Tagged: Alex Rodriguez

1998 Redux?

Ho hum. Another day, another win. Remind you of any other Yankee teams? Maybe one from 11 years back? The team that seemed like it won almost everyday? The team where if it lost you were like, “Ah, whatever. What are we? 70 games over .500?”

I’m not saying this team is going to win 125 games. I’m just saying the day in and day out winning lately, just got me reminiscing a little bit that’s all.

The Yankees are six straight wins away from reaching an unbelievable 40 games over .500 this season. Why is it unbelievable? Do you remember last year? My, what a difference a year makes. My, how the glasses go from half empty to half full. Although I guarantee you there are some fans out there that STILL aren’t satisfied. Maybe they are upset they lost the series to the Rangers? Get over it. It was the first series they lost since they were in Chicago at the beginning of August. In fact, since the All-Star break the Yankees have played 13 series. They are 11-2. By the way, the 11 wins include two series wins and a four-game sweep over the Red Sox. They also swept the Tigers, Orioles, Blue Jays and White Sox.  This team is playing how everyone expected it to play after an unbelievable offseason of signings.

Let me throw some more numbers at you. Since Alex Rodriguez came back into the lineup in Baltimore on May 8, the Bombers are 59-33. Since June 25, they are an unreal 42-16. Since the All-Star break, they are 31-11. They have the best record in the Majors, they are the best team in baseball right now. Not arguably the best, they ARE the best, right now. Some more numbers now for the remaining naysayers and people who can just never be happy. Maybe this will turn that frown upside down. August 31, 2008, the Yankees were 72-64 — just 8 games over .500, 12.5 games back of Tampa and in third place. Do I see a smile? Or was that just gas?

Come on people! Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. This team is flat out good. They are proving it on the field everyday! You know who you are. Don’t make me sic Susan Powter on you. Children of the ’80s you know who I speak of — “STOP THE INSANITY!”

powter.jpgLet me take you back to a past blog. At the All-Star break, if you remember, I was asked to grade the Yankees as a guest on WFAN. I gave them a B+ and I got destroyed. Here’s an excerpt that entry:

Baseball is cyclical. If you have ever played the game you would
understand that sometimes the ball looks like a pebble and you’re trying
to hit it with a toothpick, and sometimes it looks like a beach ball
and you have that big fat red wiffleball bat. 

There are 73 games left, 73. That’s almost an entire NBA or NHL season.
What? I’m gonna worry? GLASS HALF FULL PEOPLE! I said this last year
and I’ll say it again. If you don’t like rooting for a team that
consistently runs out players that are fit to win championships ever
season, there’s always Pittsburgh, Kansas City or Washington. Pledge
your allegiance to teams and owners who put money into a new yacht
instead of putting money into their team.

Am I patting myself on the back? No. Was I right? Yes. The Red Sox won eight straight in the first half of the season. In the second half, the Yankees have taken six of seven. The Yankees are 19-4 in their last 23 home games. They are scoring close to six runs per game, and they are batting .287 with 38 home runs. The fat red wiffleball bat is in full effect. The pitchers are keeping it in the park as well, pitching to an even 3.00 ERA.

Back then there were 73 games left, now 32 remain. The Red Sox keep winning and are still lurking, just six games back. Chew on this though. If the Yankees played .500 ball the rest of the way, that’s 16-16, Boston would have to go 22-10 just to tie. I’m not a betting man, but I like the odds.

So, as the Tempo’s once sang, “See You in September,” everyone. It’s been a heck of a ride, and hopefully the good times will keep rolling along. Hopefully we’ll see you in October, and November where the only number that will matter is 27.

Dodge Ball

Manny being Manny just took itself to an entirely different level. Stop smiling Red Sox fans, because this can and will taint the stuff he did while you were cheering for him hitting ball after ball off of and over the monster. Stop shaking your heads, yes it does. If Alex Rodriguez gets dragged through the mud, so does your former beloved “idiot” Manny. How far does it go back? Yes I know he said he passed 15 drug tests, but he failed this one. If it opens the floodgates for everyone else, it opens the floodgates for him. Last time I checked, A-Rod just admitted it and is trying to better himself and get his career back on track.

