Showing posts with label Alex Rodriguez. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alex Rodriguez. Show all posts

Sunday, October 19, 2014

0 comments Now That Derek Jeter is Retired, Wallace Matthews Wants Joe Girardi to Play A-Rod at Third Base Often, So He Can Inevitably Complain about A-Rod

Sportswriters often don't see athletes as human beings, they see these athletes as walking narratives. Walking narratives that can help that sportswriter with a column idea or even as a means to expound upon that narrative in a column. The New York media has missed Alex Rodriguez this season. They miss bashing him and talking about what a hypocritical, self-involved, cheating asshole he is. So naturally, Wallace Matthews misses A-Rod and can't wait for him to come back and play for the Yankees next season. It will make Wallace happy to know he can have A-Rod to kick around again. But first, Joe Girardi has to go ahead and hand A-Rod the starting third base job before the World Series is even over. So it turns out A-Rod won't be getting the Jeter treatment, because Girardi won't name A-Rod the starting third baseman in 2015. Just in case the zero people who thought Girardi might were confused.

Joe Girardi is about to go from the Farewell Tour to the Circus Parade. 

And the New York media could not be happier. They were tired of all this happiness and positivity surrounding Derek Jeter's retirement. Finally, they can get pageviews using negativity.

Girardi took a lot of heat this season for managing what some believed was a Derek Jeter Farewell Tour rather than a baseball season, and put forth the dubious proposition that this was the reason the Yankees missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

(New York media to each other) "We are going to saturate the coverage of the Yankees' season with talk about Derek Jeter and his impending retirement. We will make this our sole focus."

(New York media to Joe Girardi) "Why did you manage this season like it was a Derek Jeter Farewell Tour? That's the only story we heard about this season. Was that your only focus?"

While Girardi certainly deferred to Jeter all season, continuing to play him at shortstop and bat him second, despite sometime shrill calls from many corners claiming this was the reason the Yankees stunk in 2014, Alex Rodriguez cannot hope to enjoy the same level of respect. 

This disputes the claim of absolutely nobody that A-Rod was going to be treated like Derek Jeter was during his final year in the majors. Sure, a lot of nobody thought that A-Rod would be immediately handed the starting third baseman job before the World Series ended and the MLB offseason has begun, but these people, of which there were none, will be shocked to find out this isn't happening. Joe Girardi isn't going to cater to Alex Rodriguez like he did Derek Jeter. And here I thought Jeter and A-Rod would be treated the same, especially since the legacy each will leave with the Yankees isn't similar at all.  

And no, the reason the Yankees stunk in 2014 is not solely because Derek Jeter batted 2nd. The Yankees had injuries to their pitching staff, (predictably) the free agents they signed didn't entirely live up to their contract for a variety of reasons and the farm system isn't built up enough to withstand these two issues. But yeah, blame Girardi for playing Jeter, though the New York media would have had a heart attack had Girardi put Jeter 8th/9th in the batting order and sat him more than two games in a row.

That much was clear from Girardi's postseason wrap-up news conference at Yankee Stadium on Monday, in which he refused to guarantee A-Rod his old job back, despite being given several opportunities to say so. 

What kind of idiot manager would guarantee A-Rod his old job back for the upcoming season as early as late September? Girardi has no idea who the Yankees will sign in the offseason, no idea what kind of playing shape A-Rod is in, and Rodriguez wasn't exactly tearing the cover off the ball during the 2013 season. It would be the height of stupidity to guarantee A-Rod his old job back, so naturally the mouth-breathing idiots in the New York media ask Girardi to do so.

And I know if Girardi had said, "Of course A-Rod will have his job back when he returns" then this column by Wallace would go in a completely different direction. It would be, "I can't believe Girardi guaranteed A-Rod's job at third base this early in the offseason."

Asked directly, twice, on Monday if A-Rod was returning as the Yankees' starting third baseman, Girardi hedged. 

