Thursday, July 30, 2015

0 comments What A-Rod Has Done Wrong Today: He Isn't Increasing Ratings and He Didn't Make the All-Star Team

It's time for the New York media to relay what A-Rod has done wrong lately. The New York media previously gnashed their teeth that A-Rod wanted the full bonus the Yankees had promised him in his contract, and he wanted the full amount even if the Yankees gave the bonus to charity rather than A-Rod. Also, A-Rod wouldn't create controversy on demand, which frustrated Bill Madden. Now A-Rod isn't doing anything to increase the ratings at YES (because A-Rod is singlehandedly responsible for these ratings) and he didn't get voted on to the All-Star team. What a bunch of serious missteps by A-Rod.

I'll start off first with Bob Raissman, who says that A-Rod has played well on the field, but he still isn't helping the Yankees with television ratings. Because A-Rod's job is to make sure ratings increase, not perform well on the field, and it is A-Rod's job and only A-Rod's job to increase Yankees' television ratings.

Is there a Yankeeography on the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network in Alex Rodriguez’s future?
Judging by pinstriped suits’ (Hal, Hankenstein, etc.) positive reaction to A-Rod’s “Summer of Love Tour,” we would have to say (Only On) YES. Rodriguez has done all the right things upon his return from a year-long sentence for his role in the Biogenesis caper.

The New York media is still a little bitter they can not bash A-Rod for underachieving this year, so resorting to being cutesy and sarcastic about A-Rod coming back from his year-long suspension and contributing to the team is the attitude of choice.

Since he embarked on this comeback, during which he’s posted the kind of numbers even know-it-all Analytics Aliens could not have predicted,

The media continuously has no idea what Sabermetrics are or how these statistics are supposed to be used. Using Sabermetrics isn't like being a psychic where they are trying to predict the future as if they know it all. It's the use of statistics to make predictions based on past information and A-Rod's age. It's less know-it-all and more let's-use-data-to-try-and-predict-but-this-isn't-guaranteed-to-be-right. Sabermetricians don't claim to be psychics.

much of the media has gifted him the kind of supernatural powers performance-enhancing drugs cannot produce.

Yes, the media is making A-Rod into a better player than he truly is. Why is the media always on A-Rod's side? Sure, it's really impressive he's putting up such numbers at the age of 40 (while apparently clean) after taking an entire year off from baseball, after suffering injuries prior to his year off from baseball, but stop talking about him like he's good at the sport. The media is always overrating A-Rod's abilities. 

This is a much higher power — like the ability to jack up television ratings, which influence the rates networks can charge advertisers to buy time.

Sure A-Rod's doing a good job of hitting the baseball, but the real test of his baseball skill is his ability to increase television ratings. This is A-Rod's job and only A-Rod's job. If YES ratings are low, it's because A-Rod can't draw a viewing crowd. These ratings are a direct reflection on A-Rod and it's not at all possible ratings would be even lower if A-Rod wasn't drawing more viewers to YES Yankees broadcasts. 

Part of the debate over whether Rodriguez deserves to be a member of the American League All-Star team Tuesday night in Cincinnati includes a perception he can draw eyeballs to the Foxies’ party.

But this perception is wrong because the Yankees don't have great ratings. This is just like the perception Paul Goldschmidt could help a contending team who trades for him is wrong because the Diamondbacks aren't very good. The D-Backs suck and that means so does Goldschmidt. 

Kay admits Rodriguez does not belong on the AL All-Stars. “Just tell me who he replaces?” Kay asked. But on his ESPN-98.7 gabfest, Kay added: “I think it would be great for Fox (if A-Rod was on the team). I think it (the game) will get higher ratings with Alex there.”

Kay, and the many others who share his opinion, never quantify it. If they did, they couldn’t back up their words. 

It concerns me that Bob Raissman gets paid to write about television broadcasts and ratings when he uses the logic he is about to use in order to justify his point. The big issue here is that there is no telling what the ratings would be this year if A-Rod wasn't playing, so it's almost impossible to say the effect he has on ratings. The Yankees are also not expected to be competing for the World Series, which also affects the ratings.

