Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
In Living Color
2007-02-20 09:43
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

If everybody's doing it, there's a lot of guys doing it.
Vince in The Color of Money

New blogs just keeping popping up, don't they? One of the most exciting new ones is called Bronx Comix run by longtime-Bronx Banterite, Knuckles. Be sure to give it a look. Knucks, the only problem I can see you running into is posting on the reg. Once you start something as fun as what you are doing, we're going to want our daily fix, Snoops.

The New York Times recently launched Met and Yankee blogs too. Columnist Jack Curry and beat writer Tyler Kepner are doing a fine job holding down the Yankee blog. After Derek Jeter spoke with reporters this morning about his relationship with Alex Rodriguez, Kepner notes:

The key difference between Jeter and A-Rod is this: Jeter goes to great lengths to keep things uncomplicated, and A-Rod seems to complicate everything. In this case, I think they're both being sincere. They should get some credit for that. They function well as teammates. The rest is interesting, for sure, but it's mostly a soap opera.

From an image standpoint, this is good for Rodriguez. Fans appreciate honesty and perseverance. That's why people cheer for Jason Giambi. If A-Rod wants to win over the fans (and we know he does), he may have finally hit on a good strategy. He's telling the truth about his relationship with Jeter, and he hasn't bailed on the Yankees despite his struggles in the clutch. I could be wrong, but I sense that fans will respect him for that.

Lastly, on another (non-baseball) blogging note, Hip Hop mixmaster, Steinski recently launched his own site, which features posts on music and (left wing) politics. It is a lot of fun if you are into that sort of thing.

2007-02-20 11:06:17
1.   pistolpete
Jeter is maddeningly bland in his comments to the media - you really just want him to haul off and drop the f-bomb one day in a post-game interview.

Just a teensy bit of emotion that doesn't involve a fist pump, Derek, please?

I realize all of this has diddly-squat to do with baseball, but players have to realize that fans mostly identify with them based not on their ability to play the game (because who among us would even pretend to hit a baseball like a major leaguer?), but by their temperament on & off the field.

If a player works hard, we respect that. If a player is honest about his performance, we respect that. If a player is 'likable', we tend to root more for that guy.

While I don't fully subscribe to what something like Steve Lombardi posted (re: A-Rod's calculated move to put the spotlight on Jeter), I do think he said what he said to get it off his chest. What Derek does with the information is up to him, but he really does come off looking like a robot in this whole matter.

Great quote by Kepner, and I agree with the general philosophy, but it wouldn't kill him to address it honestly so the press would just be done with it. More silence on Derek's part only feeds the monster, IMO.

2007-02-20 11:08:17
2.   Gagne55
I'm the master at posting first.
2007-02-20 11:09:08
3.   C2Coke
Arod can find just about every different ways to make him look bad. The Cap is only a year older than Arod, but I realize it's not the age that makes Arod appear like a kid in comparison to the Captain. Why can't he just let his talent speak?
2007-02-20 11:09:22
4.   Gagne55
Or not. Anyway, the season needs to start. I'm sick of stories like these.
2007-02-20 11:12:09
5.   dianagramr

Cause when you sign a contract that is STILL 25% higher than anyone else in the game after a few years, people want blood (and a homer every at bat too).

2007-02-20 11:22:15
6.   C2Coke
5 But as a fan, I feel I am the one bleeding from listening to all these...
2007-02-20 11:41:12
7.   tommyl
3 If you listen to the audio of the interview, its obvious that A-Rod can't just let his talent speak. He's being badgered left and right and some reporters were outright trying to bait him into making a mistake. No wonder the guy is careful about what he says. If people hung on my every word that closely I'd look like a moron in the media too.
2007-02-20 11:43:45
8.   C2Coke
7 I did listen to the audio but I also get the impression that the reporters grill him with questions because they know they will get what they want. The rest of the Yankees don't seem to get into the same situation nearly as bad because they know when to just simply shut up.
2007-02-20 11:55:08
9.   tommyl
8 That's possible but speculation. A-Rod is damned either way, people complain he gives canned answers, now he's honest and people complain too. What precisely do you want him to do?
2007-02-20 12:19:18
10.   C2Coke
9 I, for one, never complained when he gave canned answers. But let's face it, that is not a common scenario...

