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New York tabloid: “Leave A-Rod alone!”

Mar 24, 2011, 10:37 AM EDT

Alex Rodriguez

Only Nixon could go to China, only Kirk could make peace with the Kilingons and only the New York Post can tell people that it’s time to stop going after Alex Rodriguez:

Look, Alex Rodriguez always has been Alex Rodriguez’s worst enemy, and perhaps his litany of career sins — runaway ego and greed mixed with steroids — is never going to be absolved, even if A-Rod has offered a better version of himself the past two years.

Nevertheless, at some point legitimate critique of Rodriguez has been usurped by something close to piling on. He is the fish in the barrel and shooting at him has become a hard-to-break habit. It feels like the fun, easy game that anyone can play.

Of course, that’s Joel Sherman, who usually does way better than your typical Post or Daily News opinion-monger, so it’s possible that he’ll be drummed out of the club for making such a suggestion.

But he’s right on the mark too.  It’s fair game to call out Rodriguez for his trespasses, but (a) it has been some time since he’s had a major one; and (b) the minor ones he gets beat up for are simply silly, even if they could be called trespasses (would that I do something so “embarrassing” as to have a famous Hollywood actress feed me by hand while sitting in expensive seats at the Super Bowl).

And Sherman’s main point is the best rebuttal of them all: Rodriguez works his ass off as a baseball player. And he’s one of the best who has ever lived. You’d think more time would be spent on that end of things.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    People stealing my schtick again, should have had it trademarked. Craig, will you mouthpiece an “intellectual infringment” (or what ever you call it) lawsuit on my behalf?

  2. Kevin S. - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    Did Sherman give a H/T to yankeesfanlen, or are we hanging his ass for plagurism?

    • yankeesfanlen - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:42 AM

      See? I have witnesses!

  3. guileless22 - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    I look forward to the Post’s sober, tasteful backpage headline the first time A-Rod strikes out in the 9th with men on base in a game the Yankees lose.

  4. Jonny 5 - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    Not for children, or people opposed to foul language.

    LEAVE A-ROD ALONE!!!!

    • cur68 - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      So that’s what Len looks like, eh? Len; get some exercise, wash your shirt, glasses and hair. And get over you A-Rod man crush. You’re way too young for him.

    • yankeesfanlen - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:11 PM

      That was in my method-acting days, ala young Marlon Brando.

  5. cur68 - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    I’m all for cutting the Rod-man some slack, but I will NEVER fathom the dude’s taste in women! It’s only a matter of time before he’s caught with someone’s grandmother (GILF) feeding him porridge at a lawn bowling tournament.
    And no, Len, I will never leave him alone about this.

    • lmno7 - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:32 PM

      Can’t disagree with you there… Madonna? Kate Hudson? Cameron Diaz? Basically he seems to only like blond(ish) women, with muscular arms, and that have lanky bodies with little, to no feminine curves … I’m a white guy myself, and even I would prefer a curvy, average Latina woman to any of those boy-bodied-bimbos…

  6. chrisdtx - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    I read that as “Otis Nixon can go to China” at first and, honestly, that would’ve been a much better post. Not that this one was bad or anything.

  7. yankeesgameday - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    I’m telling ya, a few less inning ending double plays in crucial situations against the Red Sox those first few years as a Yankee and A-Rod would have won over New York in a way that no other sports star has ever done. He may have won an MVP as a Yankee (or was it two, i can’t remember), but Yankee fans only remember the clutch plays people make.

    If he just came through a couple of times in the playoffs in his first two years I don’t think anyone would be able to quantify the legend he would have built for himself in New York and in baseball history, because you’re right, Arod is one of the greatest players to EVER put on any uniform, yet we simple never hear that.

    And I wanna go off topic for a sec and just say that I saw yesterday’s game against Toronto in MLB.tv and Cameron Diaz sat behind home plate the entire game. She was in her seat at the top of the first and didn’t leave the game until 2 outs in the top of the 9th. And she was amazing with everyone around her. You could see it all during the game as she took picture after picture with fans, talked to kids, and went out of her way to say hello to people.

    I was at a fight in Vegas two years ago and Paris Hilton was there. She sat ringside for 1 round so the HBO cameras could get a shot of her “watching” the title match and after round one she left and never came back. It was a paid appearance. Cameron Diaz literally just went to watch her boyfriend play a baseball game, but when Arod was pulled after the 5th she hung around and watched a bunch of Yankee minor leaguers wrap it up until the final out of the game.

    In an age when celebrities give off this holier than thou vibe, that scored a ton of points with me.

