Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2008-09-03 06:56
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Alex Rodriguez is now tied for 12th on the all-time home run list with some dude named Michael Jack Schmidt.  Rodriguez has 1,588 RBI in his career.  He's scored 1,591 runs.  He may in fact be the most frustrating great player we've ever watched but there is no denying that he's great. 


Mazel props, dude.

2008-09-03 07:36:51
1.   Chyll Will
Nice! My favorite truck though is the one that has "Mok" on the back. Perfect look, especially when it's zipping past you in downtown traffic >;)
2008-09-03 07:44:50
2.   dianagramr
Graffiti is an art form, but not when it defaces private property.

(hopping off soapbox)

btw, SGRAFFITI is an acceptable Scrabble word.

2008-09-03 08:03:18
3.   JL25and3
2 How about when it defaces public property?

Personally, I kind of miss the old days. Some of those subway trains looked spectacular if you saw them on the el. That was when original Keith Harings were just chalk figures on walls...

2008-09-03 08:07:36
4.   williamnyy23
2 I agree!

3 Yuck...I don't miss those days at all. One of the greatest changes in this city over the past 20 years or so has been the relative decline in graffiti, especially in the subway system.

On a related note, I was watching a classic replay of the Suns/Celtics NBA finals in 1976. Before the end of the game, fans streamed onto the court and one actually attached an official. As we know, there was a similar scene later that year after Chamblis hit his HR. From the 1970 to about the mid-1985s civil disobedience during and after sporting contests was an accepted norm, but now such behavior seems almost beyond the realm of consideration. In many ways, we are a society that is much more respectful of law and order.

2008-09-03 08:14:26
5.   The Mick 536
Depends on what you mean by great. To me, you have to win to be great. Just staying around and putting up numbers doesn't make you great. I give him credit for moving positions, but he isn't a great third baseman. And, he is lucky that Georgie became non compis mentis before giving him a monicker.

As for the graffitti, I just came back from Montreal. The place has wonderful art on the buildings. The best stuff goes up on building slated for destruction or ones that face buildings going up which will cover it. Check out Meeting of Styles web site.

2008-09-03 08:18:09
6.   williamnyy23
5 So, Ted Williams wasn't great? Nor was Ernie Banks? And, if the Giants hadn't win in 1954, Willie Mays wouldn't be great either?
2008-09-03 08:41:31
7.   cult of basebaal
6 don't forget tony gwynn, he wasn't great either.

and wade boggs wasn't great until 1996 and then he was ...

don mattingly, on the other hand, was never great.

2008-09-03 08:43:25
8.   Chyll Will
4 "Before the end of the game, fans streamed onto the court and one actually attached an official."

I hope he at least got his retainer >;)

I'm of the mind that graffiti that defaces public or private property is bad, whether it is vulgar or artful/intellectual. However, do not assume that all graffiti is an uninvited obtrusion; some building owners or businesses pay graff artists to paint murals in or on certain establishments for various reasons. Even the city will commission artists (or muralists) to decorate walls.

That's not defacement. So in terms of objecting to graffiti, don't decide to trash all of it before knowing whether some people were invited or paid to draw something there or not, and whether or not the owner or community in general cares to have it there or not.

My mind: Subway els: no (public property). Subway els in a gallery: yes (private property).

Check these out: (I wrote an article and interviewed the artist for this one when it was made) (still there)

More to come of course, when we can quibble about legalities and the difference between tagging and bombing >;)

2008-09-03 08:52:41
9.   RCK
The home run was also Alex's 203rd as a Yankee, tying him with Derek Jeter and Roger Maris for 12th in franchise history.
2008-09-03 09:18:17
10.   Bama Yankee
Remember the SNL episode where Rudy Giuliani showed his plan to get tough on graffiti:

2008-09-03 09:39:41
11.   williamnyy23
8 I guess I don't consider commissioned murals to be graffiti. Obviously, if someone pays to have a mural painted on their wall, it isn't defacement, whether you consider it graffiti or not. What I consider to be graffiti is an eyesore, IMHO, however, whether it was commissioned or not. Even if you consider something legitimate art, that doesn't mean everyone has to like it. Of course, in most case, graffiti is an unwanted nuisance, at best, and costly vandalism at worst.
2008-09-03 09:41:40
12.   Vandelay Industries
Anyone remember a fellow named Barry Bonds? I seem to recall identical treatment befalling Mr. Bonds prior to his great showing in the 2002 World Series. Arod and Bonds are kindred spirits, both ridiculed for failing in the "clutch" and in the playoffs. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Arod will continue to suffer this fate, exaserbated by the fact that he is as much an enigma on a personal level as Mr. Bonds.
2008-09-03 09:46:46
13.   Vandelay Industries
Graffiti on private property without owner approval is destruction of property and can be a felony. I wonder how those who claim this vandalism as art would feel if they walked out the front door of their home everyday to find their house splattered with unwanted paint, only to remove it, and find it there the next day. I live with that shit here in LA, and I'll tell you, it aint art, its a crime.
2008-09-03 09:48:18
14.   Schteeve
12 It seems to me, that while Bonds was a sonofabitch early on, that condition worsened due to the fact that some members of the media and fanbase looked hard to find whatever they could to pick at. In defense Bond's toughened his exterior, and became an unmitigated asshole.

Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen to Alex. Fans and members of the media who relentlessly pick at his shortcomings, instead of the fact that he's the greatest baseball player in the game will get what they deserve if Alex morphs into a sullen unapproachable asshole. If I were him, I'd be a complete dick to fans and media. Because they don't deserve any better as far as I'm concerned.

2008-09-03 09:54:30
15.   Vandelay Industries
I agree, As Mom said, a stupid question begs a stupid response. Considering 99% of questions asked Arod are neither intelligent or insigntful in any way, and the coverage is biased towards his shortcomings, I'd be an ass hole too. On the bright side, when the press stops nitpicking, then you really have to worry, as they likey moved on to someone with greater talent.
2008-09-03 09:57:01
16.   Vandelay Industries
Oh, and anyone can tell the difference between commissioned graffiti or graffiti painted on permitted areas from graffiti on private property. Sheesh. Does that really need to be debated?
2008-09-03 10:09:39
17.   williamnyy23
12 The problem for Bonds was he was a great player who made the playoffs every year (three straight years in the early 1990s was a lot). Unfortunately, he faced very good pitching and didn't hit well in either series (actually, he was pretty good in 1992), so as a result, he was saddled with the not clutch label.

Arod, on the other hand, also made the playoffs every year and performed well up until the 4th game of the 2004 ALCS. Unfortunately, Arod became a scapegoat in 2005 for batting .133 (even though his .OBP was .381, which I think shows the Angels were pitching around him). Add in the horrible way that Torre handled him in 2006 and you have the makings of another unclutch tag. So, when Arod had a solid .820 OPS last post season, it was dismissed.

2008-09-03 10:17:41
18.   The Hawk
Congrats to A-Rod.

As Will Weiss said, A-Rod is " a great player (not a great hitter), who destroys mediocre pitching and has yet to prove that he can get out of his own way psychologically."

As a Yankee he's had his ups and downs, year to year. In 2007 he came through for the team often; in 2008 he has not - and not for lack of opportunities. It's frustrating but you never know - next year he could be a beast again. In fact, I'll go a step further and say he BETTER be a beast again, or I'm kicking him off the team.

2008-09-03 10:23:28
19.   bp1
18 Geez. Define "great hitter". Don't all great hitters destroy mediocre pitching? If he wasn't a great hitter, wouldn't everyone have numbers like his, since everyone faces the same mediocre pitching?

We're facing another long cold winter of A-Rod debate. I don't know if I'm up for it this year. There really isn't anything new to say.

2008-09-03 10:24:17
20.   Vandelay Industries
17 Agree in part and disagree in part. I agree with your Bonds analysis. However, I do disagree concerning Torre and Arod. Arod couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, and moving him down in the lineup is something many managers would and should have done. Billy Martin did it, and they actualy won the series. If a guy is slumping at the most inoportune time, well, them's the breaks. This isn't little league.
2008-09-03 10:27:00
21.   Dimelo
17 I seriously wish I can see what you see when you watch ARod.

Yesterday I got home after work and read what you said, specifically this part: "I realize that facts can be annoying because it prevent us from getting out of the way of the psychologically preconceived notions that we feel compelled to protect."

I agree with you, the facts are annoying because it is not a reflection of what I see. I love facts, I love to be proven wrong.

Tell the effen SOB to produce then, I'll be glad to eat crow. ARod is a pain in my effen ass because he causes the few brain cells I have to get overheated when discussing what his production means to the Yankees.