Through July 7, Yankees TV ratings on YES were averaging a 2.55 rating, down a hefty 15% from the same point in the 2014 season, according to The Nielsen Co. And average total viewership on YES’ Yankees cablecasts is 237,000, down 17% from the same point in 2014.

This is concerning for me. Bob Raissman uses ratings from the 2014 season, which could easily be skewed based on it being Derek Jeter's last season as a Yankee. Ratings could have been higher for 2014 than 2013, which would mean the ratings for the Yankees this season are normal. It's concerning to me that Raissman uses a potentially outlier year to prove his point without using any other data from previous seasons to compare 2014 to. Maybe he could learn something from the Analytics Aliens. 

So, if A-Rod can’t put the Yankees ahead in the ratings department on YES, where the majority of peepers have forgot about his PED past and mostly have forgiven him (as long as he continues being productive) for past “sins,” there is no shot — absolutely none — that extraneous eyeballs from sea to shining sea are going to go out of their way to tune into Fox’s All-Star telecast to see A-Rod.

Who says A-Rod isn't helping YES ratings? Aren't there are other reasonable explanations for the decline in YES ratings? It's possible A-Rod is helping ratings, but the other factors that go into how many Yankees fans watch the games are hurting the ratings more. 

Why waste time watching a guy they still despise?

This is the only obvious conclusion. Fans who will watch the All-Star game hate A-Rod because the ratings for Yankees games are down from the 2014 season. 


Yes, I understand you are making assumptions and using rating data from one year, a year that very well could be an outlier, in order to make the point you want to make. I understand you are assuming A-Rod is personally responsible for the ratings decline on YES and you are willfully ignoring all other factors that could affect ratings. I understand you get paid to do this job and I understand that makes me sad and embarrassed for you. 

Rodriguez would have zero impact on All-Star TV ratings. And even if A-Rod were on the team, viewers would see him only during the opening introductions and likely in a pinch-hitting role.

How Bob Raissman knows that Rodriguez would have zero impact on All-Star TV ratings is beyond me. He seems to really lack the ability to think three dimensionally about this topic. 

Maybe, MAYBE, ESPN would enjoy a ratings boost from A-Rod if he were added to the Home Run Derby. In that freak show, an oddity of A-Rod’s proportion could be a ratings difference maker.

Maybe, MAYBE, Bob Raissman has very little evidence anything he is writing is fact-based. 

That said, it’s surprising that A-Rod is not driving ratings higher on Yankees telecasts. Think about it: The numbers were better at this point last season WITHOUT him.

True, but the ratings could have been higher last season due to one of the greatest Yankees ever playing his last season. I'm sure the 2014 ratings had less to do with The Jeter retiring and more to do with Yankees fans watching games again now that they were rid of A-Rod. 

Rodriguez brings controversy, legitimate star power and a possible comeback of the year storyline to a team with little marquee value to sell, unless you believe Chase Headley, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira or Didi Gregorius are all major attractions.

Bob Raissman a few paragraphs ago: "The Yankees had better ratings WITHOUT A-Rod. How come the ratings for Yankees games on YES are so low and A-Rod can't pull them up? What else could explain the decreased ratings?"

Bob Raissman now: "The Yankees have no star power and the team is a tough sell. Here is a list of players who don't provide marquee value."

Think perhaps the lack of other players on the roster with marquee value affects the ratings of Yankees games? Perhaps the ratings would be even worse without A-Rod on the team, which means he would have an impact on the All-Star games' ratings.

Maybe this can be attributed to boring baseball (played by both teams in this city) and a lack of offense. Has this caused viewers to tune out?

Absolutely not. Do not entertain this wild idea. I'm sure A-Rod has more to do with the decreased ratings from 2014 than the fact it was The Jeter's last season, as well as the perception the 2015 Yankees lack marquee value and don't seem like they would be competitive. It's A-Rod, not the boring (supposedly) team that causes viewers to tune out. 

