Monday, November 19, 2007

Stop the hate!!

So I really have laid low during this whole A-Rod situation. I unlike others who post here, didn't want to make snap judgements or knee jerk reactions without seeing how things played out. In this "gotta have it now" world we live in, people often speak or in this case type, without taking a minute to step back and look at a situation from outside the bubble.

Today, I saw more than ever the sheer jealousy around the sports world for Alex Rodriguez. If ever there were a case for a unanimous choice for a regular season M-V-P awarded. It was Alex Rodriguez. For the sake of brevity(not a strong-suit of mine) I will not go through all his statistics for the past season. Two voters, one from Detroit and one from Oakland said Maglio Ordonez was a better choice for M-V-P. The mere thought is laughable. Ordonez was on a team that couldn't even make it to the postseason. So we really need to start asking the question. Why is there all of this hatred towards the best talent the game has seen?? A talent that when all is said and done, will be the greatest the game has ever seen and one that's likely to break every major record. The answer is simple. Its the same answer that truly fuels most of the anti-A-Rod sentiment that spews from this blog. Jealousy.

Lets take a look at all these different things that are thrown out on this blog. There was a question posed today to the effect of "Why does he have all these incentives thrown in on top of his $275,000,000 contract?? Doesn't this fairly compensate him for the revenue he'll bring in to the organization??" Well, if the person writing this entry took the time to read every financial analysts take on the A-Rod contract and what him chasing and breaking the home run record with the most popular franchise in all of sports would mean to said franchise, perhaps he would think different. But I've learned that for some, it's flat-out impossible to look at A-Rod objectively. These people that have rode him from day one that he got into New York lack the capacity to view A-Rod on the baseball surface.

4 seasons for Alex Rodriguez in New York. He's the American Leagues Most Valuable Player for two of those years. Not good enough?? Hmmmmm...... Oh wait, he wasn't even the best Yankee in the 2005 season where he won M-V-P. Some who blog here would like you to believe that. The numbers simply don't support a baseless slap at A-Rod. he led the team in home runs, RBI's and batting average. Oh yeah, he did all that while playing in all 162 regular season games at the hot corner. Oh yeah, that first year at the hot corner was his first. Still, he put up monster numbers while playing a solid third base.

Ahhh, but what about the playoff problems Jason?? Yeah, he wasn't the only high-priced talent on the team that struggled after the game 4 loss to Boston. The whole team did. But A-Rod is an easy target because of the $$$$$ attached to his name. Is that fair?? Only partly. Just because a guy makes less than A-Rod, that doesn't mean he's any less culpable for his struggles in the playoffs and what those struggles mean to his team. In the end, baseball is a team sport. Oh wait..... I believe the same person on this site spewing the A-Rod venom says Rodriguez isn't a good team player. Games played, stolen bases, playing hurt and numerous head first slides debunk that myth quickly.

Maybe it’s coincidence that the Yankees turnaround this season began with the whole “HA” incident. Some who post here decided to whine about "HA" as if he spit in an umpires face or threw at somebodies head on purpose. It’s called gamesmanship. You’d have to have played the game a little bit to understand it. The same way you would yell “ga-nay, ga-nay, ga-nay” and then yell “SWING” just as the pitcher released the ball to an opposing hitter when you were a kid in little league. This was no different. It was never considered bad sportsmanship then, and it’s just another example of going after A-Rod anytime you can.

For a guy that people accused of being uncomfortable around the media, he sure did enough to deflect attention from the other high-priced talent that underperformed over the past 4 seasons. He was the lightning rod(pun intended)for criticism constantly. Whether he did it the way some wanted or not, the fact of the matter is, he sat in front of his locker room every night and took the heat. He NEVER, EVER made excuses. But that wasn’t good enough. Yankee fans set him to a standard that few would be able to live up to.

Now I know what you're thinking..... Here is Jason Page being an A-Rod apologist. All I've done thus far is give the A-Rod facts. Not the tired old rhetoric. Not one headline here that suits my argument while ignoring the other headlines that would be contrary to my point. Just the facts ma'am. I think A-Rod took bad advice from an agent he has entrusted with his career since he was a teenager. That's obviously a fact that was lost on those criticizing his decision to opt out. Then there is this theory that Scott Boras just threw out a "random number" in terms of his $350,000,000contract for A-Rod. Actually, he didn't. He had a very specific report which detailed why his client would generate the money that allowed him to ask for the contract he did. Whether teams bought it, or wanted to break the bank to pay it is another story. But this idea that Boras threw out some random number as was said by a poster here is just idiotic at best. And it again shows an unwillingness to look at the facts.


dasnootz said...

Was that Jason Page or Chris Strokes, writer/director of "You Got Served"?

Who's got the hair product, who's got the dance moves?

joe said...