Even Yesterday, he comes and hits that long homerun and he looks so smooth and at ease, all I'm left to think is why couldn't he carry the Yanks for at least a 5 game swing. I don't think I'm asking for much, I don't think I'm unreasonable. All I want is a little bit of that greatness to show when I'm standing up and hoping the Yanks can pull a win out of their ass. What I get instead is, strikeout or DP. Seriously, when he hits the ball to the outfielder I consider that a success.

For me, this is what it comes down to (what Alex said):
He may in fact be the most frustrating great player we've ever watched but there is no denying that he's great

2008-09-03 10:33:50
22.   williamnyy23
18 Not one of Will's more intelligent statements, as I showed with evidence following that post. I wont reiterate what I responded, but if you are interested, you can check it out a few threads back.
2008-09-03 10:41:23
23.   williamnyy23
20 Some other guys like Sheffield and Cano were just as bad as Arod that series, so why only move Arod down? It seemed like a panic move that didn't have enough reward to mitigate the risk. After all, Arod was moved from 6th to behind Matsui and Cano, and neither of those players was very good either (although both were better than Sheffield who was allowed to stay in the cleanup slot).
2008-09-03 10:50:26
24.   williamnyy23
21 Arod does produce, and in every statistical split you care about most. For some reason, you want him to be outrageously good. That's fine, but you can't expect your statement to be taken seriously then, especially because you can't point to a shred of evidence other than your observation (heck, there are many observers who think David Eckstein does all the things you need to win).

Not only do not seem to want to accept evidence, but you also seem intent on making outrageous statements. It's one thing to be disappointed by Arod's season, but another to put forth hyperbole like you've never seen anyone have as bad a season in the clutch; Arod never comes through when it counts; and why didn't he carry the team for at least 5 games.

In the other thread, I dealt with the first two. As for the 5-game request, well, he had an OPS well over 1.000 from May through July. Don't you remember watching this team before and immediately after Arod returned to the lineup? You didn't notice his impact then?

Arod is even frustrating to me because I also expect him to come through at ridiculous rates. Ultimately, however, I am able to distinguish between realistic expectations and irrational demands.

2008-09-03 10:50:31
25.   Dimelo
23 Isn't that revisionist history, didn't Torre do that because he wanted to ease the pressure on ARod? Whether right or wrong, the guy presses.....Torre was trying to see what would get this guy going.

I think the best way to excite ARod to hit in the clutch is if they started to show him edited pictures of the Golden Girls. They would be changed to have a weightlifters body, with their veins bulging out and the whole nine, I bet that would get ARod to start hitting in the clutch.

2008-09-03 10:51:35
26.   Dimelo
24 Pass the Kool Aid!! Wooo...
2008-09-03 11:00:32
27.   The Hawk
19 No one was saying he's a great hitter, and I think Will Weiss was saying by saying "great player" was that he has all the tools and oceans of talent.

Moving on: As I mentioned elsewhere, most - if not all - people who find fault with A-Rod don't WANT to, and when he's great (in 2007 for example) they will be more than happy to say so.

Maybe there are a few out there who just have a Problem with A-Rod, but the vast majority just tire of the hype surrounding a guy who simply hasn't gotten the job done as often as he should (as a Yankee).

Personally, I don't really care whether he can be defined as great or not by consensus. His inconsistency irritates me but if someone else isn't bothered by it, good for them.

2008-09-03 11:02:17
28.   Dimelo
24 I don't know why I keep remembering it was Matsui who was delivering some pretty big hits back in May and June, I think he got hurt in late June. I can't seem to remember ARod doing something that was memorable. But I'm sure you have some stat that shows me he was the best player ever.

I always felt that Matsui going down really messed things up, he was the Yanks best hitter up until he got hurt.

Who did I want to come up when the Yanks needed a big hit back in May/June? I'll give you a hint, it wasn't ARod.

2008-09-03 11:03:45
29.   Dimelo
27 "His inconsistency irritates me but if someone else isn't bothered by it, good for them."


2008-09-03 11:06:42
30.   The Hawk
25 Yeah, it was obvious Torre was trying to take some pressure off by moving him down. I'm sure he knew it would be controversial and maybe even annoy "the Rod", but he probably figured it was worth a shot.

