Monday, April 20, 2015

1 comments What A-Rod Has Done Wrong Today: He's Close to Breaking MLB Records, So He's Making Things Awkward for the Yankees

Alex Rodriguez is currently in the process of doing something very rude. He's making things awkward for the Yankees by continuing to play fairly well and coming close to breaking MLB records, including Willie Mays' home run record of 660. One would think the Yankees would be happy to have a contributing player like A-Rod, but for legal and financial reasons they are not acknowledging A-Rod's achievements. But don't think Dan Shaughnessy and Bob Raissman haven't noticed that A-Rod is stealing the spotlight by breaking records and don't think they don't see this as another strike against A-Rod. If he had any morality then he would play poorly and not break any records so Shaughnessy and Raissman could rip him for being a complete waste of money. Instead, they don't even get to take cheap shots at A-Rod, so they have to work to find something he's done wrong.

I'll start first with Dan Shaughnessy, who thinks A-Rod is making things awkward for the Yankees playing well and trying to break records. Why does A-Rod insist on the Yankees making things awkward by not recognizing his achievements so they don't have to pay him bonuses for breaking MLB records?

Alex Rodriguez is approaching Willie Mays on the all-time home run list and his own team won’t acknowledge this fact.

For legal and financial reasons. They don't want to pay him when he breaks records, so they want to show they didn't publicize A-Rod breaking records and hope they don't have to pay him. 

A-Rod is baseball’s pariah. He is the bubonic plague. Hating on A-Rod is one of America’s favorite parlor games. Even in his own organization.

He's seen as a pariah mostly within his own organization, outside of the Yankees players of course. I've not read anything from a source on the Yankees actual team (it's usually a source in the organization, not the players) that says negative things about A-Rod. Who cares though? Because sportswriters like hating on A-Rod, this means most of America hates him. Dan Shaughnessy speaks for us all.

It’s weird to see him in uniform again. It’s weird to see him in the Yankee locker room, where he dresses next to Jacoby Ellsbury, a tremendous talent who never gets particularly close to his teammates.

I'm sorry not sorry that it's weird. No one cares how you feel, Dan.

The beloved Yankee stars are all gone. Bernie Williams. Andy Pettitte. Jorge Posada. Mariano Rivera. Finally, Derek Jeter. But A-Rod is back. He is back because the Yankees still owe him a giant bag of money ($61 million through 2017). He is back because he served his one-year suspension. He is back because he’s got nowhere else to go.

He is back because, despite all of his cheating and transgressions, he is wanting to help the Yankees win baseball games without making a huge deal about it. A-Rod has not searched out controversy or tried to defend any of his actions. I think the media resents this in a way. They don't want a silent A-Rod, because they can't rip on a silent A-Rod for things he says.

A-Rod wasn’t available for interviews before Friday’s marathon. He bolted past his clubhouse stall once, but couldn’t say anything because his mouth was full of mouthwash.

 “That’s his new trick,’’ said a Yankee beat writer. “He’s got the mouthwash going and can’t say anything when he brushes past you.’’

If A-Rod doesn't want to talk to reporters then he doesn't have to. Sorry, that's life. If he wants to do a "trick" by having mouthwash in, that's fine, because he's not obligated to talk to the media after the game. In fact, if I were A-Rod then I would make it a point to not speak with the media that clearly doesn't like me and clearly is going to try and twist my words to mean something they don't or mangle them in such a fashion to where that sportswriter can get a column bashing me out of it.

It is awkward for Hal and Hank Steinbrenner (this is one of those times we could really use Boss George’s bombast).

It's the "If only George Steinbrenner were alive then he would fix everything that's wrong with the Yankees" pining. It's cute and fun, but I don't seem to recall George Steinbrenner always doing a heck of a lot to fix what's wrong with the Yankees and often he was the source of the organization's problems. Revisionist history is something sportswriters love to participate in when they are discussing the Yankees and George Steinbrenner. He has become a symbol for something that he really wasn't when he was actually alive. 

It is awkward for Yankee GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi. It is awkward for A-Rod’s teammates. And it is awkward for the Yankee PR staff, one of the best in the business. They don’t quite know how to acknowledge A-Rod without appearing to celebrate his deeds.

It sucks it's awkward, but the only ones who are making it awkward is the Yankees organization who refuses to acknowledge A-Rod's achievements. They could end the awkwardness and just bite the bullet to celebrate him, but they won't do it. 