Amen Jason. For a while there I thought I was taking crazy pills...thank you for bringing levity to the conversation.

Michael in New York said...

Huzzah! Jason's first post. Thanks for taking the time and finally getting Joe's back, who has been awfully lonely on this hate-mongering site. I'd like to just say welcome and leave it at that.... But I can't.

1. The rush to judgment of a blog -- I wasn't rushing to judgment, I was trying to mobilize people to take action and prevent a deal I believed would leave the Yankees weaker long term. As for a blog sounding off right away, uh, that's what a blog is for. I believe that's also what your daily radio shows are fo? Do you go on the air and say you're going to hold comment for a few weeks about A-Rod? Didn't think so.

2. A-Rod MVP award -- As Jason points out, I didn't think A-Rod was even the MVP of the Yankees, much less the entire AL in 2005. However, this year I do believe he absolutely earned it A-Rod had one of the best regular seasons of all time. And yes, it does matter more when your team is fighting to get to the post-season as opposed to Maglio. A-Rod should have been unanimous. Sports writers can be as dumb and biased as bloggers (and radio talk show hosts) i guess.

3. I am jealous of A-Rod -- Huh? I feel SORRY for A-Rod. This is a man with darn near everything in the world and he doesn't seem to enjoy it. He seems awkward, unhappy and ill-fitted while trying to get along with everyone. I hear it every single day in his comments to the media, interactions with other players. When they tease him about the shoulder stretching movement he makes when getting a hit and reaching first, A-Rod's attempts to be "one of the guys" always rings false. It was nice to see Melky and Cano loosen him up when they could, be he def needed the attention, not those two. I honestly believe A-Rod would have been happier elsewhere next season and was sorry even for his sake that he didn't go.

4. The incentives on top of the $275 mil salary -- I have railed against ALL incentives for ALL players repeatedly and without fail. I don't think Torre should have had incentives for winning 95 as opposed to 90 games and so on -- that sort of thing is distorting and when you're already making millions, it's absurd. An incentive of millions for Schilling to STAY IN SHAPE? Ridiculous. It is not an excuse to bash A-Rod; it is my consistent and firm belief that incentives are absurd. In this case, the incentive is clearly illegal and they're going to play games to make it legal, but that's another story. My point that a player would craft the biggest contract in sports history of $275 mil and then someone would say, oh wait, what about the money he'll br bringing in for the home run chase? We've got to add that in some where seems a tad ridiculous. I also think it's ridiculous that Jeter had a $189 mil contract and then adds in incentives for being World Series MVP, winning a Gold Glove. etc. How is this principled stand A-Rod bashing? I think incentives are okay for a player who hasn't reached free agency or signed a multi-year contract a la David Wright since it allows the team to give more money to an important cog on the team who might be making only hundreds of thousands or whatever. To be con't.

Michael in New York said...


5. I rode A-Rod from day one since he arrived in NYC. I wish! No, no. In fact, I supported the deal though it made me a little nervous. I was glad George S was actually spending big bucks on a player in his prime rather than for an aging, over the hill veteran a la Randy Johnson whose best years were behind him. I have cheered A-Rod every time he came to the plate, yelled at anyone stupid enough to boo him, agonized over his awful third season (at third base, not at the plate) and been relieved whenever he did well. It was ONLY in his fourth season when I saw A-Rod at his absolute best that I finally said, gee, I hope he opts out. And since I did that when he was on top of the world rather than struggling, at least you can respect my not piling on when he was down.

6. I lack the capacity to view A-Rod on the baseball surface -- actually, that's exactly what I don't want to do. A-Rod is a brilliant fantasy league player. His stats are always impressive even at his lowest point. I've tried to look at the team holistically. If you'd ever bothered to play a team sport (and I assume you have) than surely you know how important chemistry is -- oh boo-hoo, I'm talking about "intangibles" because his stats are "too good" to refute. But there you are. It's been pointed out ad nauseum that the dynasty of the 90s had no big bat, and players derided as journeymen. That made me proud.

7. Post-season A-Rod -- he will surely get hot in the post-season again just as he was in the past. I AGONIZED when he failed to play well this post-season yet again. (I didn't agonize as much over Jeter because I'd seen him accomplish so much in the post-season in the past of course and knew he would again --and knew it didn't matter as much. When you are in a terrible post-season slump, every at bat gets magnified.) I could sense the crowd grumbling and just moments away from booing -- despite his impeccable, brilliant regular season -- and it made me feel bad for him and nervous about the team. Booing would have been beyond idiotic.

8. The HA! incident -- no, that is not example of gamesmanship. it's bush-league and everyone on the Yankees and in baseball thinks so. If it's "tradition" and just part of the game, why does virtually no one else in baseball agree with you? Chanting from the dugout is in fact part of the game; what A-Rod did is not. You can have a contrary opinon; just don't try to pretend it's acceptd wisdom.

