Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Winner! And A Second Chance!

We have a winner. Joseph Verrillo won the Yankeeography DVD Mega-Set with the correct answer that began with the trade of Babe Ruth, went to the Broadway musical No No Nanette, went from there to the show's hit song "Tea For Two," went from there to jazz singer Anita O'Day, went from there to the classic concert film Jazz on a Summer's Day and went from there to her other brillian performance that day, of "Sweet Georgia Brown." A copy of the Yankeeography DVD Mega-Set is headed his way courtesy of A&E and pr firm Foundtry Communications. It's a 12 DVD set with dozens of Yankeeography episodes profiling everyone from Babe Ruth and Yogi Berra to Deek Jeter, along with bonus interview footage never before seen and other bonus features.

But don't despair. A&E is providing a SECOND boxed set to be put up for grabs. I'll post a new trivia question on Thursday Dec 6 at 2 p.m., to give people on the West Coast a chance to wake up and get ready. Same rules, with two people ineligible: me and Joe, because he just won his set. Congratulations and good luck!

The Yankee Trivia Question!

Boy, was this hard. Google and Wikipedia make the most obscure baseball questions easy to answer in about two seconds. Just google or wikipedia the player's name and you've got your answer, whether it's the three pitchers Reggie homered off in the World Series, who made the last out in the game that Bucky Dent homered off Boston, etc. etc. So I've gone pop culture on you.

Everyone knows that the Yankees got Babe Ruth from Boston because the Boston owner wanted to fund his Broadway musical No, No Nanette. Actually, everyone knows that ISN'T true since that show didn't hit Broadway until 1925, five years after Ruth was traded in 1920.

The big hit from the show was the standard "Tea For Two," a song given a swinging jazz version by the great Anita O'Day in one of my favorite concert films of all time. What is the name of that film and what is the OTHER jazz standard that she swung so terrifically in that movie? Sorry this isn't strictly baseball related but I wanted to make it just a little more difficult than just a question of speed.

Good luck and the first person to post the correct answer as determined by me wins the prize.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Will The Yankees Trade Melky/Cano and A Pitcher For Santana?

OK, you saw me go hyper over the A-Rod deal. But now the Yankees are gunning for Santana. And the deal they're going to offer will hurt the Yankees a lot more long-term than re-signing A-Rod (which was annoying and bad for "chemistry" but every team can use one whack job and A-Rod is our whack-job so leave him alone). Trade Melky and a pitcher? Trade Cano and a pitcher (one of the three untouchables: Joba, Kennedy or Hughes)? What's the point of trading the core of our future team for one pitcher? Then you have to overpay to fill their roles with lesser talent who haven't proved themselves in NYC the way the C+C boys have, Joba has and Hughes (sort of) has. To me, it's idiocy and unthinkable. Therefore Hank will do it. Are you for or against such a deal? How damaging will it be long-term? Can it be stopped?

Yankeeogaphy Giveaway: The Details

The first annual Five O'Clock Lightning Yankeeography giveaway will take place...Wednesday at noon. I will post a question. The first person to correctly post the answer will win a Yankeeography DVD Megaset. Woohoo! I wil be the sole judge and arbiter. Good luck!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Coming Next Week: The First Give-Away

Next week I'll pose a trivia guestion and the first person to post an answer will win...a free copy of the Yankeeography Mega-Set from A&E Home Entertainment. This 12 DVD set contains dozens of Yankeeography episodes featuring everyone from Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter. It will be shipped free to your home courtesy of A&E and their publicity firm. (Tell me more, Michael!). On Monday, I will post the date and time I'll put the trivia question live. Then the first person to respond correctly wins the set! Perfect for a holiday gift or better yet perfect to keep! Happy Thanksgiving and check in on Monday for the date and time for our first trivia give-away!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Where Should Joba Go?

In the Mo story below, Hank says that with Rivera coming back, it "would be crazy" to have Joba in the bullpen. So where does Joba belong: starting or in the bullpen playing the Mo role of '96 and getting the ball to Wetteland. I agree with my friend Noam, who says that in this day and age, the set-up man is more important than ever. Even your ace isn't expected to give you more than six innings If they do, that's a great story (get through seven innings and it's cause for celebration.) Many, many pitchers don't get out of the fifth. That is standard issue today. The best staff still needs a bridge to get to your close, making middle relief just as vital to getting a win as a starter or a closer. Joba was electric in middle relief, he clearly fed off the crowd and was open to the idea. He could be a kep player in getting us wins two or three games a week, rather than just one. If we get through the sixth inning, it would be LIGHTS OUT. That was a HUGE genuine and psychological advantage for the team. I say Joba in the bullpen makes Andy and Wang and Hughes and Kennedy all the more formidable. He makes everyone's job easier. If he starts, we're still going to need people to get us to the ninth -- even if he pitches great. I say an ace middle reliever is JUST as valuable as an ace starter and ace closer. And with starting pitching rarely getting out of the sixth, an ace middle reliever is crucial. Joba in the bullpen. What say you?

Mo Of Course Takes Three Year Deal

Suzanne of Foundry Comm had to tell me about this deal for three years and $45 mil -- I was traveling and missed the deal closing on Monday. I hope Mo got some satisfaction out of making them sweat. They were stupid not to extend his contract one year at the beginning of the season when he offered (ALWAYS take a one year extension for a core player -- long term, it will also pay of financially). And Hank was stupid to run down Mo for being so old after he performed great and we were trying to resign him. Now someone call Pettitte.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A-Rod The MVP

Jason is right: A-Rod was robbed. He had one of the greatest regular seasons in baseball history and he did it for a team that was scratching and clawing its way to the post-season. It should have been unanimous when A-Rod was named MVP. Agree?

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.

Because $275 Million Just Isn't Enough

Will A-Rod be a unanimous choice when he wins the AL MVP award today? He'll be the first Yankee since Mickey Mantle to do so. But apparently he won't get re-signed today because they want to reward A-Rod for breaking the home run record but it's against the rules to give players bonuses for hitting milestones so they have to figure out a way to pretend that's NOT what they're doing. (Just like Jeter pretends to live most of the year in Tampa.)