There was a time when the Yankees were hoping A-Rod would become the all-time home run king. He was like Tiger Woods marching toward Jack Nicklaus’s 18 major titles. A-Rod had a chance to be the first 800-homer guy. And he would do it as a Yankee.

But that was before he got caught cheating and lied. And cheated again. And lied again. And sued everybody, including his own union.

A-Rod did sue his own union. He also was sort of right to do that. MLB used the Biogenesis lawsuit as a way to collect documents and not redress any sort of injury that was alleged in the basis of the lawsuit. That's my view at least. MLB gathered evidence behind the illusion of the Biogenesis lawsuit and MLB also violated confidentiality with leaks in the case. A-Rod doesn't think the union sufficiently defended him in this situation. Saying, "he sued his own union" is a much more salacious way of saying that A-Rod didn't think his rights as a member of the union were being protected like they should be. If your employer was using what you perceived to be bogus means to collect evidence against you, then wouldn't you probably be a little salty if you believe your union didn't protect you sufficiently and defend you against your employer? I know I would. 

Now there is no club-sanctioned celebration when he hits a home run. There is embarrassment.

So now there is complaining that A-Rod has done something wrong when he hits a home run. 

And it’s going to be really embarrassing sometime soon when he hits his seventh home run of the season and passes Mays for fourth on the all-time list. 

This is the same Willie Mays who was a team source for amphetamines, right?

Willie Mays is a baseball treasure, but I always laugh at how the greenie use of the previous generation of baseball players is glossed over. Hank Aaron was passed by Barry Bonds for the home run record. I think we are past the point of being embarrassed when older generation greats have their records passed by players tied to PED's.

A-Rod is owed a $6 million bonus every time he passes these magic markers. It is believed that the Yankees intend to withhold the bonus and take the matter to arbitration.

The Yankees believe that if it can be proven that the milestones are not marketable because they are tainted, the ball club will not have to pay the bonuses.

“We are very, very careful in not marketing these milestones,’’ said a high-ranking Yankee official.

But if the Yankees are admitting they aren't marketing these achievements and they have a clear motive to save money by not marketing these achievements, then why should A-Rod not get his $6 million? Simply because the organization chooses not to market A-Rod's achievement, well that's not his problem. The Yankees signed a contract and if they choose not to market A-Rod, that's great, but it doesn't mean he isn't entitled to the $6 million as designated in his contract.

Again, we have all done things wrong. Maybe even done things wrong twice, but if you put yourself in A-Rod's shoes for a minute then it's easy to get why he wouldn't be happy the Yankees are going to withhold money from his contract for achievements. If my employer withheld money from me after I believe I did my time for a wrongdoing, then I would be unhappy. I understand the Yankees' point of view too. No team wants to market a false record. Well, some MLB teams do and that's their choice.

The only mention was in the daily notes where a small A-Rod section disclosed that he is fifth on the all-time homer list. There was no mention of A-Rod needing five to tie Mays.

A-Rod can no longer play shortstop or third base. 

He can still play third base if he needed to. This is why he was practicing fielding ground balls at third base during spring training. Not to steal Chase Headley's job, but to be prepared to play the position if he was needed.

He’s a full-time DH who experimented at first base in spring training. He can’t run. He’s limited.

So, he's a full-time DH like other full-time DH's who can't really do much else outside of hit? 

The Yanks have not hit the road yet, so A-Rod has heard a lot of cheers and not many boos.

Unless he's paid attention to the noises coming from the pressbox of course. Sportswriters who love being up on their pedestal are booing A-Rod every chance they get. 

That will change Monday night when the Yankees play the Orioles at Camden Yards. The Yankees come to Boston on Friday, May 1. That should be good.

While also slightly ironic given the fact prominent Red Sox players haven't exactly been clean over the past decade.

Maybe that’ll be the weekend that A-Rod hits No. 661 to vault Mays.

I can see the Daily News headline now: “Pay Day Kid Passes Say Hey Kid; Nobody Notices’’.

"Pay Day Kid"? Dan Shaughnessy is calling A-Rod the "Pay Day Kid." Yeah, blame A-Rod for signing a contract that he and the Yankees agreed was his market value. It's all A-Rod's fault and we all know Dan Shaughnessy would never take more money from the "Boston Globe" if they offered it to him. Dan is too good for that, plus he may have already done that but his salary is private.  

A-Rod is back. It’s a big bowl of awkward. 

It is and it's because the Yankees are working hard to make it that way. I don't not blame A-Rod for his part, but the Yankees signed the contract, the contract hasn't been voided, and so if they don't choose to market A-Rod then that is their choosing. This would all just be easier if A-Rod would stop performing well enough to break MLB records. If A-Rod would just hit .150 and not have an extra base hit then there would be no awkwardness and the media could rip him for his lousy performance. That's what Dan Shaughnessy wants to do anyway. 

