Monday, August 3, 2015

0 comments What A-Rod Has Wrong Today: He Participates in Unfunny Skits for ESPN

Lately A-Rod has made some serious missteps that the New York sports media has had a chance to jump all over. A-Rod hasn't helped the Yankees' ratings and then he failed to make the All-Star team. Those were two egregious errors that A-Rod made. Now Mike Lupica has made the vital discovery that A-Rod has in fact made another error in judgment. He participated in an unfunny skit at the ESPY's this year where he pretended to apologize for a variety of things. At this point, the New York media can't rip on A-Rod for his performance on the field, so they are having to reach in order to criticize him. Lupica says A-Rod "strikes out looking" (get it?) in taking part in the unfunny skit and takes joy in finally getting the chance to write about what an asshole A-Rod is. It's a glorious day for Mike Lupica. He's probably sitting on the edge of his seat talking over someone right now, gleefully happy that he finally can pile on A-Rod again.

Alex Rodriguez has made hardly any mistakes since he returned to the Yankees after serving a full-season suspension for Tony Bosch and for being up to his eyeballs in baseball’s case against Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic.

Ah, but now he has made a mistake that isn't really a mistake and Mike Lupica is all over it. He's on the edge of his seat, trying to seem as tall as possible and talking over anyone who dares to try to be in the same room as him. 

Mostly Rodriguez has hit, and reminded everybody that if you can still produce in sports, fans will find so much forgiveness in their hearts they’re afraid sometimes those hearts might burst like frozen pipes.

Yes, fans are so good at finding forgiveness when a player hits well. Being that Mike Lupica is unable to focus on anything that doesn't involve him, I wonder if he knows that A-Rod has gotten more favorable coverage from sportswriters as the 2015 season progresses. Why? Because A-Rod is producing. But yeah, fans are the fickle ones. 

He has said all the right things and attended charity events, and gotten himself straight, at least for the time being, 

But the fuck up is coming. Mike Lupica knows it. If it doesn't come, then Mike Lupica will blow a small thing out of proportion to make it seem like A-Rod has not gotten himself straight.

and barring any future problems with baseball drugs, with the commissioner and with Yankee ownership. He has, by all accounts, been a bedrock of good behavior in the Yankee clubhouse, especially with young players.

I don't know how many times Mike Lupica can write "A-Rod has been on his best far" in this column without it seeming more and more repetitive. Yeah, he hasn't screwed up. Get to your point. 

the way he is covered these days, you can probably forgive him for wondering how Caitlyn Jenner beat him out for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards — why he thought it was a good idea to stand in the spotlight at the ESPYs on Wednesday night and participate in a painfully lame and hideously unfunny apology skit with Joel McHale and Ken Jeong from “The Hangover” movies.

A-Rod screwed up because he participated in an unfunny skit at an awards show. This is where we are at now in trying to find things that A-Rod has done wrong. He was a part of a skit that wasn't funny, which apparently is the only reason needed for Mike Lupica to bring up the fact A-Rod used PED's again and criticize A-Rod for lacking funny. A-Rod didn't write the skit and he's not a comedian. He simply took part in the unfunny skit. 

Because even Rodriguez has to know that what he was accused of doing with Bosch and convicted of doing by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz isn’t funny, with or without penis gags. And isn’t ever going to be funny.

PED's are a life and death situation to Mike Lupica. This shit is very serious. If a player uses PED's to gain an advantage, then he should not make jokes about it. Sure, he could casually mention he used amphetamines in an interview 30 years after he retired as if he was taking Flintstones vitamins and not amphetamines, but that's not big deal because those baseball players from the 60's and 70's are heroes and everyone was doing. So that makes it fine. Don't joke about PED's. It's a super-serious subject. 

Just so you know: The set-up at the ESPYs was that Jeong would act as Rodriguez’s surrogate as he finally “apologized” to the whole wide world.

So Rodriguez stood there like a prop and kept handing pieces of paper to Jeong, while McHale stood on the other side of Jeong looking as flop-sweat desperate to get laughs as he had been since his opening monologue.

It wasn't funny. There's no doubt about that. Again, A-Rod didn't write the skit and this participation in the skit is just a way for Lupica to remind everyone that A-Rod is a cheater and find something to be angry with him over. 

Nobody expects big yuks from award shows, at least when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler aren’t hosting them these days.

Mike Lupica: "A-Rod took place in an awards show skit that wasn't funny. How dare he do this while making the crowd uncomfortable with the lack of hilarity."

