Usually when I bring up a baseball writer, it's because I think he's full of shit. I've done it here before, but I want to take a moment to point out two very well written and thoughtful articles I read today.
The first is by a guy named Ken Davidoff, who writes for Newsday. I'm especially happy about this, because Newsday's baseball coverage normally shits the bed, led by head shithead Wallace Matthews. (For proper documentation of his idiocy, please look here.) Anyway, I'm now a big fan of Ken's, because he finally did something I haven't seen any other New York writer do: explain to yankee fans why wanting to get rid of Alex Rodriguez is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea.
As you may have heard, A-Rod/A-Roid/A-Hole will miss the first few weeks (at least) of the upcoming season. And if you're a dumbass and listen to people like Mike Francesa or read any of the nonsense most NY Post/Daily News writers are saying, you'd think that losing maybe the best player of the last 10 years is somehow a good thing for the yankees. After all, A-Rod's an asshole, a cheater, a poor public speaker, probably a Nazi, and any other such drivel. (BRING BACK BROSIUS!)
However, reasonable people -- and it has now been proven that at least one New York sports writer falls into that category -- know better. Take it away, Ken:
All right, world, you have your chance now. For the next six to nine weeks, you'll get to see what life is like without Alex Rodriguez. You'll view the mighty, regal Yankees, rid of their "albatross." You'll look at Mr. Perfect, Derek Jeter, liberated from the cumbersome task of playing alongside one of the greatest players in baseball history. Based on what people have been saying out there, I'm betting the Yankees go 35-1 while A-Rod rehabilitates from arthroscopic surgery.Beautiful. I'm tearing up already.
Somehow, the belief is now pervading that the Yankees will be better off without A-Rod: That he costs as much in anguish and headaches as he pays in home runs and walks.Mwah! I love it. If I were Jewish and my wife just had a kid, I would ask Ken Davidoff to snip the tip. Anyway, Ken goes on to describe how, yes, it's real easy to hate A-Rod for a lot of things (steroids, lack of media savviness, general douchiness), but man-oh-man can the jerk play baseball. And then he gets to my favorite part, something about which I've written before, A-Rod's postseason "foibles."
I don't get it. It doesn't make sense on any level, and the only evidence used to back it up - that the Yankees haven't reached a World Series since they acquired A-Rod - could also be deployed to prove that A-Rod's a heck of a player, but he ain't no Clay Bellinger.
Has he underachieved in the postseason since he joined the Yankees? Sure, although not as much as you might think. If you could surgically remove his October numbers from 2004 through 2007, then install them into the 1996-2001 Yankees, Joe Torre would probably own five or six World Series rings, rather than four.I'm not sure how accurate that is, but the fact that the yankees haven't won a World Series since 2000 has nothing to do with A-Rod. The very fact that the yankees (and many of their fans and especially New York sportswriters) consider a non-World Series-winning year a "failure" is beyond retarded.
Ken proceeds to the steroid issue for a bit (and very thoughtfully, too) before finishing with a goddamn flourish, as far as any thinking baseball fan goes. After describing how if the yanks get off to a good start without A-Rod, that just proves the idiots' point. But...
If the Yankees do struggle, however, if the new guys can't live up to the expectations and the old guys can't reach back for better days, then perhaps the haters will finally have their question answered. They'll finally realize the old "Be careful what you wish for" axiom. Nah. They'll probably just hate A-Rod all the more for getting injured.God bless this man. Just try to explain this very insightful-yet-borderline-obvious commentary to your average yankee fan at the bar, and within moments I'll bet these names come up: Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Chuck Knoblauch, and the sainted-best-ever-third-baseman-of-all-time-'cause-he-was-so-damn-gritty Scott Brosius.
Okay, no more on that.
Right now, the Mets don't have a fifth starting pitcher. In the offseason, Omar Minaya signed Tim Redding, Freddy Garcia, and Livan Hernandez, in an apparent attempt to disprove the rule that if you have no toilet, you can find a good toilet by acquiring three random toilets full of shit and somehow combine them and come out with a brand-new, shit-free, good toilet.
Oddly enough, after those signings the Mets' fifth-pitcher conundrum is still shitty. So a lot of Mets fans (myself included) have started to think again about the previously unthinkable: re-signing Pedro Martinez, who was himself quite a poop-stained toilet of a pitcher last year.
So now, what to do? Give Pedro a chance or not? As much as my heart tells me that Pedro can rediscover his awesomeness, my head tells me that the dude is washed up. I think yankee fans might recognize this quandary in the Bernie Williams saga a few years back, and more recently the Red Sox had to decide whether to re-sign Jason Varitek. A beloved player, but whose better days are clearly long gone, yet there is a need for someone to fill that position...
I don't think I can say it any better than Jason at Faith and Fear in Flushing. It's a tremendously written piece, and I think any Met fan can see what he's saying. But it certainly extends to any sports fan in this situation. (Just read the thing, that's why there's a link. What, did you think I was going to excerpt a bunch of of it and comment on it? Don't be ridiculous.)
And on a final note, the U.S. dropped its first game in the World Baseball Classic tonight. They lost to Venezuela, a team they demolished a few nights ago 15-6. But the only really interesting part, to me, was when Frankie "K-Rod" Rodriguez, the new closer for the Mets -- now pitching for Venezuela -- came in in the bottom of the 9th with a 5-3 lead. His first hitter? Jimmy Rollins. And what happened? He walked him. The leadoff man. With a 2-run lead.
I hope this is not a sign of things to come.
And on a completely different and ignorant note, I am an average white person. Can someone please explain to me the name "Rodriguez"?
A-Rod: Dominican Republic (though he played for the U.S. last time)
K-Rod: Venezuela (even though his nickname RHYMES with the first guy)
I-Rod, aka Pudge Rodriguez: Puerto Rico
If anyone here speaks Spanish, please explain. Three guys, same last name, three different countries? Sounds fishy, to say the least. And I know this guy at work whose last name is Rodriguez and he says he's Mexican. Should I believe him too?
Everyone named Smith or Jones is from America, that's just history. Like everyone named Corleone or Gotti is from Italy, anyone named Mohammed is an Ay-Rab, and a woman can't get pregnant if she's on top -- it's just gravity.