On behalf of A-Rod, I’m declaring war

And starring Joe Torre as Morris Buttermaker
Friday afternoon shenanigans


I hope the Baseball Schedule Gods take note: Baseball in New York during the first week of April is a Bad Idea. It’s miserable playing baseball in 30-degree weather with snow swirling; it’s miserable watching baseball in 30-degree weather. So try as I might, I just cannot fault the Yankees for the way last night’s game unfolded.

Luis Vizcaino, the only Yankee with a record, said it best. According to Tyler Kepner of The Times, it was too cold for pitchers to grip their breaking balls. And it showed.

So while Steve Lombardi accurately summed up last night’s game, much like Mark McGwire, I’m not here to talk about the past. Instead, let’s see how reporters summed up this game.

As the lovely montage above shows, the New York tabloids seemed fit to lay the blame squarely on Alex Rodriguez‘s much-maligned shoulders. But that wasn’t the worst. Note this excerpt from the AP’s game summary:

Alex Rodriguez had a great opportunity to turn Yankees fans in his favor.

Once again, he flopped….

A-Rod, who is 4-for-41 (.098) without an RBI in his last 12 playoff games dating to 2004, tossed his bat aside in disgust after the popout and muttered to himself as he waited for a teammate to bring out his cap and glove. Often booed at Yankee Stadium for failing to deliver in crucial situations, he heard plenty of catcalls again — even from a crowd diminished by the cold.

Such drama for the second game of the season. A-Rod completely and utterly flopped. And let’s not forget to mention his post-season struggles even though it’s April and the regular season. That’s sound reporting and writing right there.

To this, I say, “Enough!” Enough dumping on Alex Rodriguez; enough laying the blame for every single Yankee loss on his shoulders.

Leverage Index experiments aside, let’s review a few key points that are seemingly glossed over in the articles about last night’s game.

  1. The Yankees gave up two unearned runs last night because Golden Boy Derek Jeter made two more errors to add to his league-leading error total. Those errors were costly. Does he get lambasted? No. Other than a brief mention on the cover of the Daily News and some lip service to playing sloppily, Derek gets off free.
  2. Jorge Posada forgot how to catch the ball.
  3. Melky Cabrera cannot bunt. Period. That was a terrible strategic decision and a terrible bunt. Pinch run for the slow Mientkiewicz if you really want to run.
  4. Derek Jeter – oh, him again – grounded into what should have been the second out of the inning in the 8th. His 20-foot fielder’s choice sure was clutch. Only a bad play by the Devil Rays kept the inning alive for Alex Rodriguez to come to the plate later on.
  5. Bobby Abreu, with the bases loaded and one out, could have done just about anything to get the run in short of what he did. Instead, he takes a mighty hack at a terrible pitch…and grounds it right back to the pitcher. Maybe a squeeze should have been in order there. It would have been more effective. And this, folks, is your Goat of the Game. Not Alex Rodriguez who had to hit with two outs but Bobby Abreu who simply needed to hit a fly ball. Where are the writers criticizing Abreu?
  6. No one at all mentioned the brilliant decision to pinch run for Jason Giambi in the 7th inning of a tie game. So Joe Torre used Miguel Cairo to run halfway from second to third before the inning ended. Instead of Giambi facing Al Reyes in the 9th, the Yanks had to use Josh Phelps, proving yet again that Joe Torre doesn’t know how to use his bench.

So there are six factors that contributed to the loss tonight absent the weather and terrible pitching by the Yanks’ bullpen. But of course, the media just dump on Alex Rodriguez. They dump and dump and dump.

They mention Alex Rodriguez’s game 1 error but not Jeter’s three errors in two games. They mention Alex Rodriguez’s pop up with two outs but not Abreu’s disastrous at-bat. And Newsday and The Post couldn’t even come up with an original headline. Do they sit around their offices wondering how best to dump on A-Rod tonight?

Why do so-called Yankee fans want to see A-Rod fail? Why do his plays get magnified? This guy is the leading slugger in baseball over the last 10 years, and Yankee fans would rather see him play elsewhere. You are the people ruining baseball in New York.


And starring Joe Torre as Morris Buttermaker
Friday afternoon shenanigans
  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

    Ben, you provided readers with more usable information in that post than the Post will over the course of the entire season.

  • http://www.baseballmusings.com David Pinto

    And you didn’t even mention his big hit in the first inning that drove in a run.