But putting aside my feelings about the deal in general and my blanket condemnation of incentives since I think it's crazy to pay a player tens of millions of dollars and then add on "incentives" to stay in shape, get lots of hits, win a Gold Glove, etc -- yes, putting aside all of that, isn't there something insane in the fact that he's getting $275 MILLION DOLLARS but they've somehow got to figure out a way to GIVE HIM MORE MONEY so he can "benefit" from the windfall of his home run chase. What the heck do you call A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS? I would have thought that was pretty good compensation for ALL the revenue you created. Am I crazy to think it's a little absurd to suggest that the $275 million contract DOESN'T reflect fair compensation for everything A-Rod brings to the table?

Friday, November 16, 2007

A-Rod Will Be Booed On Opening Day

I don't like the idea, but I just feel in my bones it will happen. And he will certainly be booed the first time he hits a slump and the intense, distorting focus on his individual performance will get really crazy. It's going to be an exhausting ten years.

Boras Is At The Table; Yankees Overpaid by $75 million

According to the NY Post, Boras has been negotiating for A-Rod. That's right, the one big "demand" by Hank and Hal -- no Boras! -- has also fallen apart. Anything else would be against MLB rules so it's no surprise. They're also reporting that the only firm offer A-Rod had was eight years at $225 million. So if A-Rod was going to come back to the Yankees at a "discount," the bidding starts at 8 years and $200 mil and heads DOWN from there. Boras has done his job well (except for the World Series fiasco). Everything he told A-Rod came true and they got everything they wanted from the team they wanted at the price they wanted. And they scored $75 mil over the next highest offer. If I were A-Rod, I'd be buying him champagne right about now. It all comes down Monday when they announce A-Rod and he gets his MVP Award.

That Massive A-Rod Discount

If Scott Boras had thrown out the figure of $500 million, would everyone be saying that A-Rd was coming to the Yankees at a "discount" of $200 million? For heaven's sake, the number of $350 mil that Boras tossed out was just that: a random number. It's what good negotiators do, throw out a ridiculously high number and then "compromise." A-Rod's $300 mil is higher than the highest offer the Yankees had previously prepared and is $300 mil higher than any offer made by any other team. Don't get suckered by Boras's fancy into thinking $350 mil was any sort of starting point for anything. Besides, they're damn close to that number, aren't they, so it wasn't that outrageous.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bonds Indicted On Perjury

Finally, some good baseball news. The chickens come home to roost for Barry Bonds.

By the way, kids, the ONLY reason Jason Giambi 'fessed up in the grand jury was because he wanted to avoid this same front page photo of himself with that headline. Giambi was CAUGHT and he didn't want to go to jail for perjuring himself the way Bonds might. Giambi wasn't noble or forthcoming or honest or a stand-up guy. He cheated for months and probably years and he got caught red-handed and he listened to his lawyer's advice and did the minimum he had to in order to stay out of jail. And not one bit more.

There's No Discount and the Yankees Folded

Several lies -- or at best several gross misperceptions -- are growing around A-Rod's contract. The lies:

1. A-Rod is coming back at a "discount" -- In no way, shape or form is A-Rod "leaving money on the table" or offering a discount to the Yankees. He is reportedly signing a $300 million package that is the largest such deal in sports history. This deal is $10 million BIGGER than the absolute final, final offer the Yankees had planned to offer of $290 million when they still hoped to talk with A-Rod before he opted out. This is not $21 million "lower" than anything.

2. The Yankees called A-Rod's bluff -- I don't know how this could even get started. A-Rod opted out. The Yankees insisted till they were blue in the face that if A-Rod opted out they would NOT negotiate with him. When he opted out, they repeatedly and angrily said it was over, goodbye, sayonara. Re-open talks? No way. Then they began to negotiate. A-Rod had to say he wanted to be a Yankee? Big deal? That's the sort of nonsense the Steinbrenners love to "demand." I'd say I want to be a little green Martian if you paid me $300 million.

3. Scott Boras looks like a fool -- In what universe? He told his client they would get a recod-setting deal. They got it. Boras told the world he was looking for $350 million, which everyone said was completely insane. A-Rod is getting $300 million, which is by far the biggest ever. The typical average salary for the biggest mega-deal players since A-Rod's last blockbuster is closer to $20 mil. A-Rod will be getting $30 mil. And Boras has indeed been involved in ironing out these details. (The home run incentives smack of his idiocy completely.) It would be illegal of the Yankees to try and block Boras. If he sat in another room or whatever, so what? Everything Boras told his client came true.

4. The Yankees played hardball -- Ha! The Yankees bid against themselves even AFTER no other team began to come even close to making an aggressive move on A-Rod. They look just as stupid as the Texas Rangers did when they outbid the next highest offer by, what, $80 mil? $100 mil? (I forget right now.) The Yankees even outbid their OWN highest offer and even after insisting they HAD to get a $21 mil "discount." Someone tell me where the discount is. Did someone offer A-Rod $321 mil? Cause that's the only way it's true. Even if you think it's great A-Rod came back, the Yankees wildly overpaid and have only themselves to blame. They could have patiently waited to see what other offers -- if any -- came his way. There isn't a chance in hell that someone would have gotten them in a bidding war and they would have ended up paying MORE than the biggest package in history.

Another Fan Speaks

Noam wrote: The heavens are crying today because of the A-Rod news. On the bright side, he'll get substantially more money if he breaks the home run record. Because that's what we have to look forward to: a decade of miserable, brand name (mediocre) baseball during which we watch A-Rod's inexorable march towards individual accomplishment.

I kid you not, if Jeter, Posada, River and Pettite all decided to orchestrate a mass exodus and join the Mets or Torre out in LA, I would root for that team.

Michael's Last Stand

A-Rod at third...and possibly Lowell at first? While this is the exact scenario I dreamed up a month ago, something tells me that the combination of A-Rod returning, Andy Phillips being displaced by a free agent signing (even though he was drafted by the Yanks -- that's gotta count for something!), and thus Giambi assuming the full time DH role would be enough to send Michael into Mets fandom.

What say you?

People Are Calling!