Oh and 17 ... I hope you're not trying to say he was any good vs the Indians in the playoffs '07. Because he wasn't. He wasn't as atrocious as he had been in the previous three post-seasons, but he wasn't good either. (Though I do remember one of his patented "reverse tack-on" home runs in the final game as the Yanks were getting pasted.)

2008-09-03 11:07:29
31.   The Hawk
28 Agreed on Matsui earlier this season.
2008-09-03 11:11:52
32.   williamnyy23
25 26 Excellent analysis. I think I can see where you are coming from now. I guess an intelligent argument is being wasted here.

27 I think most people who criticize Arod excessively are irrational. All I ask for them to do is provide some credible analysis to back up claims liek he doesn't come through "as often as he should" and is "irritatingly inconsistent". What it usually comes down to is anger at how much money he makes and attention he gets fueled by ridiculous expectations. The result is posts like 25 .

2008-09-03 11:22:52
33.   williamnyy23
28 Right...Arod did nothing in May/June and Matsui was Mr. Clutch. That's your observation right? Well, lets check out those annoying facts again:

Arod OPS in May/June: 1.018/1.148
Matsui OPS in May/June: .889/.707

I also check game logs. Matsui knocked in at least 2 runs on 4 times, while Arod did it 12 times.

Once again, your statement has no basis in fact. Are you even trying?

2008-09-03 11:29:22
34.   Dimelo
32 Man you are wound up tight, Doood!!! I guess humor isn't a part of your life, it must be extremely hard for you to try and distinguish when someone is kidding and trying to keep things light.

I'll reach out and hug your inner child, ARod is the clutchiest, greatest, best looking, smoothest, baseball player ever.

I think I have a good reason why ARod IS so great in the clutch, he was a big fan of Dan Marino and Keith Hernandez. Thankfully Marino had a bigger influence on his life because along with all those great numbers Marino produced, Marino also has the championship rings, he always delivered in the clutch, he's smart, great looking, and lest we forget that he has a great tan. I remember that one year when he beat up on that one team in the playoffs by like 50+ plus points. Marino, like ARod, was clutch.

I bet if he would have been as big an admirer of Keith Hernandez then he would have sucked. Mex was probably the least clutchiest player to ever play the game. That's why he never got a ring and never got a big hit for the Mets. I'm glad ARod is no Mex.

I doubt I have my facts mixed up too.

2008-09-03 11:30:32
35.   Dimelo
33 I'm definitely not trying, I suck at delivering stats like ARod sucks in delivering when the Yanks need him most.

I'm the ARod of SABR.

2008-09-03 11:30:46
36.   williamnyy23
30 I am saying he was much better than what the team produced as a whole, and was light years ahead of Posada, Jeter and Matsui.

Also, if you consider a HR in a 6-4 game to be tack-on, well then you are exploding past the limits of credibility.

2008-09-03 11:34:13
37.   williamnyy23
34 35 I think you've proven your point quite well. You don't care about facts, but think it's good fun to make baseless statements that require no thought whatsoever. In that case, I think I'll let you amuse yourself and interact with someone who wants to be taken seriously.
2008-09-03 11:46:07
38.   Raf
Speaking of graffiti & street art;

2008-09-03 11:54:27
39.   Vandelay Industries
I am not an Arod apologist by any stretch, and those who deny his "head-case-ed-ness" are living in a bubble. However, can we all agree that an MVP season every other year is worth the ups and downs and a career .273 AVG with 2 out and RISP? And with our lineup the past four years, the "pitching around Arod" argument is not only baseless, but ridiculous. If that argument is to be taken seriously using OBP vs. Avg, then the league has been pitching around Giambi for 10 years, and we all know that isn't the case.
2008-09-03 11:58:19
40.   Vandelay Industries
35 Well, you and every PhD in Mathematics, because none of them find in sound. Tangentially helpful, but predictive of anything, umm, nope.
2008-09-03 12:01:36
41.   Dimelo
37 Honestly you must be the only person on the planet who has seen ARod produce all these great numbers when it matters. Yeah...I'm the one making baseless statements.
2008-09-03 12:03:53
42.   Vandelay Industries
34 Very funny! I cannot believe I am saying this, but, Marino had an even more piss poor cast than Vick. No RB, and WR who he made look above average, when they shouldn't have even been starters. Marino failed for the same reason Vick did (please no dog fighting blather). The team expected him to overcome their own incompetence in developing and signing competent players. The Yankees haven't thrust that same fate upon Arod, rather they have surrounded him with great players. No one, I mean no one, has been better protected in any lineup than Arod since 2004, no one. He is the middle bun in a Big Mac, he has layers and layers of meat on top of, and below him.
2008-09-03 12:36:28
43.   The Hawk
33 It doesn't make much sense to recite OPS stats to refute someone talking about "big hits" ... OPS doesn't quantify momentum shifts and hits when the team "really needs them". A lot of that is in the eye of the beholder; on the other hand, a lot of people seem to agree on those moments, even if they can't be reflected in the box score. Pretty much everyone knows a "they need a big hit here" moment when they see one. PRETTY much everyone ...

