Saturday, July 19, 2014

3 comments The New York Media Loves Discussing Alex Rodriguez at Any Given Opportunity

You can't give the New York media any daylight to talk about Alex Rodriguez. Any conversation can suddenly take a sharp turn towards a discussion of A-Rod. It gets pageviews, comments, and a discussion going. Any conversation or topic can be taken down the A-Rod road by a New York writer.

Kate Upton is on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

"I bet A-Rod has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated more than she has!"

It's raining outside?

"A-Rod never played well in the rain because he was always worried about his appearance more than he was worried about playing well!"

Tom Hanks said 'Captain Phillips' was his all-time favorite movie to make?

"A-Rod will never be the captain of the Yankees because he isn't a selfless winner like Derek Jeter!"

Don Zimmer has died?

"A-Rod is probably too focused on himself to concern himself on whether Zimmer died or not. I bet Don Zimmer didn't even like A-Rod!"

Manny Ramirez got a player/coach position in the Cubs organization?

"I wonder if a team would give A-Rod a player/coach position in their organization?"

Well done, Joel Sherman, well done. You have managed to bring a non- Alex Rodriguez story around to another discussion about Alex Rodriguez. After all, everything has to come back to A-Rod and what a pariah he is doesn't it?

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein had a tough sell in explaining why he hired Manny Ramirez as a player-coach for his Triple-A squad and offered this in a statement:

"I fucking wanted to do it. I'm the president of baseball operations and if I want to name Carrot Top the new head athletic trainer I can do it"?

“Manny is not only one of the best hitters of all time, he is also a dedicated student of hitting and has proven to be a gifted teacher with younger teammates who have worked with him in the batting cage. Behind the scenes he has always been a tireless worker who is very serious about the craft of hitting. Manny has made real mistakes in the past but he has owned up to them and moved his life in a positive direction the last couple of years. He is in a really great place right now and wants to share the lessons he’s learned along the way. We think he deserves another chance and that our young hitters will benefit from it.”

Now re-read that statement and replace the name “Manny” with “Alex.”

Now re-read that statement and replace the name "Manny" with "This story isn't about Alex Rodriguez and so stop making it about him." It doesn't flow as well, but it certainly makes me feel better.

Now re-read that statement and replace the name "Manny" with "Cockgoblin McShitfits." I think it gives the quote a real levity that was missing originally.

It works doesn’t it? Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters of all-time, a dedicated student of hitting, a tireless worker, a proven gifted teacher who loved to share his knowledge with youngsters and a player who has made real mistakes in the past.

And Joel Sherman is desperately tying these two players together as hard as possible.

"See, both athletes play baseball and were two of the best hitters in baseball, as well as have made mistakes in their life. They are pretty much the same person."

Stop there.

You can't make me. I'm down the road already. Would A-Rod be too busy prancing around and making pouty faces in the mirror while checking out his butt to show his teammates/students hitting tips? Most likely. Would A-Rod teach his teammates/students how to properly inject steroids? Very, very likely. If A-Rod became a player/coach then it would open a whole new Pandora's box of criticism for him. I mean, the New York media could then blame him for the performance of his teammates and do so with a more straight face.

Rodriguez’s latest contrition tour is certainly nearing. Will he own up to his mistakes? Will he convince people that he really has moved into a positive place?

More importantly, will he try to grow some dreadlocks to be like Manny Ramirez? Obviously the dreads were the key to Manny's redemption.

My guess is he will try.

My guess is your guess is simply a guess and therefore is just speculation. Of course if Joel Sherman's guess was that A-Rod would not try to rehab his image then there isn't much of a point in this column. 

After all, he sold it once after his 2009 steroid outing and generally received the best coverage and fan support of his Yankees tenure. Of course, he ended up betraying all of that.

This may have had something to do with the Yankees having won the World Series and A-Rod actually contributing to the World Series. I also like the idea that Sherman "betrayed" the fan support and coverage provided by the reporters. The fans probably care less about A-Rod's PED use than Joel Sherman probably knows, especially Yankees fans who have seen a truckload of suspected and PED users on the roster. And if Sherman really believes the Yankees reporters were betrayed by A-Rod's PED use then he needs to realize he and his colleagues are not a part of the story. They cover the story and can not be betrayed. 

Plus, when it comes to Rodriguez will anyone ever believe he is sincere — or simply putting on yet another act?

I don't really care if he's being sincere or putting on an act. Don't you like how this column started off with Manny Ramirez becoming a player/coach for the Cubs and has turned into the textbook by-the-number A-Rod bashing column? It's like these New York area writers can't help themselves. 

I actually think you can make a case Ramirez is the more offensive of the two.

I think you can actually make a case neither player is really offensive. Comparing which player is more offensive is silly anyway. What's most offensive is Joel Sherman has to use any excuse possible to write about Alex Rodriguez. 

But no one ever questioned if A-Rod — like with Manny — had stopped trying on the field as a protest about future salaries or treated defense as a necessary evil needed to hit. He never attacked an aged traveling secretary. Ramirez did that.

