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No, the Yankees did not lose because of A-Rod's failure to hit his 600th home run

Aug 4, 2010, 8:19 AM EDT

Let the record reflect that Blue Jays’ starter Rickey Romero was rough stuff last night. After going a mere two and two-thirds innings while giving up eight runs when he faced the Yankees a month ago, Romero came back last night and silenced the Bombers’ bats. He struggled through the first inning but rebounded nicely to throw a complete game two-hitter, retiring 26 of 27 hitters with but an infield single interrupting the proceedings.

Not that the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan is giving him a ton of credit for it this morning. No, he believes that last night’s loss was due to something else:

The Yankees have fallen into the A-Rod trap. And they can’t get out. There’s been so much attention given to the 600 home run chase, the Yankees have forgotten they’re in a pennant race . . . In this celebrity era, the Yankees have to get back to the team game and
putting their eye on the real prize, not 600 home runs, but doing
whatever it takes to winning the AL East, day by day . . .

. . . The day that Rodriguez hit No. 599, the Yankees were three games in
front in the AL East. The next day they bumped that lead up to four
games . . . In a way, the Yankees have been caught looking in the mirror, like
Rodriguez once did, looking at themselves, instead of channeling all
their efforts to take care of business in the most difficult division in
baseball.

If there was any doubt that Kernan is blaming A-Rod’s chase of 600 hits for the Yankees’ struggles, scope the last line of the column: “The milestone has become a millstone around the neck of A-Rod and the Yankees.”

Kernan hangs this whole premise on a single quote from Joe Girardi making reference to milestones “getting in the way a little bit,” but we have no way of knowing from the column what the question was that led to that comment. I’d allow for the idea that 600 may be a distraction to A-Rod himself, but I defy Kernan to find one Yankees player who will go on record as saying that A-Rod’s pursuit of 600 home runs is what led to any struggles they’re having, let alone last night’s loss.  I’d also be curious as to what Rickey Romero and Cito Gaston would say to a question like that.

I know what you’re going to say: “Craig, relax. It’s the Post. It’s Kernan. No need to get worked up over it.”

But I am worked up.  The Post reaches more than half a million in print alone and millions on the web. It, more than other, more reasonable sports sections in the New York area shapes and reflects the opinion of Yankees fans and drives the talk radio discussion which goes on to shape and reflect the opinions of many others.

If this was stuff to be ignored it would be ignored. But it’s not ignored, and idiotic notions like Kernan’s here seep into the public consciousness. It’s what leads to that New York exceptionalism that drives me so crazy. It’s what reinforces and justifies the feeling among a certain brand of Yankees fan that the other teams are mere mirrors with which to reflect Yankee glory. “Rickey Romero? What did he ever do? What do we care about him unless he becomes a free agent?”

Well, Rickey Romero kicked the Yankees’ asses last night. Too bad some people who are paid to understand that couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge it in their rush to create bulls— perpetuating narratives.

  1. Nat - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    NY media, scapegoating this dude for the team’s failures since the day he got there. Forget his production on the field, he’s shielded more than a few bad performances, season, stretches for his teammates all these years.
    I think Smith’s article over at the NY Daily News is even better. He manages to get in the obligatory “he’s no Jeter” dis in the ARod scapegoating.
    “Last year when Derek Jeter was trying to break Lou Gehrig’s record for most hits by a Yankee, it wasn’t this torturous – certainly not for the rest of the team.”
    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2010/08/04/2010-08-04_rodriguez_allows_milestone_to_turn_into_millstone.html#ixzz0vdk2xDts

  2. Paper Lions - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    Craig, relax. It’s the Post. It’s Kernan. No need to get worked up over it.

  3. Ditto65 - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:44 AM

    I talked to Burnett the other day and he admits the implosion on Monday was because of his concern for A-Rod’s trouble reaching 600.