He has always been the one who discloses information voluntarily...for example...when he was asked how he played during 2005 playoff games, he had to add "I played like a dog" at the end...and that made the headline...

And really, I just want him to keep his mouth closed for as often as possible.

2007-02-20 12:52:09
11.   tommyl
10 I don't really care what he says. I personally root for him, because I find a lot of his struggles actually more endearing, he seems more human to me than Jeter (who I also love). Really though, the majority of fans can whine about character all they want but its clear they only care about the results on the field. I can think of no clearer example of that than Giambi. In 2004 he was a lying, drug taking cheat and in 2005/2006 he was a fan favorite overcoming great "adversity." Do you think if he was still batting .207 fans would be cheering him because of his character?
2007-02-20 12:57:27
12.   rbj
10 Yeah, but he did play like a dog -- I'd rather have a guy stand up and admit he played badly.
2007-02-20 13:03:29
13.   Shaun P
10 11 12 I prefer to just ignore all the fish rags and come here for my baseball news.

All that said, I think A-Rod being 'honest' is refreshing. I don't think its worth it to analyze all this any more than that.

2007-02-20 13:25:12
14.   Jeteupthemiddle
I just wanted to pop in and ask if anyone wanted to take part in some community projections.

I noticed USSMariner doing it recently, and thought it would be good to get some of those for Yankee players.

I would love to get a lot of participants so the sample size will be fairly large, so if anyone wants to participate please do so.

The first player I have up is Melky Cabrera.

I would like to keep going with others such as Igawa, Pavano, and Rodriguez, if I get enough people.

2007-02-20 13:28:30
15.   tommyl
Ugh, look at this article:

Apparently, Beltran and Sierra think Bernie should have been automatically on the Yankees. Of course, we all know Sierra doesn't understand issues of playing time and well, the ability to play defense, but Beltran. I don't understand this "loyalty" crap. First of all, it can be argued that letting Bernie be on the team the last TWO years was out of loyalty. Secondly, the man cannot play defense or run. He's a pinch hitting DH right now.

There's loyalty and then there's loyalty, should the Yankees continue to keep around any player just because he wants to be on the team? Well Bernie, we know you're 45 years old, but since you've always been a Yankee, we'll bench this Tabata kid we have at AAA because you want to come back again.

2007-02-20 13:34:44
16.   C2Coke
13 I agree with you, I don't why I got into all that. I was usually good at staying away from news related to Arod. I should try my best to continue doing that.
2007-02-20 13:59:51
17.   Shaun P
15 Mr. Heyman is doing a nice job in terms of making Bernie's absence from the Yanks a bigger story than it ought to be.

I work hard at my job, and I get paid a certain amount of money for doing my job. My expectation, and my employer's expectation, is that I'll work hard. If I work very hard, go above and beyond, I get some kind of bonus. But the expectation is that I work hard all the time. That's what I'm paid to do.

If I'm at my job for 20 years, and someone comes along who can, with some training and some time, do as good (or better) a job than I can, AND costs significantly less than I do, why does my employer have to show me any loyalty by continuing to employ me? Haven't I been adequately compensated through salary, bonuses, perks, pension, etc? What the heck did I do to deserve such loyalty - not go work elsewhere when I had the chance? But that was my choice, not my employers!

Baseball shouldn't be any different, yet so many people expect it to be. I don't understand why.

2007-02-20 14:14:42
18.   Raf
17 A lot of people are still influenced by the reserve clause, I suppose.
2007-02-20 14:21:02
19.   yankz
Dear God, could this be the end of the Arod/Jeter saga? I hope so, but I doubt it.
2007-02-20 14:48:01
20.   nemecizer
Did anyone notice that Manny Ramirez will not be on time for spring training yet again. Can you imagine if A-Rod pulled that stunt? He'd be crucified by the national press. Instead he shows up to firestorm, admits he stunk in the playoffs and promises to work his butt off.