I don't want to spoil it, but Girardi's "hedge" is acknowledging that A-Rod will be playing third base when he returns. This further removes any confusion that A-Rod will be moving to the outfield or to shortstop. I'm sure the same subset of zero people who also thought A-Rod would get the Jeter treatment during the 2015 season thought A-Rod might play shortstop when he returned to the Yankees team. These zero people are now even less confused than they never were.

"He hasn’t played in a year," Girardi said. "That’s not easy to do, to sit out a year. I've got to see where he’s physically at, I’ve got to see from a playing standpoint where he’s at. Do we expect him to be a player on our team? Absolutely. Do we expect him to play third base? Yes. But in fairness, I think you have to see where he’s at." 

So A-Rod will play third base when he returns? Look at Girardi hedging on whether A-Rod will be the regular third baseman for the Yankees by acknowledging that A-Rod will be playing third base.

Which raises the bizarre and tantalizing prospect that Alex Rodriguez could be returning to the Yankees as a part-time player, or worse, a bench player.

Which is pretty much what the New York media has wanted A-Rod to be for a few seasons now. Of course, if A-Rod is a part-time player the New York media will take one of two roads:

1. State A-Rod isn't playing well enough to deserve to be a full-time player and then call him "an expensive pinch-hitter" in some fashion, while baiting A-Rod to second-guess Girardi's decision by firing a series of leading questions at him all in an effort to drum up controversy.

2. Claim that A-Rod should be starting because he makes enough money that he needs the opportunity to contribute and then blame A-Rod for Girardi refusing to pull him from the lineup. I don't know how, but the media will try to blame A-Rod for this.

Funny, Girardi showed no similar hesitation when asked similar questions about Jeter a year ago, even though Jeter was a year older than Rodriguez and coming off a similar yearlong layoff, having played in just 17 games scattered throughout the 2013 season.

That is because it was Jeter's last season and Girardi had never pulled Jeter from the lineup for performance-related reasons. Girardi has pulled A-Rod for performance-related reasons, and A-Rod has been out of baseball for an entire year, while Jeter was rehabbing an injury during much of the 2013 season. There's no way Jeter wasn't going to be the Yankees starting shortstop coming into the 2014 season for a variety of reasons. Just like A-Rod is not being handed the starting third base job for a variety of reasons.

No matter by what illicit means he achieved it, Rodriguez was always a better player than Jeter, if not nearly as much of a winner or so good a teammate. 

And those are part of the reasons why Rodriguez isn't being handed the third base job and Jeter was assumed to be the Yankees' starting shortstop during the 2014 season. Being a good teammate is always nice to see and much of A-Rod's value lies in his power, so it remains to be seen what remains of that power.

It is easy to argue that he doesn't deserve it, for transgressions both on the field and off. 

Ah yes, so basically Wallace Matthews is asking questions and then answering his own questions. Essentially, this entire column could have been a conversation instead Wallace's head instead of a column.

Without even trying, A-Rod is going to cause Girardi the kind of headaches that Jeter never did, and he does not appear to be relishing the prospect, even five months removed from the start of spring training.

It seems that Wallace has broached the question of A-Rod's starting status simply so he can rehash the same talking points about what a pain in the ass A-Rod is. Wallace acts surprised Girardi hasn't named A-Rod the starting third baseman (did you know A-Rod isn't on the same level as Derek Jeter?) in late September and then begins to list the reasons why Girardi wouldn't do this.

Although the manager went out of his way to mention, "I have a good relationship with Alex," he was unable to give a precise date of the last time he and his erstwhile third baseman actually spoke. 


"We've talked more about how he’s just doing and his family, mostly through texting," Girardi said. "Obviously that will pick up now that we’re through the season and I don’t have nearly as much to do, just to see where he is at physically and encouraging him and see what his thoughts are."

Now that Joe Girardi has stopped managing the Derek Jeter Farewell Tour, he can focus more on the Alex Rodriguez Redemption Tour. At some point, probably the beginning of each month during the season, he will put the Yankees lineup, pitching rotation, and bullpen usage charts together so he can spend the rest of that month focused on A-Rod as much as he solely focused on Derek Jeter.