Call the Yankees at 718-293-4300 and say you want to leave a message. "About A-Rod?" Yep. "Hold on, please" and they send you right to a voice mail for that purpose. I pity the employee who probably can't answer his phone all day. Say the calls are 50-50. Why would you want to sign a player -- much less give that player the biggest salary package in the history of all sports -- when HALF OF YOUR FANS ARE SO VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED TO HIM THAT THEY TAKE THE TIME TO CALL YOU AND VOICE THEIR CONCERN? Seriously, why would you want to alienate half your fans? The other half doesn't EXPECT you to re-sign him, the polls show not bringing him back is wildly popular and NO OTHER TEAM IN BASEBALL HAS EVEN MADE HIM AN OFFER BECAUSE HE'S SO POISONOUS. Seriously, why not sign Barry Bonds? Why sign a player a huge chunk of your fans are adamantly opposed to? It's just bad business.

A-Rod's Deal: More Stupid, Damaging, Dangerous, Self-Glorifying Incentives

This is EXACTLY why I hate incentives. A-Rod's deal reportedly will be worth up to $300 million once you add in the incentives A-Rod will get for passing Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and ultimately Barry Bonds on the all-time home run list. Did you catch that? A-Rod will have millions dangling in front of him, encouraging him and telling him that the Yankees want him to hit home runs and achieve personal milestones. Never mind that to win games you need walks and singles and doubles and sacrifice flies to score a run or an out that moves a runner over. No, Hank and Hal are telling A-Rod: swing for the fences. How many ways is that a terrible, terrible idea? It puts focus on one player and their personal achievements instead of the only goal that should matter: winning games and winning the World Series. it puts focus on the WRONG way of playing baseball, the way that has NOT been the Yankees' M.O. for decades and certainly not the type of baseball Girardi will be trying to instill in his players. It turns a ball game into a circus. I like it when a personal milestone is achieved and they flash a message on the scoreboard and everyone applauds. Then we get back to what matters: the game at hand. I do NOT go to baseball games to watch anyone hit a home run. Would I rather see A-Rod achieve a personal milestone or watch the Yankees win a game? Do you have to ask? This goes against EVERYTHING the Yankees should be doing.

By the way, the deal is now $300 million. Who said Boras was "crazy" when he talked about $350 million? This is damn close and Boras doesn't even have to bother showing up.

It's Raining Today

I blame A-Rod.

One Missile Already Launched

Here's the first email sent to the Yankees (and bonus points for saying "sloughing," Bruce):

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Bruce and I am a lifetime New Yorker and Yankee fan. I currently split season tickets in Section 39 (the right field bleachers). I am sending this missive for a single purpose: To beg you to not re-sign A-Rod. All of my reasons have been said before and there is no reason to reiterate them. All you need to know is that if you do this blatantly harmful act, then you will have not yet lost a fan, but will certainly accelerate the sloughing of my fanhood. This will ultimately leave you with one less fan and about two thousand dollars less a season.



Contact The Yankees

Call them at 718-293-4300 or email them via this link. Keep it short and sweet. Tell them you're a Yankee fan. If you have a season ticket account number, share that. Tell them where you usually sit or how long you've been a fan and say simply, "Please don't sign A-Rod." At least you can say you tried.

He's A Pain In The Ass

The guy can't just sign an extension. No, he has to opt out during the World Series, hem and haw more often than Hamlet, agonize, ponder, deliberate and in the end sucks up so much oxygen that no one else can breathe for days. My God, he's SUCH A DISTRACTION. It never ends with him. Four years and it just continues. Ten more years of this? My heart can't take it. Enough already. I don't like telenovelas and he's a living breathing one that will never be cancelled until he retires. And it's not possible but he thinks we're going to LIKE him because he signed the biggest deal in sports history and somehow expects us to think this is a "discount."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Return Of The Seventies

That's the heart of my despair today: not the re-signing of A-Rod per se. But the sinking feeling that just as the Yankees looked set to move beyond the George Steinbrenner era and embrace the mentality and baseball smarts and solid position players that had given us a dynasty in the Nineties, just as that looked like coming to fruition we had a divorce, an illness and now suddenly Hank and Hal are in charge and look set to make the first of many irrational, blustering comments full of anger and firm unwavering resolve that is complete ignored the next day (and don't you dare point that out!) and the desire to spend the most money on the biggest names out there. It's the return of the Seventies and Eighties when the Yankees almost never won and the owners behaved like such complete dicks it made it hard to be a fan. These guys are stupid enough to trade away people that have succeeded in New York, future stars like Melky and Cano and one or two of their supremely promising pitchers all for the pleasure of spending gazillions of dollars on Johan Santana. Who in their right mind would want to trade Melky and Cano, the C and C boys, when they've proven themselves New York ready and given the fans new homegrown talent we can watch grow and cheer for years to come? Hank and Hal, that's who. Their behavior is erratic and stupid and they are NOT building a great team. They are building up their egos and the Yankees are going to suffer, just as they did under George.

This Time, It's Personal

Joe said: Michael, I know you are saying this ARod vendetta is not personal -- but are you sure?

ARod is so incredibly talented that I find it hard to believe anyone would think the Yankees are better off without him from a pure win/loss standpoint. But let's say for a second that you believe you really think ARod is so terrible that he makes the team worse? If the answer is yes, then I ask what that belief could possibly be based on. Because I don't think there is enough evidence that would allow anyone to say with any degree of certainty that the Yanks are better off without him. And if they are worse off -- how much worse could they be? Worse off than if they had a better 1B? Better LF? Etc. etc.

The bottom line is you just wrote a couple of thousand words on how incredibly distasteful the idea of ARod coming back is...seems a bit much unless this is...personal?

Michael replied (without pausing for breath): It's personal NOW in the sense that I held my breath for four years, tried to make the best of it for the sake of the team (just like I do with the cheater Jason Giambi), I had promised myself I would wipe the slate clean and give A-Rod the benefit of the doubt if he didn't opt out and got an extension (hey, we'd be stuck with each other so what choice would I have) but then he was GONE and I was really, really relieved because I WANT THE YANKEES TO WIN and I think we can do a better job without him. I'm thrilled we got rid of Soriano and he's had terrific numbers. I'm thrilled Gary Sheffield (the cheater) is gone and he had a great bat. I want a team I can root for, a team I can like, preferably a team that does NOT have a grotesquely inflated payroll because that takes the fun out of winning and we were working towards that thanks to the departure of Clemens and A-Rod and others. Of course, I believe the team would do better without him.

