Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh, A-Rod, how you confound me!

So I was about to write a post defending A-Rod, the gist of which was going to be that mad people hate on him and don't give him a fair shake. But then I read Side Bar's recent post (his second for the whole month of October!), and now I'm mad at him again. (A-Rod, not Side Bar, who I'm also mad at, but still. Oh fuck off.)

My thoughts on A-Rod basically break down into two categories:
  1. He's a little bitch who would sooner announce his opting-out-of-his-contract during the 8th inning of the deciding game of the World Series than have the man-bags to bowl over Bronson Arroyo back in game whatever-it-was in the 2004 ALCS (choosing instead to try to slap the ball from his glove).
  2. He's the best player in baseball, and all the people who bitch about him refuse to understand that his level of play is the only reason the yanks even made the playoffs this year.
Side Bar's point is well made, but take, for example, this article by esteemed columnist Mike Vaccaro in the NY Post. Let me break down a few points, FJM-style:
From the moment he first donned Yankee pinstripes on that all-smiles February day in 2004, he swore he would never make the most famous team in sports about Alex Rodriguez. He would be one of 25.

“If you're looking for a squeaky wheel," he said, “you'd better look somewhere else."

And yet, as we came to know quickly, and as we learn right to the bitter end, it was always all about A-Rod, is always about A-Rod.
Really? I remember things a little bit differently. I seem to recall that, prior to his signing with the yanks, he nearly signed with the Red Sox. I believe he was even willing to both waive his no-trade clause and also take a significant chunk off his monstrous salary, just so he could go play for a winner. The chunk was significant enough, in fact, to cause the players' union to prevent the deal from going through. So even though A-Rod was willing to take a hefty pay cut, he was simply not allowed. It wasn't until Tom Hicks, the Texas Rangers' owner, agreed to pay part of A-Rod's salary for the yanks that he was actually dealt.

More from Mikey V:

A-Rod's decision to opt out on his contract is not only the biggest story in New York this morning - obscuring, among other things, the fact that Joe Girardi is going to be made an official offer to manage the team today - but it also big-foots the very sport from which A-Rod now intends to bleed his $300 million booty.

And if you think that's coincidence, then you've missed A-Rod's act these past four years.
Yeah, Mike? Really? Once the A-Rod-to-the-yanks deal finally went through, what was the next big controversy?

Who would play shortstop?

After all, A-Rod was a two-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop. But what did he do? He offered to switch positions, to move to third, just so he could "have the privilege" of being a yankee (as Hank Steinbrenner said following A-Rod's opt-out. Also, I love how much I already hate the young Steinbrenner. Good to know that evil truly does run in the family.). A-Rod was a far better shortstop than Mr. Super Captain Clutchy Clutchness, so this seems like it was a fairly "team-oriented" gesture, if you ask me.

Oh, and A-Rod wanted to pre-empt the new yankees' manager? I seem to recall another incident, this time involving the former yank manager. Just last year, the soon-to-be-sainted-and-then-fellated-by-Mike-Vaccaro Joe Torre decided to bat the best player in baseball in the number 8 spot in the lineup for Game 4 against the Tigers in the ALDS. Did A-Rod bitch about it? No. He said nothing negative about Torre.

Vaccaro, of course, goes on:
Yesterday was a busy day in the A-Rod camp when it came to showing up baseball, reminding the sport who's the bat and who's the ball. He blew off pregame ceremonies announcing him as a winner, along with Prince Fielder, of the Hank Aaron Award, meaning he all but spit on Aaron's shoes from a faraway perch.
Wow. From what I read, A-Rod had a family commitment he had to attend. But let's not bother writing about that when we can just speculate, right? Rather than find out exactly why he had to skip this all-important event that everyone in all of fucking baseball was totally anticipating -- The Hank Aaron Award!!! -- let's just go ahead and say that A-Rod wanted to "show up baseball" and spit on the shoes of one of the game's icons. Yeah, that'll make some good copy. (Incidentally, if you can name who won last year's Hank Aaron Award, or any other year's, I will give you a dollar.)

Yeah, with first-class treatment like this, it really makes you wonder why A-Rod's dying to get the hell out of Dodge.


Side Bar said...