All indications are that he expects to come back to the Yankees in all of his former capacities, as the everyday third baseman and a middle-of-the-order hitter, as well as a possible new capacity -- as a team leader now that Jeter will no longer be in the clubhouse.

How did Wallace get these indications? Why is Wallace unable to give a precise date of the last time he got an indication this is true?

Joe Girardi isn't allowed to talk to A-Rod during the season without every discussion notated and archived for the public's perusal, but Wallace Matthews is all, "I know that A-Rod thinks he is coming back to play third base everyday and hit in the middle of the order," and he just wants his readers to nod their head as if this is true and possibly isn't just an assumption Wallace wants to make for the purposes of writing a column.

Without mentioning names, Girardi spoke in general terms about the likelihood that several current Yankees could step up next year to fill the leadership void Jeter leaves behind. And from what I know about Alex, I can tell you he considers himself one of those candidates, if not the only legitimate one.

Brian McCann is going to stand in the baseline and yell at A-Rod for believing he is the only legitimate leadership candidate. There is an unwritten rule that says you have to get past Brian McCann first before you can be the leader of any team.

But it is just as likely that his return will be seen by some in the Yankees clubhouse as a burden, because at least for the beginning of spring training, the camp is likely to be crawling with even more media than usual, poking and prodding A-Rod for his daily thoughts and charting his every move on and off the field. 

Of course, the New York media could ensure the Yankees clubhouse don't see A-Rod as a burden by not poking and prodding A-Rod for his daily thoughts and charting his move on and off the field, but apparently that isn't even close to being option. Not that the New York media has an obligation to help the Yankees have a lesser burden, but Wallace Matthews is basically saying he and his media friends will make the Yankees clubhouse a living hell if they damn well want to.

Girardi acknowledged the coming circus could serve as a camp distraction, but said: "I think our players will handle it fine. The first couple of days in spring training there will be more attention, and that will die down. That's the nature of sports too. Something’s gonna happen that the focus will be off of him again."

Joe Girardi is going to have Francisco Cervelli murdered so the focus will be off A-Rod and on Cervelli's untimely death. I'm just kidding of course, the New York media would recognize that Cervelli is dead so there's no reason to immediately cover a story that isn't going anywhere, and then continue to focus on asking A-Rod for for the millionth time whether he considers himself the leader of the Yankees now and how much he'll miss Derek Jeter.

the spotlight will be on him again as he faces a likely procession of hostile crowds, perhaps even in his own ballpark. 

So why not announce A-Rod has the starting third base job in late September when he hasn't proven he deserves it, the fans hate him, and it will only put more pressure on him to produce immediately? Joe Girardi has really missed a chance to give New York sportswriters a great story to write.

"His teammates enjoy Alex," Girardi said. "His presence in the clubhouse, the way he likes to teach the game and talk about the game, so I don’t think that will be an issue. Will he have to deal with some angry fans? Yeah. But we’ll help him get through that. And when’s the last time Alex hasn’t had to deal with that?

Stop it! Stop being reasonable about Alex Rodriguez and how hostile crowds will affect him. Just pretend that A-Rod has never faced a hostile crowd before. It's a lot more fun that way.

If he's even 75 percent of the player he was before he was suspended, A-Rod can help the Yankees too, especially the offensively challenged Yankees of 2014.

Considering he is being paid $21 million next season, that's good to hear. I'm not going to mention that as much of a douchebag asshole as A-Rod has been through the years, it's funny how once the Yankees offense starts stumbling sportswriters start talking about him in a positive fashion as someone who can help the team. Wait, I did just mention it. It's almost like A-Rod is overpaid, but still a reasonably useful baseball player.

But there's no guarantee that when he comes back to the Yankees -- and his yearlong suspension ends as soon as the World Series is over -- that aside from his lavish paycheck, Rodriguez will enjoy any of the perks he did before he was set down, or any of the deference the manager showed to Jeter. 

Again, no one thought Alex Rodriguez would be treated in the same way that Derek Jeter was treated during his final season in the majors. Anyone who thought A-Rod would be treated as a conquering hero upon being reinstated is an idiot or simply stuck in 2002.