I've thought the entire direction of the team since 2001 has been disastrous and gone far away from the philosophy that got us a dynasty. Then George got ill, Cashman and Swindal got more control, payroll was actually reduced, our farm system started to improve, we didn't keep throwing away the future on aging veterans, our new philosophy was like the old philosophy...and then Swindal cheated on his wife, george got so ill that Hank and Hal stepped in and they started behaving just like their boorish dad and the nightmarish years of the 70s and 80s when the Yankees rarely won and behaved like complete jerks and made it hard for even fans to like them returned in full force and in about six weeks I've seen the dream of intelligence and long-term planning and graciousness been trashed completely and the big swaggering assholes of Hank and Hal taking over completely and booting Joe out the door gracelessly (even just HOW it was done, not the fact that it was).

For many, many people, the Yankees have been a hateful team throughout the ages. Who could blame them in the Seventies and Eighties? I missed that entire miserable era because George Steinbrenner broke the law and was banned from baseball for about three years and in that tiny, tiny window Gene Michaels and Buck Showalter managed to put together the makings of a dynasty and we reaped the rewards for most of the 90s with a team of decent, hard-working position players who never embarrassed you off the field, played great on the field, were mocked by other managers as not containing a single Hall of Famer among them (ha! who the hell cares?) and won four World Series. America LOVED the Yankees the way they hadn't been loved since the 50s and 60s and you could be proud to be a fan.

George destroyed that legacy in the Seventies and Eighties and failed to win while doing it. Now his sons are taking over and this deal is indicative of their boorish, idiotic, changeable, mercurial, obnoxious behavior and it frightens me because this is the first of many obnoxious manuevers they're going to make. I don't want to have to think about the owners -- I want to think about the players. These schmucks think spending the most money for the biggest names available is how you buy rings. It can work, sometimes, for a season. But most of the time it fails miserably. This deal is the beginning of a pattern.

I am most angry at Hank and Hal for returning to the bad old days. But A-Rod could not have behaved more dishonorably, more pettily, more dishonestly than he did by lying repeatedly and opting out so he could get the most money from somewhere, anywhere even if it was the Yankees and by lying about the reasons and making the entire baseball community angry at his behavior during the World Series and after. He has behaved like a complete and utter boor. I have mocked his awkwardness in interviews but I have never criticized his personal life or personal dealings. He doesn't do drugs. He doesn't use steroids. I don't care about his marriage. He's very talented. (This year, for the first time, I thought the greatest player in baseball history was in fact the MVP for the Yankees. The other three years? Not so much.)

But he has behaved like a complete dick these last three weeks and yes, I am angry that just as he showed himself to be callow, self-serving, two-faced and money hungry (if he really wanted to stay a yankee, he would not have opted out) and walked out the door and I could exhale he's walked back in again. A-Rod's behavior in the last few weeks was like seeing the villain at the end of the film removing his mask and proving he was the complete bastard you always secretly feared he might be. A-Rod could NOT have behaved more prickishly.

Calling him classy and humble is absurd. Let's not forget his diss of that Hank Aaron award -- an award he lied and said he couldn't receive because reporters would ask him all sorts of questions and he didn't want to be a distraction -- right before releasing his opt-out news in the middle of the final game of the World Series. But no, it's not personal. That is, it wasn't personal before and he's been a complete ass now, but if I thought we were better with him I'd still want him. You know all the reason people give for saying he can be a hindrance to the team. I don't need to repeat them. He did NOT "win" us six games. No single player ever does. Not Jeter, not Pettitte, not Mo, not A-Rod. You can't hit the game winning walk off three run blast if other people don't get on base. NO ONE has ever won a single game on their own, not even a pitcher throwing a perfect game because that takes a catcher and players making great plays in the field.

Coming up with the imaginary figure that A-Rod "won" six more games for us that we would have otherwise lost shows a fundamental lack of understanding about team sports and baseball in particular. It's NOT POSSIBLE for one player to be credited with such a claim. In the same way, A-Rod's exceptional regular season did indeed contribute to EVERY win the Yankees did achieve. You win or lose AS A TEAM. Period. And I type fast. No matter how much I've written about A-Rod today, I've written twice as much about High School Musical 2 yesterday.


That's the first year I can look forward to the end of the -- god help us -- A-Rod era. Ten years. I might just boo him for the first and only time on Opening Day, just to get the anger and bitterness out of my system, just to make clear to him: You came back with your eyes open, you knew how the fans treated you, you knew how the players treated you, you knew how the media treated you and yet you came back for more because the Yankees offered you the biggest sports deal in history and you'd rather have more money than be happy, you'd rather have more money than be reunited with Lou Pinella, you'd rather have more money than show a little self-respect and say, 'You know what? I don't need this.' Maybe you LIKE this. Maybe you're masochistic. But I'm not. I'll bet dollars to donuts the fans boo you on Opening Day just to say, "You wanted it? You got it. Now just get a hit every single at bat and never make an error and you can rest easy."

For The Love Of God, Take Some Responsibility!

A-Rod hides behind his wife in public statement:
"After spending time with Cynthia and my family over these last few weeks, it became clear to me that I needed to make an attempt to engage the Yankees regarding my future with the organization.

"Prior to entering into serious negotiations with other clubs, I wanted the opportunity to share my thoughts directly with Yankees' ownership. We know there are other opportunities for us, but Cynthia and I have a foundation with the club that has brought us comfort, stability and happiness.

"As a result, I reached out to the Yankees through mutual friends and conveyed that message. I also understand that I had to respond to certain Yankees concerns, and I was receptive and understanding of that situation.

"Cynthia and I have since spoken directly with the Steinbrenner family. During these healthy discussions, both sides were able to share honest feelings and hopes with one another, and we expect to continue this dialogue with the Yankees over the next few days," he said.
Why in God's name does he keep talking about his wife as if she's his co-negotiator? Because he refuses to shoulder responsibility himself. "Cynthia and I have a foundation with the club?" That would be the same club she wore a t-shirt to that said "Fuck You"? "Cynthia and I have spoken directly with the Steinbrenner family?" "Dialogue?" Why does he keep bringing her up beyond the pro forma "after heartfelt discussions with my wife about what's best for our children" comment? It's pathological.

The Poisonous Clubhouse

I'm sure Posada and Mo and Pettitte were delighted when A-Rod used THEIR contract negotiations with the Yankees as his lying, half-assed reason for opting out. I'm sure A-Rod was thrilled when Jeter said at Joe Torre's charity dinner that you can't replace A-Rod's numbers but that the Yankees had won the World Series repeatedly without those numbers and they'd be fine. I can just see A-Rod walking into the clubhouse offering a cheery "Hey guys!" and being stunned when he's greeted with cold indifference. I hope that's not the case, but how could it not be?