I will concede that:

A. A-Rod is, hands down, the best player in baseball, and, when all is said and done, perhaps in baseball history.

B. That there are episodes in his career when he "did the right thing" by way of teammates, contract talks, etc.

C. Mike Vaccaro is a huge douche who couldn't write a fair story or do an iota of research even if he tried, which, to date, he has not.

If you give me:

1. People who love the ideals of baseball have every right and good reason to dislike A-Rod NOT because of his large salary (which, in my estimation, wouldn't alone be a valid reason to hate him), but because of repeated episodes in which he pulls stunts that remind people how much he is focused on himself, and how little he is focused on the more transcendant qualities of baseball (the "good of the game," the "team," etc.).

It actually sounds kind of lame when I write it, but there's a Potter Stewart thing with the way A-Rod disrespects baseball (i.e., I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it), that guys like David Wright, Derek Jeter, and the other "good" guys would never be guilty of.

and his lips are purple.

Faith said...

Nice to see you defending (well, sort of) a Yankee for once. And I have to say, I agree. I think there have been a lot of people that haven't ever truly accepted A-Rod as a Yankee (sort of like how Johnny Damon will never be a Yankee to me, no matter how well he performs or how many seasons he plays). And unfortunately I think A-Rod may be one of the main reasons why the Yankees are no longer regarded as such a gentlemanly team (as they used to be). I used to have some leverage in arguments with Boston fans (or those that just don't like the Yankees) with the idea that the Yankees were a more sportsmanlike team than Boston (which I still maintain is true) and many other teams in the league. I miss the days when the Yankees weren't viewed as such an evil empire.

Oh, and last years' Hank Aaron award went to Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard. And the shortstop before Jeter was Tony Fernandez (just to show you that not all Yankee fans are johnny-come-latelys who don't know anything about the team).

The Notorious LJT said...

well, aren't we an a-rod fellatiator, open bar?

here's a question, do you want him on the mets?

Open Bar said...

Side Bar -- I will definitely give you the fact that there are plenty of reasons for just about anyone to hate A-Rod. It's just that at the same time, it's absolutely impossible to replace .314/.422/.645 with 54 HRs, 156 RBIs, 143 runs scored, 24 SB, and 95 BB, especially from a righty.

LJT -- A-Rod on the Mets? Argh, I struggle with this one. There's certainly no arguing with his level of production, and I have seen the idea floated of moving Wright to 2B to make room. But then again, he's just a dickhead.

And then again, if A-Rod was on the Mets this year, you can be damn sure they'd have been in the playoffs.

(Reyes, Wright, Rodriguez, Beltran in the same lineup? Pretty sick.)

Faith -- I guess I owe you a dollar (unless you Googled it, be honest). But what the hell is Derek Jeter doing winning something called the Hank Aaron Award? Isn't it for slugging?

And I get the idea that if the yanks had won a World Series this year or last, you wouldn't have much trouble calling Damon (or A-Rod) a yankee. Am I wrong?

Faith said...

Well, first of all, I am shocked that you would question my baseball knowledge. But, in all honesty, yes it was my Google skills that got me this one. Caught red-handed. And according to wikipedia (the source of all knowledge) the award is for offensive performance and Derek Jeter had 214 hits in 2006 (A-Rod had 183 this year). Yes, I looked those stats up too (all googling aside, I swear to god I do know the yankees, though admittedly not as much as I used to, with my huge stash of baseball cards).

And I can say that honestly Johnny Damon will never feel like a Yankee to me, I don't care how many World Series the Yankees win. It's just one of those things. It's not necessarily logical. In my mind he will always be a Red Sock. And an Idiot.

Open Bar said...

Well I'll take that dollar right back then. And okay, fine, you know the yanks. I could tell that when I met you though, since your name isn't Vinny, you can actually string together a subject AND a predicate, and you don't smell like the result of a one-night stand between a rabid pit bull and a rotten canoli.

That said, is there anyone left in the world who actually does like Damon?

Faith said...

My how you do turn a girl's head with your compliments.

ChuckJerry said...

Here's my perspective on A-Rod, which I was going to put in a separate post, but decided not to.

1) He's a jerk.

2) He's the best player in the game.

3) He's the only player in the game that holds all the cards in negotiations, so I can't really fault him for playing them.