Manny sits down halfway through the second Boston massacre(tm) and slinks into Ft Meyers a week late, and no one says anything.

A-Rod, you get a bum rap dude. A lot of it you bring on yourself, but it's still a bum rap.

2007-02-20 15:16:45
21.   Shaun P
20 Waitjustaminutethere!

A-Rod does get a bum rap, but Manny's is just as bad, maybe worse, and almost certainly undeserved.

In fact, I have no doubt all the Boston media will be all over Manny again for this.

And I'd like to point out (thanks to Sully over at Baseball Analysts) that Manny hit .727/.850/1.455 over the five games of the Massacre Part II. For more on Manny et al:

2007-02-20 15:25:35
22.   Vandelay Industries
I look at it this way: "Don't make no problems, won't be no problems."

The season has yet to begin and Alex is already shooting his mouth off and demanding attention in any form. Unfortunately this attention is almost inevitably on the heels of yet another ill thought-through comment by, you guessed it, himself.

The press carries little or no blame in this, and I thought Derek handled it well, and with the dignity that Alex inherently lacks in all things.

Al Davis: "just win baby."
Me to Alex: "just play baby." Shut your trap and play.

This latest gaff will pale in comparrison to the mountain of attention that Alex will purposefully fuel concerning his opt-out option.

I am personally tired of it, tired of him bringing all of this upon the New York Yankees. I could care less what he brings upon himself, but what he brings upon the New York Yankees for his own selfish, insecure, but at the same time narcisitic, need to be paid attention to is disturbing and borderline compulsive. He is nothing more than Barry Bonds without the Steroid allegations. Speaketh with forked toungue indeed, and anyone who can see past the need to defend his as if he is a child, should rightfully chastise him, and call him out for what he is; a selfish non-adult in a man's body, with little or no concern for how the team performs as a whole, but rather how he is percieved. A self defeating personality which will, yet again, manifest itself at the worst possible time, and hurt the team once again.

Just play Alex, just play.

2007-02-20 15:28:15
23.   ornette

Your mixed metaphors and analogies are all backwards. Because baseball is a special situation, your story does indeed apply to a baseball player at the end of a career.
But your story ABSOLUTELY DOESN'T and SHOULDN'T apply to you and your life in the business world. YOU made money for your boss over 20 years, and if you're still doing an honest days work, he owes you…

2007-02-20 15:37:10
24.   Vandelay Industries

Exactly. In return for Manny's dispicable behavior, you receive .727/.850/1.455!

2007-02-20 15:39:06
25.   markp
How did Arod bring this on himself?
His first spring with the Rangers ESPN used to keep track of his strike-outs, They did this from opening day through a lot of the year. Ever since he's come to NY, the press has been asking him about his relationship with Derek. When, after being badgered about it in the press for 36 months, he finally admits they're not as close he "shooting his mouth off"? That's BS. Every word he says is twisted into completely different meanings. The press says if you say such-and-such, we'll get off your back. He says such-and-such and they pile on even more than before.
How many articles have been written about this over the winter, when Alex didn't say boo about it? Did they miss a day? I doubt it.
This all reminds me very much of Roger Maris time with the Yankees-especially after 1961. Every word was twisted, and when he got tired of being misquoted and decided not to speak for a while, they got even worse. Anyone who thinks this isn't the press being their usual self-important creepy selves isn't paying attention.
2007-02-20 16:09:04
26.   mikeplugh
All the A-Rod talk absolutely makes my stomach twist. It won't stop. It's like a chronic Yankees medical condition that we just have to learn to live with....

The only way this becomes less of an everyday, or every few days, thing for the rest of his career is if he:

1. Comes out of the box this season firing on all cylinders. If he propels the team to a fast start, the commotion will die down just a bit.