Why would you give the BIGGEST SPORTS DEAL IN HISTORY to a player who dissed you and the game, a player that every poll demonstrates the New York fans are THRILLED is gone, a player most if not all of your own players are thrilled is gone, a player that a new ESPN poll shows that -- despite obvious Hall of Fame stats -- that the vast majority of baseball fans don't want on their team either at any price, a player that no team has made an offer to, a player that poisons the atmosphere of every team he plays at and serves as an unending source of distraction, misery and woe? It upsets most fans, most players, your captain, is bad for the bottom line and arguably bad for the team's chances of winning. Maybe you don't agree with that argument but it can be made and you're gambling $270 million that history will be proven wrong. Why?

I Want To WIN! Period.

I won't hire cheats like Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi or anyone else I strongly suspect or know has cheated. But aside from that, I don't care about someone's character or personal qualities. It's not my concern. I just want to WIN. Do you really think I would screw over the Yankees just to "get back" at A-Rod, a player I feel sorry for? Hell no. I want to WIN and I strongly and firmly believe that the combination of high salary and on-field performance and clubhouse chemsitry means that our team is WEAKER with A-Rod than without. You can say I'm wrong but don't claim it's personal or I've got a grudge or would chop off my nose to spite my face. If I truly thought A-Rod would make us stronger, I would be celebrating today. We can win with A-Rod, but we'd have a better shot without him.

A-Rod Has Behaved Like A Punk

I have bitten my lip for four years, tried to hope for the best, cheered on A-Rod every time he came to the plate, groaned with him whenever he failed to come through or showed poor defense (like season two), got annoyed with fans who booed him (are they morons?), and was relieved when he played well. That's all you ever are with A-Rod: relieved when he plays well and worried when he doesn't; relaxing and enjoying the game has never been on the agenda.

But now Joe says A-Rod has behaved with class and humility. Please. A-Rod showed his true colors this post-season and behaved like a complete and total punk, making Yankees and baseball in general look like fools in the process.

1. A-Rod insisted all season long he wanted to be a Yankee for life.
2. A-Rod refused to answer phone calls from Cashman and Hank Steinbrenner.
3. A-Rod refused to answer any emails.
4. A-Rod refused to meet with the Yankees unless the numbers they were proposing BEGAN at $350 mil (something Boras has denied, but since he's mentioned $300 mil repeatedly, why wouldn't the Yankees pay a premium?).
4. B -- A-Rod dissed Hank Aaron and showed disdain for the sport and Aaron's legacy and race and again gave a specious claim that he couldn't accept the award because reporters would ask him questions about whether he would opt out and it would be a distraction.
5. Then A-Rod then opted out IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FINAL GAME OF THE WORLD SERIES, in a move calculated to get himself the maximum attention possible and announce to the world he was free of the Yankees. To his shock, this punk ass move backfired. he was pilloried by virtually every sports writer in the country (except our Jason, who poo-pooed my rage the night it happened.) It distracted from baseball's biggest momemt. It took away from a cancer survivor who was pitching the winning game. It took away from the Boston Red Sox, our hated but respected rivals, who have turned their team from a curse to a potential dynasty. If anyone, ANYONE had dared to make an announcement during the World Series, not to mention the final game when the Yankees were playing, we'd be screaming blue murder. If Bonds had announced his retirement or going with another team or Santana had re-upped or Giambi admitted to the public what he said in court -- that he'd used illegal drugs to cheat -- we would have been outraged and rightly so. This shows his complete and utter contempt for baseball and its history.
6. A-Rod lied about why he left the Yankees. A-Rod said he was worried Posada and Pettitte and Mo wouldn't come back. Bullshit. No one believed him and rightly so. Concern about who else might not come back is a reason to delay opting out as long as possible, not a reason to jump the gun. A-Rod's cynical use of Posada and Mo and Pettitte's negotiations is NOT going to endear him to them.
7. A-Rod sat back waiting for the offers and they didn't come. Boras was a good $50 mil to $100 mil off in his estimations about what A-Rod would command.
8. Poll after poll shows NY fans THRILLED A-Rod was gone. An ESPN poll shows 60% of fans around the country don't want A-Rod playing for their team at any price. ESPN is so shocked (haven't these people ever played fantasy baseball? Are they out of their minds?) that it held another poll to try and figure out why.
9. I believe two or three teams would have made a serious run at A-Rod but there was talk of collusion, thanks to idiotic comments by Bud Selig, who left it to a lackey to chastise A-Rd for that World Series stunt instead of coming down on him with righteous anger like he should. And a massive fine.
10. But A-Rod saw his image in the worst shape it's ever been (people were angrier about the World Series stunt than they were about A-Rod cheating on his wife with a stripper). A-Rod saw no team leaping past the offer the Yankees wanted to make him but weren't allowed. So after the Yankees yelled and screamed and insisted up and down that if A-Rod opted they would NOT negotiate with him, they are bidding against themselves to give him potentially $275 mil for ten years, the biggest deal in history. And A-Rod wants everyone to think this is a "discount." A discount would be to wait for another team to make a firm offer and then go play for the Yankees for less than that.
11. It's all about the money. A-Rod went to Texas for the money. He even went to Boston for the money. Huh? He was willing to take a $40 mil "pay cut" to go to Boston, lowering the overall value from $250 mil to $210 mil. But A-Rod saw he was playing in a vacuum. Except for his stats garnering end of season awards, his name meant nothing even to most baseball fans. No one saw him play. No one cared. His most meaningful games ended in July, at best. The long term value of A-Rod was NOT gaining value. You don't get Mr. Coffee commercials and national ad campaigns by playing in the backwaters of Texas for a last place team. A-Rod's potential move to Boston and actual move to the Yankees has GREATLY improved the long-term value of his name and his future earnings once his career is over.
12. And now what has A-Rod done? He's gone to the team that has offered him the most money with the highest profile possible, guaranteeing huge paychecks and a great post-baseball career with a lot more options than he had in Texas.