Please stop, by the way, with the smoke screen of the test being because of a prescription handed out by a doctor. So basically what you’re telling me is, you are going to ingest something into your system which your doctor should tell you could show up on a drug test. If in fact it was a doctor he or she did go to school for what, 10 years? You’re going to sit there with a straight face and tell me you didn’t know it may show up on a test? Yet you don’t tell your team, or Major League baseball, that you’re having a personal issue and you were prescribed “X” and if you get tested it may show up on said test? I don’t care if you have the common cold, or swine flu, if you get a prescription from a doctor, in this culture we’re in, you have to bring it up and ask if its going to show up on a test.

It makes me want to throw up as a baseball fan. In fact, I think I just did throw up a little bit in my mouth. Could we just get mandatory drug testing in baseball please? Every week…every player…the whole season…Players union? Anyone? Bueller?

They will never agree to that. So guess what fans? We will never have an end to this. Where are my antacids?

Preaching from the pulpit on a Sunday

I don’t know if I’m the only one who thinks this way, but enough is enough with the whole Alex Rodriguez thing. Secretariat died nearly 20 years ago, and the last time I checked no one was still beating him to death. However, I have a feeling A-Rod and his various transgressions will be billy clubbed ad nauseum for the test of time because it sells papers and it will sell books apparently.

I, on the other hand, will not be partaking in the drivel that Selena Roberts has penned. I give her a TON of journalistic credit for being able to get Rodriguez’ name out of the 104 that tested positive for performance enhancers back in 2003. It turned the baseball world upside down, because Rodriguez was supposed to be the poster boy for clean players, and he was supposed to take us all away from the specter of steroids.

Some of the other stuff she is writing about though in her book we already knew and shouldn’t come as a surprise. She isn’t really breaking any news here. Although if you watch any of the news networks, news breaks and apparently its breaking all day.  One of my pet peeves.  If it breaks at 10 a.m., its not still breaking at 4pm. That drives me absolutely nuts.  Sorry for the sidebar.

Okay so here are some of her gems from the book, which I saw today via the New York Post.  A-Rod visits strip clubs, A-Rod is insecure, A-Rod is in constant competition with Derek Jeter, A-Rod bragged to teammates about being with Madonna, and A-Rod ALLEGEDLY took steroids in high school.

A ball player in a strip club? Wow!  I’m shocked!  He wore a Yankee hat to scream look at me?!  Again, “Elizabeth, it’s the big one!  I’m comin!” You think Alex Rodriguez isn’t going to be recognized if he wears a cowboy hat? A-Rod is insecure? That’s a newsflash, aren’t we all a little insecure? He’s in constant competition with Derek Jeter? You don’t say!  Wouldn’t you want to measure up to what Jeter has accomplished? A-Rod bragged to his teammates about dating Madonna? Is she 50, yes, but as one of my friends told me,”It’s still freakin Madonna!” Finally, A-Rod ALLEGEDLY took steroids in high school?  No concrete evidence to go on, yet it was still printed.  That is NOT journalism.   

That IS National Enquirer type stuff and I leave that stuff to the same people that read that garbage. I can care less if Brittany Spears held her baby while driving her car. I could care less if Kirstie Alley is 80 pounds overweight. I won’t lose any sleep if Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo are on the rocks, or if Brangelina got into a fight about having their 20th kid.  I’m not going to sit at home on my weekend off and worry about millionaires in Hollywood with their goofy little problems, or how Alex Rodriguez was in a strip club in Dallas with a Yankee hat on. 

A-Rod had a press conference, he apologized for using performance enhancers, and he is working with Don Hooton’s foundation. Hooton’s 17 year old son Taylor’s steroid use led to his suicide. 

Is Alex Rodriguez perfect?  Are you perfect?  Let he who hath not sinned, cast the first stone. Put it down, and walk away.

I’ll take the Yankees and Forrest Gump for $1000, Alex

The answer is, “The quote from the movie that most represents the 2009 Yankees so far.” Ooh, ooh, I know this! What is, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Mama always said it about life, and now I am saying it about these Yankees.

From the lineup, to the bullpen, to the starters, I don’t know if I’m getting butter cream, peanut butter, or coconut filling. I hate coconut filling by the way. And, lately, the Yankees are giving me plenty of coconut.

The losing streak is now at four. Chien-Ming Wang is on the DL with a hip flexor issue, (hip flexor issue in this case means he’s out of options, couldn’t send him down to Triple A) and has an ERA over 34. CC Sabathia was supposed to come in here and be a shut-down ace, injecting CC’s of 0’s and K’s into opposing lineups. Still waiting for that to happen. Yes, I’m aware of what he did last year with the Indians and the Brewers. He was 12-0 over 18 starts last June 10th through September 10th. But, CC, “What have you done for me lately? Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, yeah.” Janet Jackson Disease (JJD) is very catchy and I think I am coming down with it. Everyone is worried about Swine Flu now, but JJD is what I am worried about catching.