Which sets up a mouthwatering question for Girardi's postseason news conference a year from now:

After being accused in 2014 of playing Derek Jeter too much, will Girardi in 2015 face charges that he didn't play Alex Rodriguez enough?

My mouth is officially watered. Tell you what, if Alex Rodriguez plays well enough to play third base a lot during the 2015 season then I am betting Joe Girardi will play A-Rod a lot. Girardi won't reasonably know if A-Rod will play well enough until five months from now in spring training. Hence, he doesn't name A-Rod the starting third baseman yet. Somehow it makes sense if you just take the time to think about it. He won't be treated like Derek Jeter and I doubt anyone thought he would be treated in a similar fashion. 

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.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

8 comments "Derek Jeter is Worth $12 Million to the Yankees Because He's Derek Jeter" Says the Lemming Media

I have no issue with the Yankees re-signing Derek Jeter to a one year contract for $12 million. It's their money and they can do with it what they want. I don't think it was a very smart move though. I like how the Yankees gave $12 million to Derek Jeter, after an injury-prone year where it isn't out of the question to wonder if he will ever be able to play something close to a full season again, and the media has ZERO problem with this. None. It's not that they think Jeter will bounce back, it's that he is Derek Jeter, so OF COURSE he deserves this much money. This is the same media that froths at the mouth about how Robinson Cano isn't worth what he will get on the free agent market, seem to be well-aware the Yankees seem to now have a budget, and are also aware the Yankees have an old team and that was part of their issues this past season. Giving Jeter $12 million (actually $12.8 million...not exactly sure how that number became the cap figure) is not a problem and he deserves it because of his past performance...which is always the best way to compensate a player for the upcoming year, not on current or future performance, but on past performance.

First, Bob Nightengale pats the Yankees on the back. 

The New York Yankees, desperate to slash their massive payroll below their self-imposed salary cap for 2014, plan to play hardball with everyone this winter.

Well, everyone except Derek Jeter.

And really, if the Yankees aren't going to play hardball with anyone then it should be the 39 year-old shortstop who played in 17 games and got 73 plate appearances the season before. That's the guy they should just give as much money to as possible.

And yes, I realize Jeter is worth more to the Yankees than any other team and the Yankees weren't going to not re-sign him, but now one questions the Yankees for being able to exercise his club option at $9.5 million and actually giving him a raise instead? No one thinks this wasn't the best move by the Yankees, even if it is only $2.5 million?

The Yankees will privately tell you they have no idea whether he can be an everyday shortstop any longer.

Brilliant move then. Completely defensible in every manner and there is no need to even question it for one second.

They have no clue to whether he can still be a productive hitter.

They should have given him $15 million then.

He missed 145 games.

And he hit .190.

So what do the Yankees do?

They give him a raise, of course.

I'm not saying lowball the guy, but he isn't playing much longer in the majors and $9.5 million is still really good compensation for Jeter coming off a season where he played 17 games. Jeter signed the contract that said the team had a club option at $9.5 million, so why waste $2.5 million and give him a raise? Shouldn't this be a question some writer asks rather than just saying, "Derr..............he's Derek Jeter, so of course he deserves more money."

The Yankees had Jeter over the barrel this time. They could have merely exercised their club option at $9.5 million, and told him take it, or leave it.

Jeter, who knows he'll never play anywhere else, would have had no choice but to accept it.

He would have had a choice, but Jeter would have been kind of a dick if he demanded a trade because the Yankees exercised a clause in the contract he signed. 39 years of age coming off a season where he played 17 games doesn't give Jeter the most leverage to demand a trade.

Yet, after missing the playoffs for only the second time in 17 seasons this past year, with the harsh possibility that they will have an early vacation again after the 2014 season, it's no time to create bad will.

Call it the anti A-Rod sentiment.