And he did it by behaving like a punk, lying to fans about his desire to stay in NYC, disrupting baseball's biggest moment with his grandstanding, lying about WHY he opted out, playing Hank Steinbrenner for a fool and grabbing the most money available to him. Say what you want about his abilities on the field. But in no way shape or form has A-Rod shown the slightest bit of class. He's behaved like a complete two-faced, lying weaselly punk who will say and do anything to avoid responsbility or blame for stupid actions on his part and charge for the cash even if it means playing on a team with players who don't want him and fans who have booed him repeatedly over four years in a town that has reveled in his personal woes and made his life hell. It makes no sense except by one standard: money.

Hank: Keep Your Word

Is there no honor anymore? Can't bullying blowhards even keep their word to be stubborn jerks? Hank Steinbrenner wants to be like his dad? Fine, then start holding grudges like your Dad. Did George kiss and make up with Yogi in a few weeks? Of course not. You said you would NOT negotiate with A-Rod. You repeated it again and again after he REFUSED to take your phone calls or even have the courtesy to meet with you and hear your offer. He made a mockery of the World Series with his grandstanding announcement about leaving the Yankees. Every single poll in the NY papers shows the Yankee fans are THRILLED that A-Rod is gone and don't want him back. The latest ESPN poll shows that 60 PERCENT OF FANS DON'T WANT A-ROD ON THEIR TEAM EITHER. Fans HATE A-Rod. How many boos do you have to hear to get it? And A-Rod has damaged his reputation even more in the last few weeks. Keep your word, be a jerk and tell A-Rod to take a hike. Do you want to win the A-Rod sweepstakes, a game where you're the only one buying a ticket and it costs $275 million? Ot do you want to win the World Series sweepstakes? I'd rather win the World Series sweepstakes and we can have more flexibility, a better team image (which means more revenue) and a better TEAM without A-Rod. Walk away.

Mo Walks; Jorge Says "Tear Up My Contract"

"When I made the deal, it was with the understanding that A-Rod was gone," said Jorge Posada. "There is no way I would have come back to the Yankees at any price if I'd known A-Rod was going to be around." Added Mo, "Thank God I didn't sign anything yet. I feel like I just dodged a bullet."

Okay, okay. Neither of them said this. But have the Yankees spoken to the players? Do any of them want to see A-Rod return? Can they work with him? Of course. Do they WANT him to come back? No. Did you see Jeter's comments at Joe Torre's charity event?
"There's not many people in the game that do the things that he does," Jeter said of Rodriguez, who opted out of the final three years of his contract, leading the Yanks to state that they will not try to work out a deal with him. "We're trying to win, but it takes more than one person. We've had teams that have won and we haven't had numbers like that put up, so you don't necessarily have to have those type of numbers in order to win."
In Jeter speak, that's a bitch slap. We don't need you, he said, believing A-Rod to be long gone.

John Sterling: It's A Done Deal

John Sterling told WFAN the A-Rod deal was all but signed and would be ten years at $275 mil. Great. The over-spending Yankees look just as stupid as Texas, bidding against themselves to give A-Rod the highest package in baseball (if not sports) history. That's a DISCOUNT? A discount would be to let A-Rod get a firm offer from some other team and then come back to the Yankees for LESS. It is NOT a discount to give him the biggest deal in baseball history. And what is A-Rod thinking? Does he think we'll be grateful? The moment he grounds out on Opening Day, fans will start booing again. If Cashman didn't adamantly oppose this, he's an idiot. We may be cursed for the next ten seasons.

Would You Rather Have A-Rod Or Santana?

I'd rather have Johan Santana. Who will help us more? Santana.

Contact The Yankees

You can email them here or call them at 718-293-4300. Let them know we don't want A-Rod. The NY Daily News broke the story and it's worse than the NYTimes made it sound. A-Rod approached them, they've been talking for a few days and the biggest demand of the Yankees is that Boras can't sit at the table. They want to deal with A-Rod and only A-Rod. The biggest joke in the article is the anonymous commenter who says A-Rod is definitely coming back, that the Yankees need him and that he's going to take a "below market contract" of $275 mil. Give me a break. No one else is seriously interested. Walk away. See what A-Rod gets offered by another team. No one's made a remotely serious offer. Who the hell is going to give A-Rod $275 mil right now? The Yankees are bidding against themselves just like Texas did with A-Rod and just like the Yankees did with Clemens when he squeezed them for a few extra million. I don't want him signed at all, but giving him $275 mil when no one else is bidding for him is crazy. He wanted to go on the market? Let him. Let someone make an offer. THEN we can talk. And it begins by taking a discount from THAT offer, not from the $350 mil he was HOPING to get.


Like the villain in a bad slasher movie, A-Rod is rising from the dead and reportedly wants to meet with the Yankees without Scott Boras in tow. Hank Steinbrenner's bullying, George-like manner could cut either way here: Hank could say, 'You had your chance, kid. And you blew it.' Or he could get off on seeing A-Rod crawling back to them and get all magnanimous. 'You've learned your lesson kid and I'm gonna be God-like and forgive and let you back into the Yankees. Please, be a jerk, Hank.

P.S. He might do it on "a discount" by making up for the $21 mil the Yankees lost out on? Please. He wants a blockbuster contract and taking $21 mil off of a $200 mil or $250 mil or $300 mil contract is small beans. Coming back on a discount would be coming back at $20 mil per, not $28 or $30. He knowingly and repeatedly refused to even have the decency to answer the Yankees phone calls or sit down with them. Now that the market isn't jumping for joy and he's tainted by behaving like such a punk DURING THE WORLD SERIES suddenl he's all eager to meet with them? He dissed you, Hank. Ignore him. Ignore him. IGNORE HIM!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Comments for the Yankees

I'm getting ready to send a letter to the Yankees with feedback, comments about practical changes to make at the Stadium. I plan to cover: the numbers game (they should detail which player had which number so fans can LEARN something, as in saying Joe Dimaggio's #5 times Derek Jeter's #2 equals Phil Rizutto's #10 -- instead of what they do now, which is to say only the player name so fans don't learn), the rigging of the cap game, painting aisle numbers three times a year, ending the searching of bags, and most importantly the urging that they repeat the post-game show the next day when they do Yankee Rewind. Any other suggestions?