Really, who hasn't attacked an aged traveling secretary? Especially if that aged traveling secretary has a service dog she may or may not actually need who takes multiple craps while traveling on a plane.

Yet, Ramirez benefitted from a perception of zaniness rather than cruelty — “Manny being Manny” became shorthand for poor behavior. No one sees A-Rod as zany. Calculating, yes. Fraudulent, definitely. Self-absorbed, you bet.

Actually, "Manny being Manny" was shorthand for bizarre behavior more than it was shorthand for his poor behavior. If an MLB team wants to hire A-Rod as a player/coach then whether he is more offensive or fraudulent won't really matter. Mark McGwire has been a hitting coach, Barry Bonds has been a special assistant in spring training and Jason Giambi is considered a managerial candidate once he finally retires. If a team wants to hire A-Rod, no matter what Joel Sherman thinks of him, he will be hired and very well could succeed. 

Because the Yankees owe him $61 million for 2015-17, they may bring A-Rod back after his yearlong suspension...But once that drama concludes, A-Rod will be a man without a team. I can’t imagine any of the three clubs that employed him — Mariners, Rangers or Yankees — wanting anything to do with a man who I believe loves baseball, hates irrelevancy and would want to stay involved in some fashion.

Joel Sherman says it could very well happen that A-Rod tries to become a player/coach, then says none of the teams that A-Rod played for will probably employ him. So will A-Rod have to go to wherever Brian Cashman may end up in the future? Most likely not given their history. Since Joel is so sure that A-Rod could take the same road as Manny Ramirez, then who the hell would hire A-Rod? 

Of course, I never thought any former employer of Ramirez would dance with him again.

How shocking that Theo Epstein would hire a guy who was a fantastic hitter to teach young players how to be a fantastic hitter. Unforeseen.

Perhaps, this could happen for Rodriguez — someone such as Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria thinking there is upside PR value in employing A-Rod in his Miami hometown. But keep in mind Rodriguez disenchanted fellow players in a way Ramirez never did by essentially suing them all when he sued the players association.

I know the players don't care about this, but the way MLB went about suspending A-Rod without a positive test and after they had essentially bought the witness against A-Rod was a little shady. I'm not an A-Rod fan, but he got railroaded in some ways. MLB bent the rules a little bit to bust him. They went a little Vic Mackey on A-Rod. Sure, the guys Vic Mackey bent the rules to arrest were probably guilty in some way, but he went outside of what he should be able to do in order to get the arrest. The same thing goes for A-Rod. MLB bought the witness against A-Rod and then suspended him on potentially stolen documents. 

Ramirez never publicly took on the commissioner and the whole sport in what for months was a scorched-earth legal and media assault. Finding an A-Rod ally within the confines of the game is difficult, and unearthing someone in power who will put his name to employing him (beyond the Yankees in the short-term) is akin to hunting unicorns.

But remember, this entire article is written around the premise that A-Rod could easily want to be a player/coach like Manny Ramirez. So basically Joel Sherman has written a JemeHill article. He has introduced a premise as a potential reality that others may believe to be true and then disproved that reality in his column. 

My suspicion, though, is all that has led to this moment will not go away, and there will be a lifetime penalty for A-Rod being A-Rod.

So basically this whole column was just an excuse for Joel Sherman to re-hash everything A-Rod has done wrong and then state that nobody likes A-Rod so the hypothetical coach/player job that Joel Sherman thinks A-Rod will want despite A-Rod never actually saying he would want this job will not be available to him. It sounds like Sherman just wanted an excuse to write about how nobody likes Alex Rodriguez and get a few pageviews by putting "A-Rod" in the title of a column while his clickbait subject is serving his yearlong suspension.


Anonymous said...

Great post Ben! Funny enough, until I read Sherman's article I had completely forgotten about the whole A-Rod situation and I imagine most baseball fans who aren't rooting for the Yankees are as well.

Sherman's article wasn't even the typical A-Rod bashing that one normally gets from the NY media. He really wanted to hedge his bets by calling Manny the more offensive personality. Lupica would lean forward in his chair and not approve the sub standard A-Rod slander.

Part of me wonders if Melo had left the Knicks then the NY columnists would be more focused bashing Melo as a selfish quitter than going back to the A-Rod well. Actually, who am I kidding. They would find some way to negatively compare Melo and A-Rod.

Bengoodfella said...

Carmelo is only a few non-clutch shots and a missed playoff season from getting the A-Rod treatment. Actually, as long as he doesn't take pictures of himself staring at himself in the mirror then he should be fine.

I was surprised that Sherman indicated there may be a bigger devil in baseball than A-Rod. Lupica is probably going to sue Sherman for "Failure to libel A-Rod" in a column.

Anonymous said...

And of course he puts A-Rod's name in with Jeffrey Loria since they are two generally disliked figures so in Sherman's mind they would naturally gravitate towards each other.

I couldn't even see Miami making a play for A-Rod and it's a bit too early to speculate since I don't think even A-Rod is thinking that far ahead. And much to Mike Lupica and Joel Sherman's chagrin the Yankees are gonna focus more on Tanaka, Sabathia and the season at hand as opposed to wild A-Rod speculation.