So of course, it's A-Rod's fault that Jeter got a $2.5 million raise from his club option of $9.5 million. Of course it is A-Rod's fault. At this point, everything is A-Rod's fault. Global warming, the Holocaust, the conflict in the Middle East, the existence of Miley Cyrus, and anything else that can be thought of. All A-Rod's fault. Jeter isn't overpaid nor will he underperform his contract, but if he does, then it is A-Rod's fault the Yankees signed Jeter to that contract because A-Rod is such an asshole.

Yet, even if this $2.5 million bump costs the Yankees a middle reliever next season, it'll be worth every penny of goodwill.

Goodwill doesn't win games. If goodwill won games then the Blue Jays would be World Series champs because their spending spree a winter ago got them a lot of goodwill from their fans. It doesn't matter if the $2.5 million costs the Yankees a middle reliever because that can be blamed on A-Rod.

They couldn't afford another acrimonious salary negotiation with Jeter, 39, not after the open hostilities during the last talks in 2010, when he came off a 10-year, $189 million contract. They signed Jeter to a three-year, $51 million contract with a 2014 option.

Only in the case of Derek Jeter could an acrimonious salary negotiation not only leave zero stink on the player, but the next time the player's contract runs out, the media will say the team actually couldn't afford another tough negotiation with that player. Only for Jeter could the media believe the club actually owes him something after not immediately giving in to his contract demands three years ago.

They decided that even if this is going to be Jeter's final season, and tougher decisions need to be made to get below the luxury tax, let it be a peaceful one.

And if Jeter wasn't happy with the club option for $9.5 million on the contract he chose to sign, then why would the Yankees be at fault for this? Wouldn't this be a reflection on Jeter and how he is (hypothetically) demanding too much money coming off the season he had in 2013? Of course not. The Yankees need to appease Jeter because they wouldn't want him to throw a fit about "only" getting $9.5 million coming off a season where he played 17 games.

The man, after all, will become the most tenured player in franchise history the moment he steps onto the field in 2014. The 13-time All-Star has helped the Yankees win five World Series titles, and needless to say, make tens of millions of dollars.

Very true, but the biggest mistake a professional team can make is pay a player in the future for his past performance. It leads to dumb financial mistakes nearly every time.

In hindsight, Jeter should have shut himself down at the end of 2012 with his badly sprained ankle, but refused to stop playing, until it broke during the American League Championship Series against the Tigers.

That's Jeter.

Ah yes, that's Jeter. A-Rod was the epitome of selfish for working hard to re-join the Yankees, but that's just Jeter to play through an injury.

He had missed only 82 games in his career during his first 18 seasons, but his body finally gave out.

What a hero. This is, of course, why Jeter should be paid more than the value of his club option. It's not like he's been well-compensated during his career or anything. He's only made $253 million over his career. Healthcare costs to pay for that broken body is expensive.

This won't be Mariano Rivera retiring at the top of his game with a celebrated farewell tour.

This will be one of the greatest Yankees in history, retiring after the 2014 season, knowing that the time has come to put away the spikes for good.

I have a feeling this same thing will be written after this year. I have a feeling 2014 isn't Jeter's last year, but apparently Bob Nightengale is feeling nostalgic and thinks 2014 is Jeter's last season.

The Yankees realize this, and this $12 million contract is a farewell gift, thanking him for these past 19 beautiful seasons.

And really, when your best hitter is a free agent and the team desperately needs to acquire talent to get younger and less injury-prone players, why not make it rain by giving a 39 year old shortstop $2.5 million more than you are required to give him? It's not like the Yankees have other holes on their team to fill or anything.

It was the right move, and a classy gesture.

No need to question it at all.

Just don't expect him to play like a $12 million shortstop.

And of course because it is Derek Jeter, if he doesn't have to live up to his contract then one will care. Watch out though if the Yankees give Edwin Santana a one year deal for $12 million. If he has a 4.65 ERA and pitches 32 games, winning 14 of them then Bob Nightengale will be glad to say what a disappointment Santana is.

Now, the since-fired Danny Knobler will also marvel at what a great idea it was to give Jeter $2.5 million than the value of his clue option. I don't think Knobler was fired for writing this column, but he may have deserved to be fired for not even suggesting possibly this wasn't the best move by the Yankees.