2. Win a World Series, and play well in doing so. Even this isn't going to make it all go away at this point. He's a lightning rod and even if he hits 11-27 with 3 home runs and 8 RBIs in the Series there will be a few people that will try to show why each of those 11 hits was in a pressureless situation and that Doug Mientkiewicz' 4 sac flies and regular scoops in the dirt were more important to the win.

It's not an issue with the player to me (unless he opts out), but I still mull over the idea that the whole things would be much more enjoyable if he'd play somewhere else. That's not a baseball decision, and it's not a reflection of my personal feelings about A-Rod, but rather a bit of battle fatigue from listening to all of it.

2007-02-20 16:20:15
27.   Vandelay Industries

To compare the pressure on Arod to that of Maris in 1961 is simply ridiculous.

2007-02-20 16:20:35
28.   Knuckles
Thanks for the props Alex & Cliff, and really appreciate that I've been deemed worthy enough or a sidebar link- I'll be sure to live up to my billing and post as often as possible, really doesn't take all that long, unlike the hard work bloggers such as yourselves, Mike Plugh, Pete Abe put in.

Interested to hear everyone's opinions, suggestions, and feedback.

Oh yeah, someone asked before in the other thread- the program is called Comic Life, and it came on my iMac. There's similar ones out there though.

2007-02-20 16:21:46
29.   Shaun P
23 Why is baseball special? And why is this situation special? Just because its Bernie?

markp brings up some great Yanks history in 25 that I totally agree with. I'll bring up some more.

1935 - Babe Ruth can't play the field worth a darn anymore and is a shell of himself as a hitter (thought, if we had splits of what he did back then, I bet you could find he hit OK against some segment of the pitchers out there). The Yanks say "Thanks, but we aren't giving you a guaranteed job" - or the manager's job Ruth has coveted for years. Ruth leaves.

1939 - Lou Gehrig is forced to retire because of ALS. The Yanks don't even offer him a desk job in the front office (hat tip to Steven Goldman for that tidbit). LaGuardia gives Lou a job working for NYC until he dies.

1951 - Joe DiMaggio is told he can play for the Yanks in 1952, but it won't be in center, because this kid named Mantle is going to be in center for the next 15 years, and he can play CF better than DiMag. DiMaggio retires at 36.

1960 - Casey Stengel, record with the Yanks: 1149-696 (.623 Winning %), more wins than any Yankee manager except Joe McCarthy, had the Yanks in the World Serious EVERY YEAR between 1949 and 1960 except for 2 (1954 and 1959), and won 7 of those 10 Seriouses, is fired.

1978 - Sparky Lyle, reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, and the best Yanks pitcher over the last 5 seasons, is moved into a setup role when the Yanks get Goose Gossage. Lyle requests a trade when the season ends; the Yanks deal him to Texas.

1988 - Willie Randolph, perhaps the greatest 2B in Yankee history, becomes a free agent. Less than 3 weeks later, the Yanks sign Steve Sax to play second. Willie signs with Sax's old team, the Dodgers.

1996 - The Yanks trade for Tino Martinez to play 1B. Franchise icon 1B Don Mattingly decides to sit out a year and think things over. Donnie Baseball retires in January 1997.

1999 - David Wells, off a year when he went 18-4, pitched a perfect game, and went 4-0 in the postseason for the winningest team of all time, a man in the image of Ruth himself, born to pitch in pinstripes, gets traded for Roger Clemens.

2001 - David Cone, the franchise's best pitcher since 1995, key contributor to all 4 Serious winning teams, pitcher of a perfect game himself in 1999, is let go when it becomes sadly and painfully clear that he can't pitch the way he used to.

Why should Bernie get any kind of different treatment?

2007-02-20 16:38:53
30.   David
Shaun P 29 - great post!