A Good Bad Deal

Jorge is back at $53 mil for four years and somewhere Jesse is yelling and screaming and can't wait till Jorge breaks down in the middle of next season (or the season after) to mock us relentlessly. Clearly, no one expects Jorge to be our primary catcher in 2010 and 2011. Hopefully by 2009, we'll have a serious comer Jorge can mentor the way Girardi mentored him, with the kid handling 40% or more and then being the main catcher in 2010, with Jorge as backup and then dhing or whatever (if he hasn't broken down completely or moved to first) in 2011. Still the deal had to be done. Jorge is the rare player to improve late in his career as far as throwing out runners and he's always handled pitchers well enough and he'll be right in tune with Girardi.

BUT, it was idiotic of the Yankees not to tack on a year to Jorge's contract at the beginning of 2007 the way he requested. Here's a good rule: any time any core player wants to tag on a year to their contract which expires at the end of the season, DO IT. It's always going to be cheaper in the long run. Someone can get injured of course. That's what insurance is for. Someone can have a great year (like Jorge) and that means you got that first year added on cheap. (If we had given Jorge that extra year at the beginning of the season, we could have "rewarded him by adding on ANOTHER two years for more money, gotten the three year deal we always wanted and everyone would have felt loved and appreciated.) Someone can have a bad year or just break down, but for a core player whose proven themselves over the long haul, that's just part of a long career and you accept it and the goodwill spills over for the majority of the time when your "largesse" will save you money. ALWAYS tack on a year for a core player that asks for it. Did you really think we were gonna dump Jorge unless he had a career-ending injury? Of course not. So take advantage when you can.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Will Torre Dish The Dirt?

I doubt it. But Torre's book deal to cover his years as Yankees manager would annoy me if I were the Dodgers. If I'm making you the highest paid manager in baseball, I'd want you to focus on the present and future of the Dodgers, not reminiscing about the Yankees and releasing a book in spring 2009 that can only serve as a distraction. Who wants the players wondering when Torre is gonna reveal private arguments with them? Of course, it's more likely the book will be a bore and not revealing at all, but it's still something he should deal with AFTER he's retired.

I Agree With Boras

He referred to A-Rod (jokingly) as "the four letter word." That about sums it up.

I Don't Know? Third Base!

I look at the players covered in this ESPN run-down of who is available for third base and I think, gee Betemit sounds pretty good to me. Or switch Cano. Or something. But I don't want any of them, not even Carbrera at that price and with those problems, even if Girardi ain't worried.

Sayonara, Matsui?

Yesterday, Brian Cashman made an all-out assault on Johnny Damon. Clearly they think he's going to be fit and healthy next year and an important piece of the puzzle for a team that will be manufacturing runs instead of blasting them out of the park. Then Brian Cashman insisted he saw Damon playing left field on Opening Day. Left field? Uh, what about Matsui? Two possibilities: one, that knee surgery the Yankees have been downplaying is a lot more serious than they're saying (they'd downplay an amputation if they could, of course); two, Matsui is on the trading block (if that's possible). We saw how very unhappy and uncooperative Matsui was when he came back from his injury to find Melky in the outfield. That's MY spot, Matsui ungraciously insisted. I love him as a player but clearly he will be a very disruptive presence if asked to ride the bench or Damon starts in HIS spot on Opening Day. Either he'll be traded (and I'll miss him a lot) or that knee injury will be keeping him out of the game a lot longer than we've been led to believe.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Stupidest Incentive Ever

Curt Schilling re-upped with Boston for a one-year, $8 million contract. Per the NYTimes, he also gets an extra $3 mil for pitching 200 innings (is there anything dumber than giving a pitcher a reason to push their arm to the limit?), an extra $1 mil if he gets the Cy Young award (because $8 to $11 mil isn't incentive enough to be the best pitcher you can) and finally, here's the kicker, $2 mil for six separate weigh-ins, which means I believe hitting targeted weight amounts every time.
Schilling said on his blog that he inserted the weigh-in clause as an acknowledgment that he made mistakes in his conditioning last winter.

“I needed to show them I recognized that and understood the importance of it,” Schilling wrote.
So Schilling was fat and out of shape, a professional athlete making millions who couldn't be bothered to stay on top of his conditioning last year. And he was so chastened, so desirious of proving to the Red Sox that he would stay in shape this year...that he DEMANDED AND RECEIVED AN EXTRA $2 MILLION IF HE CAN STAY IN SHAPE. Are you friggin' kidding me? A professional athlete making millions who needs AN INCENTIVE to stay in shape? He was ashamed of his actions last year and to prove he would deliver the absolute minimum that anyone should expect of an athlete he asked for more money? Unbelievable.

Bleacher Creature/Section 39 Arbitration On Posada, Rivera, Miguel Cabrera

So where do we stand? We know Jesse thinks we're idiots for resigning Posada to a four year deal. I'd say more specifically that the Yankees were idiots for not tacking on another year to Posada's contract at the beginning of the season when Posada wanted it. One year is an extremely low risk move when you're talking about a player headed for free agency. And when you're talking about catchers -- who fall fast and hard when it comes to their skills -- NOT tacking on one year is just idiotic. The Yankees always like to play cute, wait to see if a player gets injured and then are forced into paying top dollar. In this case, four years does indeed seem crazy. We'll be stuck with him long after his days as a catcher are over. Is there any catcher out there we would trade for? What about Rivera? Is a four year deal crazy for him or is he a phenomenon unto himself? And is our thinking they can always ride the bench and collect their paychecks if their skills collapse and who cares about the money? Finally, I dislike everything I hear about the chubby Miguel Cabrera and his mental attitude, work ethic and clubhouse demeanor. Do Girardi's comments reassure us? Does Cabrera just need Girardi riding him; will he respond to that tough love? Personally, I don't trust players who need to be convinced to work hard or stay in shape.