The Yankees just signed him for $12 million.


Because he's Derek Jeter.

"Because he's Person X" is always great reasoning to overpay a player. What could go wrong? The Angels signed Albert Pujols for $200 million-plus. Why? He's Albert Pujols!

The new deal will actually give them a slightly higher Jeter salary for luxury-tax calculations, not a lower one.

And yet, there's no need to question this deal apparently.

So why do it, when the Yankees could have simply let Jeter exercise his $9.5 million player option for 2014?

Because he's Derek Jeter.

Repeating the same reason over and over doesn't make it more correct nor means something should happen due to the reason being repeated. Only Danny Knobler and a six-year old don't understand this.

Jeter and agent Casey Close worked out the new deal with Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner. And if Steinbrenner's goal was to avoid any of the acrimony that went along with Jeter's last negotiation with the Yankees, well, then maybe it was $2.5 million (the difference between the $9.5 million option and the new $12 million contract) well spent.

I get it, I really do. Jeter is a great player and a "true" Yankee (whatever that means). He's part of the "Core Four" and will be in the Hall of Fame. Still, being afraid of Jeter and any demands he might make isn't a reason to give him $2.5 million more than his club option is worth. He signed the contract that included a club option for $9.5 million. Imagine if the Yankees exercised a club option for Curtis Granderson and then gave him $2.5 million more than the club option because they were afraid of acrimonious negotiations. I can't imagine the media would just be okay with this without questioning why Granderson was going to demand more money. I also can't imagine the New York media wouldn't be willing to criticize Granderson for demanding more money in an offseason where the Yankees had a quite few holes on the roster to fill.

If Jeter was such a team player wouldn't he just be happy with $9.5 million so the Yankees could spend the other money to make the team as a whole better? After all, we've heard for 20 years what a team player Jeter is, so why would he cause acrimonious negotiations in this situation and why would the media not call out Jeter a little bit for squeezing a few more dollars out of the Yankees? If Jeter was going to throw a fit about only making $9.5 million (and that's the implication both Nightengale and Knobler have given), doesn't that make him a little bit selfish?

Even if Jeter can't play at a $12 million level (or any level) next year.

Which apparently is just perfectly fine. It's fine Jeter is overpaid, just don't call him overpaid because he's Derek Jeter.

Jeter maintained late in the season that he should be better after a full winter of recovery and work, but he maintained last winter that he would be able to play at his usual high level.

But why spend time questioning whether Jeter is worth $2.5 million more than his club option when that time can be spent sucking him off for the thousandth time? 

Medical people unconnected to his case have been skeptical that he can, and especially that he can play shortstop at an acceptable level on a daily basis. It can't help that Jeter will turn 40 next June 26.

No Danny, that probably doesn't help.

As the Yankees go through the rest of their winter, they'll certainly need to make sure they have a backup plan at short, in case Jeter can't make it or simply proves to be too immobile or too compromised by the ankle to handle playing shortstop.

So basically, re-signing Jeter to a $12 million deal rather than exercising his $2.5 club option was just dumb all around. This $2.5 million could have been used to help sign a free agent shortstop like Skip Schumaker, Omar Infante, or Nick Punto (he got $3 million from the A's). These aren't great options, but this money could have put to good use somewhere else. The Yankees are already looking to Infante as a backup plan for Robinson Cano. So the Yankees basically blew the money they could have used on a backup in order to make sure Derek Jeter didn't start an acrimonious negotiation over his contract...not that Jeter would EVER be acrimonious and do anything to hurt the Yankees team of course.

But as long as Jeter wanted to come back, the Yankees had very little choice but to say yes. He had that player option in his contract ... and he's Derek Jeter.

They absolutely should have exercised the option. I simply don't get why they gave him a raise. I'm sure someone has a good answer for me.

The Yankees could have held fast at the $9.5 million and risked a public relations problem, or they could work out a deal for a higher number they could accept.

They settled on $12 million.