    • yankeesfanlen - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      Know your ARod facts: 2005, 2007
      And thanks for the anecdote. I think we have another MVP possibility this year.

    • lmno7 - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:37 PM

      I’m sure she’s a nice down to earth girl… and that’s awesome… but she’s kind of unattractive in my opinion… weird face, boyish body, muscular arms, no curves…

      I’d rather she (hypothetically) be my friends girlfriend than my own… that way I can like her as a person/friend and not feel like I might do something stupid and wrong with her after a few to many drinks.

      • lmno7 - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:38 PM

        Disclaimer: Not that I ever have, or would do such a thing in reality… it was just a hypothetical…

      • cur68 - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Dude, you just SO busted yourself…no shame brah, we’ve all been there.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        Why do people think they get to criticize the looks of someone else’s girlfriend? Even this much is really heaping it on ARod. What do you think about Sabathia’s wife? Posada’s? Girardi’s? Burnett?

        By applying the same standards to ARod that we apply to everyone else, we don’t just chance the answers to our questions; we probably don’t even ask the question in the first place.

      • cur68 - Mar 24, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        Hmmmm…yep, that’s a twinge of guilt I feel. Either that or my rice krispies are not sitting well. Here’s the thing sabbathiawouldbegood; none of those guys get through the ladies like your boy, or if they do, they keep it on the DL way better. I’ve never seen much in the way of scandal surrounding any on the list you provide and no one tends to accuse those guys of being douches on the scale that your lad ARod gets nailed for. Then there’s his tendencies with the ‘girls’. That is full on asking for it IMO. If I was a lightening rod (no pun intended) for controversy like our man Alex, I’d maybe keep the ladies a bit more discreet. I’m not saying DON”T date the woman of your preferred kink, but maybe not so “sitting behind home plate” type of thing? He must have some idea of what the poor woman will be in for, why let it happen? Now I realize I’m getting into a John & Yoko type argument here, but most of my puzzlement about his taste in women has to do with bewilderment that he would choose lady ‘X’ over lady ‘Y’ especially when ‘Y’ is short for ‘YOWZA!’ and ‘X’ for where she sits on Hollywood Squares. At any rate, I think it’s gentlemanly of you to stick up for ARod and his lady-friends. I’m actually glad someone’s doing it. You must realize there’s just so much milage in this thing that it’s not likely to stop, of course, but I respect anyone who’ll step in for a lady.

      • lmno7 - Mar 24, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        Sabathia’s wife? Hot.
        Posada’s? Super Duper Hot.
        Burnett? Super Duper uber-Hot
        Girardi’s? Seems like a very nice lady.

        This is an odd tangent we’ve gone on to here…

    • yankeesgameday - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      LOL, I wanna know who gave me a thumbs down for that post? Was it for the Arod stuff or the tangent about Cameron Diaz? hahaha.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      If he just came through a couple of times in the playoffs in his first two years I don’t think anyone would be able to quantify the legend he would have built for himself in New York and in baseball history,

      Dude, you know he pretty much single-handedly won the LDS (as much as any one player can win a four-game series, anyway) against Minnesota, right? That he was a huge part of the attack during the first three games against Boston? That he got blamed for the entire team going in the tank when they blew the final four games? A-Rod came through just fine – it just didn’t fit the narrative, so it was ignored.

      • yankeesgameday - Mar 24, 2011 at 1:06 PM

        in the early years it was too common to watch time after time Arod strike out on sliders in the dirt off the plate. time after time he hit an inning ending double play to kill a rally. and too many times he hit a monster home run when the score was meaningless in huge blow outs. Look, I am not piling on here, and if you’d like to point to the narrative, he wrote that himself. The reason it’s not a good story is because he really didn’t come through in the clutch during those first five years.

        Jeter isn’t the world’s greatest shortstop. He isn’t a home run king, but he’s an icon because of a handful of amazing moments. And Arod didn’t have his moment until the story of this first five years as a Yankee had already been written. which is pretty much my point… if he had just two or three Jeter-esque individual moments I think he would have been one of the greatest figures in New York sport history.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 24, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        Actually, you are piling on, and your narrative does not match up with the facts. On the whole, he was average-to-above-average against sliders ’04-’08, typically swung at pitches outside the strike zone a little less than at the league-average rate, he had no particular proclivity for grounding into DPs with extra ducks on the pond, and his HR/PA didn’t vary that significantly by game situation. Those are facts. They are recorded in game logs and on splits pages at baseball-reference.com. The narrative was built from selective memory bias. It wasn’t A-Rod’s fault.