9. A-Rod as lightning rod -- It's a good argument. A-Rod took all the heat for eveyone else's awful performances. No one would plan or want that -- I'd rather everyone settle for sharing the glory rather than heaping blame on one guy. But I'll accept that as a bonus of having him around.

10. A-Rod took bad advice from an agent -- I disagree strongly, except for the World Series incident, which was shameless grandstanding. (By the way, how about some props to me -- when it happened, I exploded with anger over it and jason said I was wildly overreacting to a non-incident that no one else would care about like I did and I did just cause I "hated" A-Rod. In fact, I was very right that it was a shocking, insanely bad move that damaged his image and angered virtually everyone in baseball EXCEPT Jason. HA!) But how did Boras steer him wrong? he told A-Rod to opt out and that the Yankees would negotiate and he would get a huge, record-setting package. 10 years at $300 mil is damn close to 12 years at $350 mil. And the Yankees bid against themselves, raising their own last highest offer. Everything Boras predicted came true with only the WS stunt to regret.

11. That "random number" -- This is not in reference to A-Rod's value as a player. This is in reference to the claim that the Yankees got A-Rod "at a discount" from what they would have paid. The Yankees made two "demands" once they went back on their word and agreed to negotiate with an opt-outed A-Rod. ONe, no Boras at the table. They caved on that. Two, they had to get a $21 mil discount from their previous offer. They caved on that. Their previous final offer they were prepared to make was $290 mil. They're now giving him reportedly $300 mil. The only reported offer A-Rod had (and this is very sketchy) was $225 mil, which means the Yankees paid $75 mil MORE than the next highest bid from someone else. There ain't no discount. I repeatedly denounced those who claimed Boras threw out a ridiculous number because in fact the final deal is indeed right in line with what Boras initially threw out to the Yankees (though he denies this.) I merely said that claiming they had a discount because it was lower than the first number mentioned by a negotiator who is representing a client is silly.

12. A-Rod is overpaid -- Absolutely not. Baseball brings in billions of dollars. I'd rather see the players get big chunks of that rather than just go to the owners. Though frankly, with the massively increased earnings, it would be nice to see everyone contribute a slice off the top to retirement programs for major leaguers (most of whom never see a pay day), minor leaguers who put in, say eight years, medical needs for former pros and so on. But anyway, A-Rod is not overpaid in the least. He deserves to get every penny he can from negotiations, just as Jeter deserved his massive payday of $189 million and every other player deserves it, just as Tom Hanks deserves $50 mil for movies that gross $500 mil and so on. I have zero problem with A-Rod's pay day. I'm just sorry that the Yankees are the ones paying it. I hate when the Yankees have by far the biggest payroll; it cheapens our accomplishments. I believe the team would have been stronger without him for many reasons you know, I believe A-Rod would have been happier somewhere else and frankly can't believe he chose to come back to a town where yahoos boo him all the time and he will always be second fiddle to jeter etc. And I believe this is an indication that Hank and Hal are returning us to the miserable days of George in his prime in the 70s, 80s, early 90s, and 2000s when he blustered and yelled and made tons of noise and big stupid deals and led our team to loss after loss after loss. George's overall record is one of a n almost unmitigated disaster on the field. I believe Hank and Hal are prepared to do the same. After Swindall and Cashman seemed to be returning us to sanity, it's a very very bitter pill to swallow and A-Rod's deal for many reasons seems to symbolize that for me.

I will however continue to root for the Yankees and cheer A-Rod every time he comes to the plate and hope he settles down, gets some post-season mojo and can be a positive part of the team. It's certainly very very possible. Nothing would make me happier than winning the World Series with ARod playing a key role and you saying, "See? I told you so!" But long term, Hank and Hal are going to prove just as dumb as their dad.

Brucie G said...

I'm gonna keep it simple that I don't like Arod as a person and it's his correlation (not causation) with not being clutch that (unjustly) pisses me off. However, the reason for this being jealousy seems flimsy at best. I am jealous of every pro baseball player (Jeter the most) and I love a lot of them! If you want to psycho-analyze it to really figure out the motive, I'd really like to know what it is.

Michael in New York said...

Brucie, you're so reasonable! Stop it. But you've got a point. Sure, I'm "jealous" of A-Rod and Jeter and all these guys who get to play baseball for a living -- what a life. But since I never played it growing up and at most dreamed of playing Wimbledon, it's not a serious jealousy and certainly doesn't make me bitter towards A-Rod or anyone else. If I'm bitter about anyone, it's people like Charlie Rose or James Lipton of Inside The Actors' Studio who do my job a lot less well for a lot more money (he said, modestly).