any breaks until he has some ridiculous superman moment. If he had homered last night against Masterson, and the Yankees had won the game, everyone would be talking about how he's the greatest, and where would we be without him and all that.

Big deal. I'm so tired of listening to my fellow Yankee fans rip the guy. But whatcha gonna do.

2008-08-27 10:37:26
48.   OldYanksFan
Homer Simpson. Occasionally he gets something right, but basically fucks up everything he touches. And yet for some strange reason, ya kind of love him anyway. The Yankee motto this year, as vocalized by Melkbone Cabrera:


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