Anyway, even though he has proven not to be a ratings magnet, A-Rod sure ain’t boring.

This has provided plenty of material for use inside the Valley of the Stupid and other media precincts. The Gasbags wonder why. Or they ask who really is keeping A-Rod out? Is it players who can’t stand him?

Yes, it is the players who can't stand A-Rod. His not being selected is not a result of other players being more deserving, but instead is the result of the players not liking A-Rod and getting their revenge by choosing to put more deserving players on the team.

“I’m not going to make it (A-Rod not being an All-Star) like it’s the crime of the century because it isn’t,” Mike Greenberg said on ESPN Radio.

Just enough of a “crime” to float across many media platforms where opinions can be delivered between commercial messages. Consider it a gift delivered by A-Rod.

Yes, it is definitely A-Rod's fault that many media platforms are discussing his not being in the All-Star game. A-Rod specifically tells ESPN what to talk about and when to talk about it. The network will immediately do as they are told. 

Just don’t ask him to deliver any ratings. He doesn’t have that kind of juice.

Maybe he doesn't, maybe he does. The ratings on YES aren't simply a by-product of A-Rod's presence on the Yankee roster. Bob Raissman admits the Yankees lack marquee stars, yet he isn't capable of connecting the dots and seeing that could be part of the reason in the ratings dip. He also doesn't compare the 2015 ratings to any other year for further perspective, outside of 2014 when The Jeter was making his farewell tour. It's Raissman's job to talk about ratings and the media, yet he fails at this job. 

Now John Harper thinks the fact A-Rod didn't make the All-Star team shows that the people really hate A-Rod. Because, you know, it's so embarrassing to hate A-Rod that people who don't like him have to do it in private and through passive-aggressiveness acts rather than just admit how they feel about him. No one has the guts to hate A-Rod publicly, so the fact he didn't make the All-Star team proves what John Harper chooses to believe. Weird how that works. Harper has a belief and tries hard to fit reality into that belief.

Nope, for all of the stature A-Rod has regained in baseball this season with his bat and his contrite demeanor, his peers wouldn't let him slip past the velvet rope to mingle with the best of the best, as he once did every summer.

It's the result of a vendetta against A-Rod, not a snub based on A-Rod's merit compared to the merit of other AL hitters. 

Does that have anything to do with the many bridges A-Rod torched when he was at war with every facet of Major League Baseball — including the Players Association — in 2013 while trying in vain to avoid a PED suspension?

It’s a fair question, though one to which there is no obvious answer.

This is a fair question. It is also a question that makes more assumptions than is required when the easy and more obvious answer is that A-Rod's exclusion on the AL All-Star roster was based on his merit versus the merit of other AL hitters. But why would John Harper go with the easy answer when he can come up with an answer more elaborate that helps him to write a column about how this All-Star exclusion means everyone hates A-Rod? 

A-Rod had the numbers to warrant a DH spot on the AL All-Star team, but after the fans voted Nelson Cruz as the starter, the Yankee star was not named among the reserves that are chosen by player vote and manager Ned Yost’s preference.

Perhaps, and I know this doesn't fit the story that John Harper wants to push, the players just thought there were more deserving candidates to represent the AL in the All-Star game and A-Rod's exclusion wasn't because they don't personally like him. I know, that would be a logical conclusion, but what's the fun in logic when Harper can shoehorn his beliefs into this (lack of a) story? 

Prince Fielder earned the back-up DH nod, and it’s tough to argue with his selection, considering that he’s hitting .347 with 13 home runs, 50 RBI and a .943 OPS.

John Harper a few paragraphs ago: "Was A-Rod left off the All-Star roster because the MLB players hate him for suing the union? It's possible!"

John Harper now: "Here is a player who took A-Rod's roster spot that was more deserving than A-Rod."

I think we have our answer on why A-Rod didn't make the All-Star team.

Had Yost somehow finagled Kendrys Morales, his Royals DH, onto the team, then you could have made the case that A-Rod got snubbed.