Bob Raissman has also noticed that A-Rod has screwed everything up by insisting on not playing so poorly and daring to break MLB records. For Bob, he's a little confused that ESPN and Fox are paying so much attention to A-Rod. It's perfectly fine for Raissman to have written about A-Rod three times from March 14 to April 15, but it astounds him when other media outlets try to pay attention to A-Rod. They are just proving his marketability, which is a big no-no.

The lines were strikingly similar. Both were spoken while the camera was on Alex Rodriguez.

“I think there’s a PED fatigue among fans,” Tom Verducci, working with Harold Reynolds and Joe Buck, said Saturday during FS1’s Red Sox-Yankees telecast. “It’s not why they come to the ballpark.”

Less than 24 hours later, Curt Schilling attempted to explain why Yankee fans have quickly gravitated back to A-Rod’s corner. “Part of it too is fatigue. That (Biogenesis/PED) story was fatiguing,” Schilling said early in ESPN’s telecast of the Sunday night series finale. “I think everyone is tired of it. They want to move on, including Alex.”

I think that Tom Verducci and Curt Schilling are both correct. Of course, most sportswriters won't ever realize this because they are too busy taking hardline stances against PED use and continuing to beat the PED horse into the ground. Yes, PED's are an issue (which is why MLB has a drug policy), and yes, those players who take PED's are cheaters. After a while, it's exhausting to talk about it and debate it. This is part of the reason I post these "What A-Rod Has Done Wrong Today" posts, to show how these sportswriters dream of different things that A-Rod has done wrong in place of simply writing another column obliterating him for twice getting caught using PED's. There is PED fatigue and sportswriters try to talk around this fatigue by talking about how A-Rod is marketing poison or how he shows up at training camp early AND DOESN'T EVEN TELL THE YANKEES! All these things that A-Rod has done wrong goes back to his PED use, which I am betting the general public is tired of discussing. I know I am. So a villain becomes a sort of anti-hero.

During spring training, commissioner Rob Manfred called on MLB’s national TV partners to help market baseball’s young stars. Yet during the first weekend of the season, the spotlight was on a 39-year-old tainted drug abuser (who Manfred helped bust) returning from a season in exile.

I disagree the focus was on A-Rod. Maybe from the perspective of a sportswriter like Raissman who is paid to cover A-Rod, but as the fan of a team that isn't the Yankees I only heard about A-Rod when I went searching out information about him or read a column from a New York-based sportswriter.

It just wasn’t what the network voices had to say about him. It was what the cameras allowed us see. The coverage did not reach total Love-In status, but pretty close.

Yes, how dare MLB Network talk about A-Rod a lot and choose to keep the focus on what Rodriguez was doing. Don't they know it is the New York media's job to saturate the airwaves with coverage of A-Rod? The New York media are the only ones allowed to discuss A-Rod all the time and at length. It's fine for Bob Raissman to write about A-Rod three times in a month, but when MLB Network discusses A-Rod then they are simply giving the spotlight to someone who doesn't deserve it. Or is it that Raissman doesn't like any coverage of A-Rod that isn't negative coverage?

On Sunday night, a number of Yankees met with kids from the Harlem Little League but ESPN only showed A-Rod speaking with them and signing autographs.

This was an image-softening moment. Team A-Rod could not have orchestrated this heartwarming session any better.

ESPN should have shown A-Rod spitting in the face of these kids and then slipping his phone number to each child's mother in the hopes of having a quickie after the game was over. But NOOOOO, ESPN had to show A-Rod in a light that wasn't negative. That's not allowed.

There also were regular-guy shots of Rodriguez interacting with teammates in the dugout. On Saturday, Fox zoned in on A-Rod awkwardly attempting to play first base — another sympathetic sequence.

Except A-Rod was really being a regular guy in the dugout. It's not like Team A-Rod has forced his teammates to like him. And A-Rod playing first base is a story, like it or not. It seems that Raissman's real issue is any media coverage of A-Rod that isn't considered openly antagonistic or negative. That shows a bias in Raissman's coverage of A-Rod and that he seems to have a sort of an agenda.

It all was food for the “fatigued.” While Rodriguez came off clumsy playing first, Fox’s pictures also told a story of a guy who said he would do anything for his team actually backing up his words — and doing it while risking on-field embarrassment.