      • yankeesgameday - Mar 24, 2011 at 2:42 PM

        to Kevin S, stats can’t replace watching the games. Thanks to mlb.tv I didn’t miss a Yankee game from 2003 until 2010. I’m on the West Coast and day games in Yankee Stadium start at 10am out here, and night games at 4. I was fortunate enough to be able to watch from my desk at work and can personally attest to the level of frustration that built watching Arod make outs with runners on base that killed rallies when the at bats meant the most.

        In 2011 you can go look up stats at Baseball Reference and see a broad picture of his numbers against certain types of pitches etc, but it is completely out of context for the game situation. In a two year stretch from 03-05 there was a book on how to pitch Arod that worked in every clutch situation: Fast ball inside off the plate, Fast ball inside off the plate, curve ball, curve call, fastball away, fastball away, slider outside in the dirt which would give you a strike out or ground out. If you missed your location on any of those pitches and got it over the plate he’d crush it. Otherwise this was the period in his career where his mental focus was famously over tweaked and he gained the reputation for not coming through in the clutch and swinging at bad pitches.

        Trust me, in this instance the numbers can say one thing, but when you were there watching all of the games in the moment, those numbers were inflated by game situations that had nothing to do with win and losses. In blowouts the pressure was off and people who witnessed it would agree that he teed off on pitchers when it mattered least, and did not come through when it mattered most.

        Again, at the time. Things are different now. And the whole basis of this thread was that we should lay off and I agree with that. But the narrative isn’t fantasy or revisionist history. The narrative of his early Yankee years, when he became a target of ire, is what it is because all of us saw it.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 24, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        Actually, the numbers do take into account game situations. There’s all sorts of ways the numbers can take into account game situations, from specifics (inning, base-out state, count) to leverage to Win Probability Added. Numbers do a fantastic job at describing what happens in the game of baseball. Memory, however, reinforces the narrative, to the point where nobody remembered A-Rod’s successes, only his failures, because they intuitively associated those failures as further evidence of the narrative and the successes as blips. Paraphrasing the famous Bull Durham line, one dying quail a week dropping in is the difference between hitting .260 and hitting .300. The brain can’t distinguish that one extra hit a week, and those provide a massive difference between your .260 hitter and your .300 hitter (assuming power and walk rates are similar, of course). If one can’t tell the difference between a .260 hitter and a .300 hitter just by watching them every day, with all do respect, why should we trust your memory over what the stats tell us?

      • yankeesgameday - Mar 24, 2011 at 3:59 PM

        Because we aren’t talking about a broad swath of numbers over the course of several years in regular season game situations. We are talking about the handful of moments where Arod could have come through with a huge game changing hit, but did not.

        I’m not the only one who remembers. And memory is the most important thing. Entire civilizations have survived through oral histories so you cannot dismiss the broad swaths of people who saw it with their own eyes and know that there were specific game situations where, if Arod got a hit, his legend in New York would have been incredibly different.

        Scott Brosius comes to mind. He never had impressive career numbers, he was a good defensive 3rd baseman and for a few seasons had a good average. But he hit some of the most memorable home runs in Yankee history. Jim Leyritz sadly caused a woman’s death by driving drunk, but say his name in New York City and the first thing people think of is that home run. I don’t even need to say who it was against, or why it’s important, because it’s a moment no one who saw it will ever forget.

        Arod just did not have that moment until 09 even though he had chance after chance to do it. That’s why numbers don’t tell the whole story, because it’s ALL about a few individual moments that create a player’s legacy.

      • youcantpredictbaseball - Mar 26, 2011 at 1:27 PM

        yankeesgameday, you’re being ridiculous and/or purposefully forgetting Alex’s pre-2009 moments. He had two huge come-from-behind walk-off HR in 2007 that I can think of just off the top of my head. The Yankees probably don’t make the playoffs in 2005 or 2007 without him, whether those stats were accumulated only in blowouts (they weren’t) or not. He basically won the 2004 ALDS for the Yankees – and yes, there were articles about how his performance in Game 2 was his Yankee Moment – and if Mo nails down that save in Game 4 (or 5) he’s probably named ALCS MVP.

        Alex didn’t come through with a huge hit every time, no one does. But he did that plenty of times. He led his team to the postseason multiple times and to a World Series win, and I’m not really sure what else you could ask for.

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    “…legitimate critique of Rodriguez has been usurped by something close to piling on.”

    If ARod’s treatment has been CLOSE to piling on, I’d hate to be the guy who gets the real thing.

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