  4. YankeesfanLen - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    When the opposition pitches a gem, I”ll always say so. Thus it was last night. Do not ignore the fact that while individual players want to achieve their results,the other players are supportive but don’t have anything but celebration once the milestone is hit.Nothing before, nothing after, except that it will marginally increase the team’s performance.
    If anything it’s Girardi getting squirelly. Lots of yelping in the local media about trade deadline acquisitions and Cashman’s brilliance, and I said “meh”. Then we have to use them ALL THE TIME. They’re fill-ins, walk-ups, situational pieces. The Universe was doing fine but you would think Girardi was running a 1980s Macy’s and responding to a directive from the home office telling him to feature this merchandise prominently for extra sales.
    Two things, maybe more:
    I want to see the “classic” 2010 Yankees line up in there.
    I want to see AROD hit 600 today in the first inning (look the date up)
    I want the media (even the NYT, a balanced and pro-Yank paper) shut up and not try to make hay out of a mere 3 game losing streak.
    I want a quick hook on starters and closers who “lose it”
    I wnt 38 more wins, whenever they occur.

  5. Largebill - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    Aaron going for 715 35 years ago could have become an issue for teammates. Rose going for 4,191 could have also. A round number like 600? Nah, don’t think so.

  6. StottsEra - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    when does the circle end? i should blog about your blog complaining about another blog

  7. steve d. - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    So this kind of thing leads to New York exceptionalism that drives you crazy and reinforces things in a-hole Yankee fans that everyone hates? So what? What’s the point of this post? Are you talking to the non a-hole Yankee fans about the others? Believe me, we know! We are given the Post and Francesa, et al. on a daily basis. We don’t need reminders of how ridiculous they are. Is it so people like you can make fun of the a-hole Yankee fans? What’s the endgame here? Seems to me you are just going to get the people who believe in this sort of dreck all riled up needlessly because the nerd from the midwest is insulting them. Its certainly not directed at those of us who ignore Kevin Kernan regularly, is it? I’m a big fan of the blog and you raising hell and all that, but this takes on a “we don’t like city folk” vibe when you write up a “hey look at those crazy New Yorkers and their crazy newspaper columnists”. We’re not all like that. I would venture to say that most of the people who read you because they like your stuff are not like that. So I don’t really get it. I guess I should just ignore these like you should ignore Kernan, but like you, I CAN’T!

  8. Simon DelMonte - Aug 4, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    Clearly, Romero was lights out. But it might be fair to suggest that Dustin Moseley wasn’t up to the task. And it might be fair to ask why Cashman opted not to get another starter on the cheap last week (since we know he is great at getting players on the cheap).
    Not that I care much. I’d rather see the A-Rod Watch than the Jerry Manuel Watch. The more the spotlight is in the Bronx, the better for the Mets. At least for today.

  9. Cheap Seat Chronicles - Aug 4, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Hallelujah, my brotha!!
    Sing it on a mountain top, Craiggers…sing it on a mountain top!!

  10. BlueJayys - Aug 4, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    As a Jays fan, I gotta say I love watching all of this. The Jays are going for the sweep. I wish two things for today’s game. First, that the Jays trounce the bombers again of course. And with Marcum on the mound, the Jays have a good chance of that! Second, I hope that A Rod does get his 600th homer– near the end of a game with the Yankees having no chance of winning. That will make A-roid’s ‘accomplishment’ that much more hollow given how tainted his ‘record’ already is.

  11. Xpensive Wino - Aug 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    To me, Kernan’s premise is ridiculous if for no other reason than no one on that team likes or respects that piece of shit enough to let a personal goal of his affect them. No one on earth other than A-Hole gives a rat’s ass about him hitting 600 home runs. He makes Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens seem likable.

  12. Jonny5 - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    Gawwwd. Well here’s the upside. All this bullcrap will end as soon as A-rod hits another bomb, which will be very soon, It may even be tonight, could be tomorrow. Anyway, this is what I mean about media bias. To hang losing, and dropping the the standings, on one player is about as much BS as one can take, isn’t it? This guy has something against A-rod obviously.
    BTW, thank god you didn’t use the picture of A-rod with his “dirty sanchez”, like you usually do. And you all wonder why he skips team photo day??