Mike Lupica: "Award show skits aren't ever funny, so nobody expected the ESPY's to be funny anyway."

But somebody thought this material was funny, and Alex Rodriguez clearly signed off on it, so on they went. And on.

Yes, I'm sure A-Rod spent a few days vetting the script and then re-writing portions of it to better capture his personality. After that, his agent signed off on it, but only after a few of A-Rod's demands were met. 

There was some weird, nervous laughter from the crowd occasionally. There was even a shot of Derek Jeter laughing, though it was hard to tell whether he was doing that to be polite, or just reveling in Rodriguez making himself a part of the show like this on a night when Jeter received a Sports Icon Award.

The Jeter has to make an appearance as the anti-thesis of what A-Rod has become. The Jeter is the Batman to A-Rod's Joker, the Superman to A-Rod's Lex Luthor. The Jeter was not impressed with A-Rod's skit, merely only laughing at how Rodriguez was making an ass of himself. One would think the on-the-field performance comparison between The Jeter and A-Rod at the age of 40 might be made, but there's no need for that. Rest assured, if The Jeter had a line of .304/.363/.438 last year this would be something Lupica brings up. He didn't, so there's no need to compare the two hitters at the age of 40.

By the way: Here is a part of what Jeter said upon receiving that award:

This is especially relevant point in a column about A-Rod participating in an unfunny skit. 

“I’ve had a special relationship with the fans and my teammates over the last 20 years, but in retirement I’ve come to realize that being a part of the larger community of sports is a gift — and more importantly it’s an honor. You’ve inspired me for years, and you continue to inspire me.”

(Bengoodfella wakes up because this was a boring and very cliched, yet kind, statement from The Jeter)

So Jeter took one route to the stage on this night and the guy who used to play to his right at Yankee Stadium took another.

It always comes back to a comparison between The Jeter and A-Rod...that is unless the comparison isn't flattering to The Jeter, in which case no comparison should be made. It's lazy writing, but nothing more should be expected from Lupica. 

Maybe you could have given Rodriguez some props for being able to laugh at himself on this occasion, except there were no laughs here, about “Game of Thrones” or droughts or Greece or the Knicks or any of it.

Yeah well, as you just wrote, nobody expects big yucks from awards shows. So I'm not sure why you would expect this skit to be funny based on your own opinion of award show skits.

At the very end of it, after Jeong stopped reading, McHale asked Rodriguez if there was anything he wanted to say and Rodriguez said, “I’m good.” Before that, of course, we got this supposedly edgy material from Alex Rodriguez’s faux apology at the ESPYs:

It's not funny. Who cares? Why is this unfunny skit worthy of a column being written about it? 

Yeah. These are the jokes. By the time it all ended, you felt as if you’d had to sit through one of those old four-hour Yankees-Red Sox games out of the past.

Brilliant writing by Lupica here. This is as opposed to one of those old four-hour Yankees-Red Sox games from the future or the present? Yeah, if those games are old then they must be out of the past. Mike Lupica is one of those old writers from the past who thinks his written word is the gospel and shall not be questioned. These are the things that happen when you've had an entire career of smoke being blown up your butt and choose to ignore any criticism others may have of you.

Maybe Rodriguez thinks he can be the kind of performer that we’ve found out Peyton Manning can be.

Yes, I'm sure at the age of 40 A-Rod has decided he's going to try and become the type of performer that Peyton Manning can be. More likely, A-Rod just took part in the skit without a long-term plan or a single thought of spring boarding a career off the skit.

Maybe he’s already thinking about a post-playing career in broadcasting, when his Yankee contract finally runs out sometime in the next century. But if he is considering a future career in show business, he might want to take a closer look at the material next time.

We all know Derek Jeter wouldn't take part in an unfunny skit for the ESPY's. He would never do that.

He has hit better than perhaps even he himself thought he ever would again. He’s said and done all the right things. Then came the ESPY Awards.

Yes, one unfunny skit at an awards show has ruined all of Alex Rodriguez's accomplishments over the 2015 season. This is a true and logical statement.

His arbitration hearing was funnier. This is the first dumb thing he’s done since Bosch.

Imagine how Mike Lupica would respond if A-Rod actually did anything worse than show bad taste in jokes made on an awards show. The fact that Mike Lupica actually took A-Rod's participation in this skit, managed to bring Derek Jeter into the discussion, and tried to make all of this into something more than bad comedy shows a dedication to the A-Rod hating craft that he may someday try to perfect...while sitting on the edge of his seat, trying to be as tall as possible and talking over others, of course.