Pitching, Pitching, And More Pitching

The Yankees are going to be hurting if Andy Pettitte decides to retire. Doesn't he realize he's got the rest of his life to retire but only another two or three years to be a top quality major league pitcher? But what struck me in the NYTimes was this comment from Hank (I can drop the Steinbrenner now, can't I?): “Pitching is what we need to go further than the first round of the playoffs, where we’ve been sitting the last three years,” Steinbrenner said. Later he added, “This game is 70 percent pitching, and even more in the postseason.”Wha? Pitching? PITCHING? Gee you mean starting Opening Day with Pavano and spending big bucks on Kei Igawa and the flop Roger Clemens might have more to do with the Yankees failing to get to the World Series than the manager that scratched and clawed his way to the post-season with a weak, sagging rotation like that? Ya think? As for trading one of their arms, that seems insane to me, even for Santana, but I guess I'm alone on that. I'd be most hesitant to trade Joba because he's had the most chances to prove he can succeed on this stage. And I don't care who the pitcher is, they can wilt when they get to New York City.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Section 39 Bleacher Creatures Hate Cheaters

Or do they? Am I the only one who hates cheaters? Am I the only one who wants Jason Giambi off the Yankees because he brought shame to the game and hasn't lost a single day's pay or been suspended for a moment because of it? Am I the only one angry the Yankees signed Giambi KNOWING he was a cheat? (Why else ask them to cut the steroids clause from your contract?) Am I the only one who laughs at this USA Today headline: GMs Worry About Mitchell Report's Impact.

Why are they worried? Obviously, none of them care if players cheat -- not even if the players get caught. Not as long as they produce. That same article included the fact that the Cleveland Indians exercised their $7.5 million option on cheating pitcher Paul Byrd, who insisted he was ill and therefore bought $25,000 in steroids via mail from a dentist in Florida. Makes perfect sense. "It was not a hard decision to pick up the option," Indians GM Mark Shapiro said to USA Today. "Paul's been a very good performer on the field for us, a great guy in the clubhouse with his teammates, a solid member of the community as well."

Right. Because nothing says solid member of the community quite like grotesque cheating that brings shame to the game of baseball and encourages high school athletes to risk their health and indeed their lives just to keep up. Am I the only one who cares?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Torre On Incentives

Seeing Torre in Dodger blue is just...wrong. (Unlike Girardi, Torre isn't donning #7 to show his goal of a World Series.) Torre spoke again on the incentives in his final contract and why he found it insulting and it finally penetrated my thick skull:
He had bonuses in prior contracts, but said, “If they wanted to pay me a bonus, ‘we appreciate you, here it is.’”

He added: “It’s the way it was done: ‘You get this money back if you do this.’ It didn’t sit right with me. Winning the World Series wasn’t satisfaction enough. It had to have a price tag on it.”
That makes sense. But I still stick by my belief that incentives for players who have reached free agent status and makes millions is patently absurd.

Joe DiMaggio On Big Salaries

Joe DiMaggio knew something about big egos - he refused to walk on the field of Yankee Stadium unless he was introduced as "the greatest living Yankee." (Seriously, how could anyone even think to ask for such a thing?) But even he admits that the lure of money isn't as strong as the lure of playing the game. An excerpt from the NY Daily News:
That's one of the funny things about baseball and baseball players. If you are selling gas pipe and your employer fights you on salary, you may have some sort of grudge in your mind, and it possibly will affect your work.

But in baseball, the man who carries a salary grievance into the field with him is as rare as an Italian who isn't nuts about his spaghetti and vino.
The piece covers big salaries, hold outs and how even a player getting screwed by the owners gets the itch when spring rolls around.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

On The Other Hand...

The Onion mocks A-Rod mercilessly.

In Defense Of A-Rod

Obviously, I won't defend the punk-ass way A-Rod and Boras hijacked the World Series. (I can't believe Selig isn't going to fine or condemn them directly. It's a terrible precedent to look the other way over that behavior.)

But A-Rod's decision to leave the Yankees? Makes perfect sense. My friend Noam said as soon as the fans started booing A-Rod in 2006, he knew A-Rod was gone. I too thought the aggressive, daily booing was obnoxious, stupid, and unhelpful. Of course, I think booing a pitcher who has had a bad outing, booing a player for striking out and booing your own team in general is pretty stupid. If a player on my team makes a mental error or doesn't play smart, I might let out a snort of disgust; if a player doesn't run hard to first or do the things that every player should do, they earn my anger. But booing a player in a slump and every time they have an at-bat that doesn't produce (which means booing even the best players 65% of the time)? That's crazy. Who needs it?

Further, A-Rod didn't come to New York to patch up his friendship w Jeter. But surely he must have expected/hoped it would happen. Surely he spoke to Jeter before committing. He just didn't ask, 'Will we be buddies again?" So Jeter didn't have to say no. A-Rod came to Jeter's team, switched positions, and found they were no closer off the field than they were before. That must have been a drain as well. (And no, it was not Jeter's responsibility to become buds again.) Merciless media attention (oh my God, A-Rod is in Central Park w his shirt off!), booing, coldness in the clubhouse, the feeling of always being Number Two (or more like Number Five) in the fan's affection, being batted number eight without being told about it in advance, having the team management call you out early in the season and demand you re-negotiate right now when they NEVER negotiate during a season and insisting you'll have to walk if you don't and winning MVP two out of four years but knowing, KNOWING that the fans don't care and don't consider you to be a real Yankee yet.... Who needs it?

Go somewhere else, get some love from the fans, get a pile of money, join another team with post-season hopes and know that eventually you'll play in the World Series and eventually you'll perform terrifically well on that stage (surely it's just a matter of time) and leave that cold, unfriendly New York City behind, just like countless harried, stressed-out tourists have breathed a sigh of relief when they're on the way to the airport or heading out of Lincoln Tunnel towards Jersey. Really, who needs it?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Girardi To Don #27

Oh, I like that. I like that a lot. Joe Girardi will wear #27 on his jersey to remind himself and everyone else of their goal: a 27th World Series Championship. Here's hoping he has to switch that jersey to #28 by 2010.

How Did The Yankees Make The Post-Season?

Seriously, our starting pitcher on Opening Day was Pavano. Our big sign was Kei Igawa -- a disaster from the start and I said so. Why pay $50 mil for a guy you HOPE will be a number five starter rather than $100 mil on a guy you think could be an ace but would still be great if he's your number three? And of course Roger Clemens won six games despite all the babying in the world. Really, how the heck did we make it to the post-season with that pitching? Who gets the credit? Torre? A-Rod? The spark of Andy Pettitte, who was great all season? Wang's 19 wins? The team? They never should have made the post-season with that pitching and it is always pitching that will kill you when you get there. You aren't going to score ten runs in the post-season games, which is why big bats are far less important than big arms. We were lucky to get there and if we'd faced Boston I'm certain they would have kicked our ass. But we're going to be better next year.