Sabathia pitched well enough to win last night, but either Justin Verlander miraculously remembered how to pitch, or the Yankees forgot how to hit.

A.J. Burnett has been OK, but, in his last start, the Yankees had a 6-0 lead on Josh Beckett, and they couldn’t hold on. Unfortunately, that’s what sticks in your head. Big time symptom of JJD. You’re only as good as your last start or your last at-bat.

Joba Chamberlain’s days as a starter should be numbered. I’m Maverick here and I am calling the ball — especially if Phil Hughes can make an instant impact. Hughes has been lights out at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (three wins, 19.1 IP, 1.86 ERA 19K, 3 BB), and tonight he gets the start against the Tigers.

I may be getting ahead of myself with Mark Melancon, but with Brian Bruney being on the shelf, the bridge to Mariano would be a lot sturdier if it went Melancon, Chamberlain, Rivera.  John Flaherty told me in Flash Forward this week that the Yankees were forced to bring Melancon up a little early, but to be put in at Fenway Park in front of a national television audience, and to do what he was able to do was impressive. (You can catch the entire Flash Forward in the video section of YESnetwork.com.)

As far as the hitting goes, Robinson Cano has really been the only consistent plate performer. The Yankees second baseman is the only one hitting over .300. Nick Swisher has cooled off, and Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira are both hitting .220. There is some good news, though.  Alex Rodriguez took live batting practice down in Tampa today, and you will see the video on Yankees Batting Practice Today at 6 p.m. ET on YES.

I know its “still early” in this 2009 season, but when does it start to get late? Yogi Berra said it the best, “It gets late awfully early around here.” He was commenting on the adverse sun conditions in left field at the old stadium. His quote, however, will stand the test of time to the spreading disease that is Janet Jackson. Nineteen games in, I’m already suffering from the symptoms. However, I promise … no, I guarantee … no wardrobe malfunctions will occur on the set.  

Trying to defend A-Rod

arod_cover.jpgIt’s been a tumultuous couple of months for Alex Rodriguez. He admitted using performance enhancing drugs, he had surgery on his hip and will miss close to the first two months of the season, and everything the slugger has said since his admission is put under a microscope, with every microbe of verbiage dissected and broken down until every proton and electron is examined.

I want to defend A-Rod with every fiber of my being for admitting he was wrong and doing everything the right way to start moving his life back in the right direction. He should also not be the only player dragged through the syringe filled mud. There are 103 more names from 2003 that didn’t come to light.

Rodriguez said in one of his many interviews he DOES NOT want those names to become public. He is bearing the brunt of the scrutiny and he just wants to move forward.

It seems he can’t move forward because almost every time he opens his mouth he proceeds to start a media frenzy. Take for example when he commented on Jose Reyes, a Dominican teammate in the World Baseball Classic. Rodriguez was asked if he watched the way Reyes ran the bases. He smiled and said quote, “I wish he was leading off on our team or playing on our team, that’s fun to watch.” Immediately some of the press surrounding him took that as a knock on Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter. Please. The last thing this guy wants to do, after getting the support of his teammates at his press conference, is to publicly humiliate them.

Even though the comments were innocuous, Rodriguez sent someone outside the clubhouse to make sure everyone knew it wasn’t a knock on Damon and Jeter. To his own admission, Rodriguez knows he is not a strong public speaker. You’ll learn that and more in an interview A-Rod gave the YES Network. Michael Kay sat down with the Yankees third baseman in our upcoming Pride, Power, and Pinstripes special which airs Tuesday March 24 after the Yankees take on the Red Sox in Grapefruit League action.

You would think if he is a self admitted bad public speaker, and always catches himself saying the wrong things, he wouldn’t make himself so available to the media constantly and maybe one of his crisis management people tells him to knock off the interviews for a while. Well that advice wasn’t available to him in recent months. Case in point, after Sports Illustrated outed him as one of the names on the list of 104 that tested positive for PED’s in 2003, and before he joined his teammates in Tampa, Rodriguez did an interview and a photo shoot with Details magazine. The pictures were in the New York Post. After seeing them, I’ll take the fifth, and refer to Forrest Gump in saying, “That’s all I have to say about that.”