But you are the one making the case A-Rod was left off for reasons other than merit. You are the one suggesting it was a conspiracy among the players that ended with A-Rod not being on the All-Star roster. Now you are refuting your own theory, but only refuting it after trying to make the case that everyone hates A-Rod. It's important to put that line of thought out in the universe before refuting it. 

But Fielder certainly was deserving.

So, there we go. It wasn't about whether A-Rod was hated or not by his fellow players, but about Prince Fielder being more deserving than A-Rod.

In truth, Brett Gardner is the Yankee who had a right to feel he got jobbed.

Gardner is clearly having an All-Star season, and in many ways he has become the heart and soul of these Yankees, his hustle and aggressiveness setting a tone at the top of the lineup for a team that has exceeded expectations so far.

So does this exclusion mean that John Harper thinks the AL players hate Gardner like he believes A-Rod's exclusion was the result of the players passive-aggressively telling A-Rod how they feel? Of course not! That's silly. The "he got snubbed because everyone hates him" logic is only used for A-Rod.

As for A-Rod, Yost made the case on the ESPN All-Star selection show that much discussion went into his candidacy, but ultimately the need for position players outweighed whatever desire there was to include him.

“We wanted to try to find a way to get Alex Rodriguez on there,” Yost said. “We couldn’t.”

How hard they tried is anybody’s guess.


In fact, I bet AL pitchers threw Prince Fielder fastballs straight down the plate in order to ensure he made the All-Star team over A-Rod. How could this not be true? It's a fair assessment with no obvious answer.

A-Rod would have added some sizzle to an event that remains mostly a spectacle, no matter how determined MLB is to cling to this silly idea that the game should decide home-field advantage in the World Series.

It’s not likely that a pitcher would have thrown A-Rod the “pipe-shot” that Adam Wainwright served up for Derek Jeter last year.

It's not likely. In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised if A-Rod had made the team, and the second he stepped in the batter's box, the NL catcher would have pulled out a switchblade and knifed him to death. It could happen. Would the NL catcher murder A-Rod in the All-Star game? It's a fair question with no obvious answer.  

Nor would you think someone might pull a Ryan Dempster and drill him on such a big stage as some sort of statement on behalf of the union members who were included in the suit Rodriguez temporarily brought against the Players Association — at least until he seemed to come to his senses.

It could happen since the only assumption that is being worked under right now is that everyone hates A-Rod. Sure, there's no evidence this is true, but who needs evidence when John Harper has a fancy computer and inclination to believe this conclusion? 

On the surface, at least, all seems to have been forgiven this year as A-Rod has made his return from his 2014 suspension. He has long since won over Yankee fans with his rather stunning offensive production, to the point that he was practically given the Jeter treatment, curtain call and all, when he hit a home run for his 3,000th hit.

He almost got "the Jeter treatment," which apparently is what a curtain call will now be referred to as being. 

And while he was never the outcast in the Yankee clubhouse he was sometimes portrayed as,

Gee, I wonder who sometimes portrayed A-Rod as the outcast in the clubhouse? I'm sure it wasn't John Harper and his fellow media members.

all indications are that he is admired now more than ever by teammates for his work ethic, his superstar status and his singular talk of winning as a team.

But fuck indications, let's make some shit up. Sure, A-Rod isn't an outcast like the media portrays him as being, and sure, he probably didn't make the All-Star team based on merit and not based on some long-held grudge, but where's the fun in coming to this conclusion? 

Everybody loves A-Rod? Well, not enough to give him a Jeter-like All-Star sendoff, even with a deserving resume. Perhaps forgiveness only goes so far.

Wait, "a Jeter-like All-Star sendoff"? Is Alex Rodriguez retiring after this season? I think all indications are that A-Rod will be back next year, so why would his presence in the All-Star game this season have been a "sendoff"? It's likely that John Harper is doing what every boring, predictable New York sportswriter does, which is compare A-Rod to Derek Jeter, and therefore lazily assumes this is A-Rod's last season or chance to the make the All-Star team. Everything always comes back to Derek Jeter for sportswriters. Always.