Adding my 2 cents worth, I totally blame the media in this ARod soap opera. ARod is one of the hardest working players around. I want sprots writers to tell me about sports. E.g., I'd like to know what ARod is doing to try to fix his error problem of last year.

2007-02-20 16:50:30
31.   dianagramr

Randolph possibly the greatest Yankee 2B ever?

Hmmm .... wonder what the Horace Clarke Fan Club thinks of that?

2007-02-20 17:19:47
32.   dianagramr

More cool stuff at B-R.COM

Yankees' historical position chart ...

I might just take Lazzeri or Richardson over Randolph .... might

2007-02-20 17:55:58
33.   yankz
The Deadspin commenters are (not surprisingly) tearing this whole "Sleepover" thing to shreds, and I must admit it's hilarious. My favorite:

"I can't help but think that this has everything to do with Jeter getting the cover of All Star Baseball while A-Rod never got beyond Backyard Baseball."

2007-02-20 18:13:24
34.   Simone
The Deadspin comments were sooo bad though some are funny as hell. I tried to stay out of it, but A-Rod's sleepover comment was hilarious. He is like a petulant kid or an ex-lover whining about not longer being able to spend the night. A-Rod is a married man with a kid how does expect to have time to spend time with a single manwhore like Jeter?
2007-02-20 18:25:16
35.   ornette
shaun p needs to go back to
to understand that I agree with him about baseball.

But NOT about the marketplace…

2007-02-20 20:08:48
36.   ChuckM
Manny is supposedly gonna be late to camp because his mom is ill, so at least he's giving a valid (or any) reason this time.
2007-02-20 20:32:01
37.   yankz
Did anyone else find this hilarious:

"Hideki Matsui sat at his locker in one corner of the clubhouse and worked on his pants, pulling and twisting them into shape."

Are Scrabble and Phillips: Phelps :: Joe and Captain: Arod?!

"Doug Mientkiewicz and Andy Phillips talked shop about which glove they like to use the best, sharing and trying on each other's favorite mitt."

2007-02-20 20:37:59
38.   C2Coke
29 Great post, Shaun P.

28 Knuckles, great job with the new comic blog. I like it a lot and sorry I am posting here rather than your blog (simply due to laziness). I have a tiny suggestion though: is it possible to make the words more clear to read?

2007-02-20 21:27:00
39.   thelarmis
38 word! i'm in utter agreement with all C2Coke said...
2007-02-20 21:58:31
40.   yankz
The most recent nomaas entry is hilarious as well. Those guys are Photoshop gods.
2007-02-20 22:01:19
41.   markp
Why is comparing a guy who's had 36 straight months of ESPN, the NY press, and most of the rest of the sports media analyzing everything he does "ridiculous?
Roger wasn't getting heat until the season was well underway. Neither the radio or TV guys were critical, only the newspapers. After the season was over and he had his 61, even the newspapers let up quite a bit. Add to that the large number of people who drowned out the boos with cheers as the season wore down.
If you really think Roger had it worse, or that saying Arod's situation is similar is ridiculous, I can't believe you were paying a lot of attention in the early 60s.
Another thing-when they started to get on Maris, Mantle was very vocal about how he felt about it. He made it very clear that he didn't like it at all (unlike Jeter's silly "I'm not going to tell the fans not to boo someone" cop out.
2007-02-21 05:21:33
42.   Shaun P
35 My apologies, ornette; the first time I read your post in 23, I read it backwards (ie, baseball players are special, but its not so in the business world). Looking back on it, I'm not sure how I could have misread it that badly, and for that I'm sorry.

I've been meaning to do a post like 29 for a while; I should have done it sooner when the "Bernie isn't being treated fairly" comments were in full bloom, and not in response to someone who agreed with me!

2007-02-21 06:51:58
43.   Rob Middletown CT
Speaking of other blogs, time to update the link for Pride of the Yankees, as it has moved:

As for the rest, booooooring. I want Baseball, damnit, not a soap opera!

2007-02-21 07:23:49
44.   Raf
43 40 days and counting...

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