It must be great to be Derek Jeter. You can come off a season where you only played 17 games, see your team exercise a team option in a contract you signed three years ago, have the team increase the value of the club option because they are afraid you won't like the monetary amount of the team option, and then the media doesn't blink an eye or in any way call you greedy or not a team player.

It seems like a lot, if you think of Jeter as a soon-to-be-40 shortstop with questionable health.

It doesn't seem like a lot. It is a lot.

It doesn't seem like much if you just think of him as Derek Jeter, the most popular player on a team where so many other stars are fading or departing.

But Jeter is one of those players on the Yankees team who is fading. He played in 17 games last year with an injury that, given his age, there is no guarantee he will recover from. Jeter could very well be fading, and yet, Danny Knobler acts like those injuries to Mark Texeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson didn't happen to Jeter at all. He wasn't injured last year, he just tried too hard to come back.

I think it is hilarious there isn't one peep from media members like Bob Nightengale and Danny Knobler about Jeter getting $12 million per year, even though they admit it probably isn't money well-spent. But alas, Jeter deserves it because he is Derek Jeter and because the Yankees don't want him mad at them.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

3 comments Scoop Jackson Hates Plea Bargains

Just a heads up that there are 3 more spots open in the BotB Fantasy Football League. The league ID is 265989 and the password is "eckstein" if anyone else cares to join. 

God, I'm tired of talking about steroids and I'm tired of talking about A-Rod. I'm tired of talking about steroids, Biogenesis and A-Rod. Regardless, Scoop Jackson has decided to comment on the MLB investigation into Biogenesis and he doesn't understand why MLB is cutting deals with these cheaters. Well, MLB really only cut a deal with Ryan Braun, but Scoop must think this is the beginning of a trend. I'm not sure Scoop understands the appeals process and other aspects of the CBA. Players get a chance to appeal their suspension (except for A-Rod of course because Bud Selig wanted to choose to completely fucking ignore the CBA and decide he is going with the Roger Goodell "Detective, Prosecutor, Judge, Jury, Appellate Court" version of handing out punishment to A-Rod) and so MLB will try to cut a deal with the player to get the player to admit to PED use and then hand out a lesser sentence. Really, baseball has only done this once with Ryan Braun. This isn't a court of law, but this is the baseball version of a plea bargain and Scoop isn't having any of it. 

As we waited this week to see whether Major League Baseball would suspend more players, Alex Rodriguez reportedly was being offered a "deal" to save himself from being banned from baseball forever.

MLB had "voluminous evidence" against A-Rod, according to various accounts of the rumored negotiations.

And of course in the history of sports and life no organization has ever reduced a person's punishment in exchange for admitting the deed they are accused of doing. If Bud Selig is going to violate the CBA and the drug agreement with the union (okay, maybe I am overstating it a bit, but Selig originally wanted to use his commissioner's powers in this situation like Roger Goodell and David Stern use their powers when they want to show off the power they have) then MLB may as well just ensure A-Rod can't cut a deal to save himself either I guess. Let's just treat A-Rod completely different from the other Biogenesis guys and try to drive him from the United States if possible. Deport A-Rod!

But, before that happens, it appears from the outside as if MLB wants to look out for Rodriguez. It looks as though it wants to make sure the player who has continuously lied to its investigators -- probably more than Anthony Weiner has lied to his wife --

Relevant pop-culture-ish reference! This relevant political reference means this column feels relevant.

is punished in a way that is in his best interest, not the game's.

And here's the crazy: It did the same for Ryan Braun.

It's not really crazy. MLB avoids having to take the case to an arbitrator and gets the player to admit to using PED's. Getting the player to admit to PED use is a big deal. It pretty much seals the deal and prevents an appeal where a player could be off the hook on a technicality. Now baseball can ensure if Braun violates the drug policy for a second (third?) time, they have him admitting he used PED's which go a long way towards giving him a 245.333 game suspension or whatever new random suspension method baseball has concocted at that point.

Since when did "striking deals" after someone is found guilty become the method of operation?