  • Rick

    It’s all about selling papers we all know that and right now A-Rod struggles are the hot conmanidy right now. I totally agree this is getting ridiculous.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    All because the guy had the common sense to say “yes” to $252M.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben

    And you didn’t even mention his big hit in the first inning that drove in a run.

    David: That’s an excellent point. How could I forget it? He hit a booming double that in warm weather would probably have cleared the fence. And yet, no one mentions that.

  • http://jeteupthemiddle.blogspot.com Jeteupthemiddle

    The season is 2 games old.

    Alex Rodriguez has already been booed 3 times.


  • b/c

    Just watching the socks, and wow has Okajima got a effortfull delivery. Very over the top. Kind of what caused Mark Melancon surgery.

    Just saying

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  • b/c

    More on the sox who just got shut out by the rangers 2-0.

    Robinson Tejada is really good when hitting his spots.

    The sox just couldn’t drive the fastball today and popped up alot.

    If and D doesn’t shift on Ortiz they are making a big mistake.

    Strangely, Tejada lived off the fastball UP in the zone.

    Wakefield was very lucky and Blalock just missed 2 homers to right by inches.

    Okajima showed alot of effort in his delivery.

    Kyle Snider had a great curve and it made me wonder about using Rasner in the pen after Wang comes back in place of Mike Myers. Rasner is pretty much Snider with a little more control and a much better change.

    The Rangers are better off with Otsuka closing then Gagne.

    You can run in Mirabelli really easily.

    Crisp is a very bad defender and Lowell (yesterday excepted) is very good.

    Lugo looks like a upgrade on D but a downgrade on offence (yes he looked tha bad).

    Small sample size applies to all that but it made me wonder about throwing the fastball to the sox. Ortiz especially was having alot of trouble catching up to 92mph fastballs.

  • Deric

    Right on man! Totally agree with you. That’s why I have always liked A-Rod more then Derek Jeter or anyone else on the Yankees.

  • yankz

    How does giving Jeter the A-rod treatment help anything? You’re actually asking the Daily News to “lambast” Jeter? Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask them not to lambast anyone after two (!) games?

  • NBarnes

    Which is not to say that Rodriguez didn’t help pass his share of winning opportunities by, but you’re 110% right that he had a lot of help.

    Just like in 2004, it was a team effort.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben


    Hyperbole aside, I wouldn’t want the Daily News to blast anyone. Or at least, they should spread the wealth. They just seem to forget that there are 8 other guys in the lineup sometimes.

  • yankz

    I agree that it should be either bash ’em all or bash none. Personally, I prefer the latter.

    That said, this is pretty funny: http://tinyurl.com/yp7dsa

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben

    That is my new favorite website. I’ll post about it over the weekend. Excellent.

  • Rich

    Ooh, that A-Rod sure pitched poorly last night.

  • Marsha

    I agree–enough dumping on A-rod. I plan on showing him a lot of lovin’ at every game I attend.

  • http://www.yanksblog.com Patrick

    I agree that a lot of the media and many fans treat A-Rod unfairly. But, hey, what’s new? They’ve been doing it for a long time and they’ll continue to do it. The moment he signed that contract, he became an easy target. At the end of the day, to you or to me, it doesn’t really matter what they think. I want A-Rod to do well. Very well. Nothing would make me happier than for him to hit the game winning HR in game 7 of the World Series with 2 outs in the 9th. I want him to break the home run record, I want him to retire a Yankee.

    We don’t need to trash others to boost A-Rod, by comparison. We don’t need to swap one sacrificial lamb for another, call Derek Jeter Golden Boy or any of this. I never really like to compare Jeter and A-Rod. Jeter is a Yankee icon, a status that is well earned and well deserved. Yankees fans and others will and should treat him differently because he has earned that.

    A-Rod will not be that. That’s not a slight on A-Rod, it’s just the way it is. But, that doesn’t excuse him being treated unfairly, of course. At the end of the day, we all know why it’s happening and you either like him or you don’t. But, I think it might defeat the purpose to say “hey, don’t criticize this guy – criticize this one!”

    In any case, I agree with your overall point. :) A-Rod is a special player and the fact that some (not all, though) Yankees fans want him out kind of boggles my mind a bit when I sit down and look at the numbers. When you get the best in the game at a position, you say “OK, we’re done here” and move on. You don’t pick him apart.