How dare Fox show A-Rod playing a position he doesn't normally play! Fox is showing A-Rod helping and this appeases the "fatigued"! Fox should not even have acknowledged who was playing first base.

It's ridiculous when these networks have agendas when covering players. Cover A-Rod in a negative fashion or don't cover him at all. The only agenda Fox should have is an agenda that Bob Raissman agrees with.

Yet all these pictures, all this bright spotlight, plays into another controversy rolling up fast on Rodriguez and the Yankees.

So the general argument being made by Raissman is that the media is on A-Rod's side? This is a real argument being made?

Fox’s MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal, twice on Saturday’s telecast and once on the pregame, detailed how Yankees suits “do not intend” to pay Rodriguez any of the $6 million HR milestone bonuses.

Oh no, look how the media is covering this story. Trying to make the public feel bad for A-Rod because the Yankees signed a contract stating he would get $6 million when he passed Willie Mays on the all-time home run list and now they are trying to renege on this deal. What's the point of mentioning this, other than to get the focus on A-Rod? It's not news, even though every other media outlet has reported it as news and Bob Raissman himself will discuss this story right now.

But the Yankees will contest the payments. In fact, they do not even include his pursuit in the press notes under the heading of “upcoming Yankee milestones.”

As Rosenthal said, they consider Rodriguez, after the PED use and the year ban, “an unmarketable player."

That's better. Feed that A-Rod is unmarketable and don't try to show him in a positive light. Much better.

Buck contradicted the Yankees’ assertion. “To me he is, by far, the most interesting player — good or bad — the Yankees have,” Buck said. “And an organization that has its own television network (Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network), well, people want to know what this guy does. ... Every A-Rod at-bat is an event, whether he’s hitting .300 or zero.”

And yet, Joe Buck insists on continuing to focus his attention on A-Rod. What's the obsession Fox has with Rodriguez? Okay, back to Bob Raissman talking about A-Rod at length.

John Kruk provided evidence after Schilling gushed about how good A-Rod looks and how wonderful it is seeing him back in competition. “Yeah, I’ll bet the Yankees are tickled about it too,” Kruk said sarcastically.

Except, A-Rod does look good after taking a year off from baseball. Raissman can call it "gushing" all he wants. A-Rod took a year off from baseball at the age of 38 and has come back to be a productive player (so far) at the age of 39. It's being acknowledged, regardless of whether Bob Raissman prefer the conversation to be solely a negative one.

And, more importantly, how might any future coverage, with A-Rod as the positive focal point, play into the bonus clause dispute if it ever goes to arbitration?

I like how Bob Raissman claims noticing A-Rod is hitting the ball well, showing him playing first base and saying that fans are tired of the PED discussion is "positive" coverage for A-Rod. Apparently observing his actions on the baseball field and commenting on them is seen as positive coverage, as opposed to being seen as the Fox baseball crew simply doing their job as analysts.

If A-Rod is so “unmarketable,” Dan Shulman, ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” play-by-play voice wouldn’t say the “fans are back in his corner,” would he? Aren’t these fans the ones who would be purchasing Rodriguez milestone merchandise from the Yankees?

The Yankees are only saying he is unmarketable to stick it to him and save a few dollars. That's the only reason they call him unmarketable.

And if A-Rod was so “unmarketable” why would YES be airing promotional spots for the Orioles series featuring A-Rod at the plate?

If A-Rod were unmarketable, would Bob Raissman be talking about A-Rod at every possible opportunity? 

And if he continues to drive the ball, how far could Rodriguez juice YES’ ratings, which are expected to take a hit in this Yankees season of ifs? Those numbers will help quantify his marketability, right?

Yes, the Yankees want to save $6 million, so they pretend A-Rod isn't marketable in some form or another. Bob Raissman has already acknowledged why the Yankees are trying to not pay attention to A-Rod breaking records, yet he seems to be confused as to why they aren't acknowledging A-Rod breaking records. 

Then again, if his bat cools off, these networks, the ones would gave him such a rousing reception, may experience another form of Alex Rodriguez fatigue.

Which Bob Raissman would love because he doesn't like it when A-Rod gets any attention that isn't negative attention. Simply acknowledging A-Rod is about to break an MLB record or showing him on the field when he isn't failing miserably is seen as "positive" coverage of A-Rod. Raissman will only stand for negative coverage or no coverage of A-Rod at all. 


Chris said...

Dan was so blinded by his troll rage against A-Rod that he complimented Ellsbury. I was almost certain he would try to find a way to make some snide comment on him seeing as he left Boston for the evil empire!