Similarly, how many multi-RBI games he had vs. Matsui (or WHOMEVER) doesn't address the question of whether he comes through in the CLUTCH. It's been noted that a lot of his numbers this year accumulated at cherry-picking time ie, when the Yanks already had a comfortable lead or were already buried.

Check out his numbers last year in late innings vs this year. Check out his numbers in close games, check em both out. He didn't do a great job this year. He was okay, that's about it.

2008-09-03 12:52:01
44.   Vandelay Industries
43 As we have all stated in the past, no one can measure "Clutch." Clutch can be an RBI in the 1st inning or a big hit in the ninth. If the team stumbles through a game and needs a big hit to win, is that any more clutch than actually getting that hit in the third inning to put the team ahead prior to the ninth? Clutch is also not limited to hitting. Jeter made the two most clutch plays in my baseball memory, both in the field. Paul O'Neill at the wall with a bad hammy comes to mind as well. Tino grand slam anyone? Those plays are seen as clutch because we remember them so vividly, and they all resulted in an ultimate series win that year. Arod will never be considered "Clutch" until the Yankees win with him on the field. The funny thing is, it won't even matter how well he performs, as any hit that series will immediately be referred to as "Clutch." I think the overall atmosphere surrounding the team contributes as much to the likelyhood a player will come through in the "Clutch" as anything. He certainly presses, and is a head case at times, but then how does one explain 2007 and 2005? Clutch isn't only in the post-season. The team actually has to get there first, and the Yankees may not have in 2005 and 2007 without Arod.

All this from me, a guy who can't stand the man personaly. I must be delusional.

2008-09-03 13:30:09
45.   Dimelo
From Pete Abe:
OF A-Rod's 30 homers this season, 21 have been solo shots and 18 have been when the Yankees were leading or down by four or more runs.
2008-09-03 13:47:26
46.   The Hawk
36 When he hit the home run, it was a solo shot that made it 6-3 and the Yankees were dead in the water. The Yanks were staggered early and never mounted any meaningful threat. Anyone who watched it knows this.
2008-09-03 13:49:14
47.   The Hawk
45 Damn I read a similar thing a few weeks ago and it wasn't that bad. He must have had a terrible August. I mean beyond hitting into 11 DPs.

I'm just gonna chalk it up to his divorce and hope he goes on a tear next year, showing everyone what ACTUAL clutch performance is like, since we know he is capable of it. (Just not in the PS hahaha)

2008-09-03 13:58:26
48.   The Hawk
44 I don't understand your point regarding what I wrote. I agree there's no way to MEASURE being clutch (yet!). I haven't asserted otherwise.

Your examples of scoring runs at different points in the game depend on the situation. If a guy hits a solo blast in the first with no outs, and that ends up being the winning run, is that clutch? No. If he hits a single off of an ace that scores a run and THAT's the winning run? Maybe. But typically, a clutch hit is one that happens when the game is on the line and everyone knows it.

I've said about six times now that A-Rod was a life-saver last year. I don't expect people to keep track, but I'm kind of tiring of repeating it. YES he can be clutch. NO he hasn't been this year ... almost AT ALL.

2008-09-03 13:59:39
49.   RCK
45 So he's hit 12 home runs in close games this season. Have any of the other Yankees hit more than that?

Also, from what I've observed, when a team is already losing by four runs or more, they don't tend to send their ace relievers to the mound.

According to, 184 of Alex's home runs have been the go ahead run and 45 have been game-tying. That works out to nearly 42% of his 548 home runs. Compare that to Manny Ramirez who has 160 go ahead and 48 tying home runs of his 520 for 40%.

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