  13. aleskel - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    dear god, that is one horrifying picture

  14. Proudly Canadian - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    A sweep by the Jays would not be a surprise. The three starting pitchers they are using this series are better than the three New York starters. New York has a serious problem with its startin pitching. Now that Burnett is not playing for a contract, he has reverted to his normal self. Mosely is a stop gap until Pettitte returns from the DL. Hughes has tailed off greatly from his early season form. Fatigue is setting in. New York writers should also realize that the Jays can out slug the Bronx bums.

  15. funkygoorilla - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    I saw this coming, and with all the talk about Arods 600th and the Rays creeping fast, the Yankees were bound to go on a bad streak. I am not too worried though, they will bounce back, and just like every other year, the Rays will take a nose dive. Hopefully the Yanks wont go on a streak similar to say…….the Rockies? (fingers crossed)

  16. kyle s - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    craig getting his fire joe morgan on. i love it.

  17. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    Until the Red Sox get the Wild Card down to 3 games, I don’t see the relevance of a slump from either the Yankees or the Rays. BOTH will be making the playoffs unless I see something out of the Red Sox in the next 2 weeks. A three game losing streak and they STILL have a 5.5 game lead in the WC. And it isn’t like there are 4 or 5 teams breathing down their necks…the Twinkies are fading and are 7.5 games out of the WC. So basically, the Yankers can take 3 of 4 from the Sox this weekend, and by Monday night, they could have a 8 game lead in the WC. Would THAT stop all the lunacy in trying to create an AL playoff “race”??? If the Sox win 3 of 4 and cut it to 3, THEN it’s a race. Otherwise, the Yankers fans and media should just relax and worry about October.

  18. funkygoorilla - Aug 4, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Cant relax………must….win….everygame……everytime……………ahhhhhhh!

  19. Old Gator - Aug 4, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    On one hand, it’s not a big surprise to find out that half a million semi-literate neocretins actually shell out fifty cents (or whatever that rag sells for these days) to read the Pestilence. It’s not even a surprise to find out that Pestilence readers can access it on line – Downs Syndrome children can be taught to use a computer keyboard. You have to hand it to Rupert Murdoch’s marketing genius, noticing that there were a million and a half brain-damaged, congenitally taste-defective and/or neocon readers in New York and, what with the Daily News becoming too moderate for Archie Bunker, this enormous constituency had no yellow rag to call their own – and, carpe diem Rupert, you have seized the moment and assured thereby that your constituency will remain brain-damaged, semi-literate and witlessly right wing.
    .
    But it is surprising that anyone takes the Pestilence seriously enough not only to blog about it but to respond to blogs about it. Me, I never cease to amaze myself.

  20. YankeesfanLen - Aug 4, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Years ago the Pestilence had an offer for home delivery for like 3 cents a day and since the local muffler-less delivery people are around here anyway and the puppy was still training, we bit (not the puppy). After the introductory period they actually thought that full price would be paid, but AHA! the puppy was trained and the need vanished.

  21. funkygoorilla - Aug 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Too many big words…Hmmm when does the Yankee game start?

  22. Old Gator - Aug 4, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    My brother made the same mistake with their white poodle puppy. My sister-in-law wound up washing the cheap ink off its ass every day. Cheap? Did I say cheap? The stuff came off on the dog even though it was only squatting.

  23. Michael - Aug 4, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    “Just like every other year”? The Rays have only been in existence since 2008 (I don’t count their Devil years because they were irrelevant) and they’ve won the division one year, come in 3rd last year, and are tied for first this year.

  24. Md23Rewls - Aug 4, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    No, Rodriguez’s lack of a home run didn’t cause their failure, but your cleanup hitter being in an 0-16 (or whatever it is) and 9-50 slump does hurt your team’s chances to win. I don’t care about the 600th home run. I just want the dude to start hitting again.

  25. doctorfunke - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Hmm. Methinks I see what is really going on here. And it didn’t really occur to me until I read this gem from OG. Gator, you just can’t resist can you?

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