A-Rod had not been found guilty when there were talks of striking a deal with him. There is a difference in being found guilty and having enough evidence to present a strong case for guilt. Rodriguez hasn't been found guilty yet, so MLB would have been giving him a chance to admit what he did before presenting their strong case of guilt. It's a pretty standard way of dealing with a person who has allegedly committed a wrong. Give them a chance to confess and lighten their sentence or work out a deal to lighten the sentence. MLB didn't give A-Rod a deal and A-Rod would apparently have not accepted a deal. At this point, it is too late for A-Rod to cut a deal because his suspension has been handed down. Had A-Rod wanted to avoid the press conferences, the constant media coverage of anything he says, and had MLB wanted to avoid going through an appeals process with A-Rod, they have could have offered him a deal to admit guilt.

When did the protection and preservation of guilty players' careers become agreed-upon, acceptable and standard procedure?

It's not really the preservation of the players' careers, but more giving the player an opportunity to continue his career if he is honest. The courts, MLB, and various other entities/organizations have been offering a lifeline like this for as long as I can remember. I'm sure if Pete Rose had been more forthcoming with MLB he could have avoided the lifetime banishment from baseball. By striking a deal, the player will agree to be found guilty and MLB doesn't have to worry about the time and effort to present their case to an arbitrator. Even in slam-dunk cases, there is always a chance the player will get off on a technicality, especially if the appeal takes place in Florida. So MLB gives the player incentive to essentially plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence and they don't do this for every player they have evidence used PED's.

In all of the backlash that seems to be coming out by the hour after Braun's and Rodriguez's Lance Armstrong-like moralistic falls from superstardom, one detail seems to be continually ignored: baseball's art of plea bargaining.

I'm reading a lot of this Lance Armstrong comparison crap when it comes to some of the more well-known Biogenesis-affiliated baseball players. It's not the same. Lance Armstrong lied for over a decade, ruined the name of several journalists and fellow cyclists who tried to out him and was remarkably brazen in his innocence. A-Rod and Braun have been brazen, but they haven't gotten to the level of ruining another person's reputation (I stand corrected. As rightly pointed out in the comments, Ryan Braun did try to hurt the reputation of the urine sample collector two years ago when he tested positive. I have forgotten about this. The only person whose reputation A-Rod has hurt is his own, because nobody likes him anymore) or suing a person for daring to accuse them of using PED's. I don't think A-Rod or Braun rise to the level of Lance Armstrong.

Even though players are protected (to a degree) by the collective bargaining agreement, a stronger system and mentality needs to be set in place that enforces Article XII (B) the same way the FBI or DEA enforces the law on criminals when its agents show up on their doorsteps wearing windbreakers.

Are these criminals tried on the spot and never given an opportunity to provide a defense or plea bargain at trial? The answer 99% of the time is "no." So this isn't a comparable situation. The FBI and DEA enforce the law on criminals, but there is a completely different "trial by jury" legal system that determines the punishment and guilt of these criminals. I won't disagree that possibly MLB needs to be harder on those accused of using PED's, but there has to be an evidence gathering process, a presentation of the evidence, and somewhere in that point MLB could decide to offer the player a deal in exchange for an admission of guilt.

How can the players take that law seriously if they know that, even after the law is broken and "voluminous evidence" is found against them, they still have the leverage to work out a deal?

I'm pretty sure the players have a chance to provide evidence or appeal to a third-party arbitrator. Even if the CBA says players can be disciplined, there is an appeal mechanism set up for the players to use. So rather than waste time going through this appeals process MLB will often give the player a chance to confess and then lighten the sentence. It's a very common practice, even outside of sports.

The line the game has put in place for its players not to cross is too soft. Players such as Braun and Rodriguez know that.

Partially correct, but mostly the incentive to cheat is too high for these players. They can make a lot of money using PED's. Even if MLB wants to make one violation of the drug policy a lifetime banishment then I am betting there would still be room for a plea bargain in certain cases. That's just part of life.

Who allows someone to strike a deal to make a foreseeable punishment more convenient for the crime committer after the people in power have notified him that basically "we got you"?

The United States legal system and various other organizations that will allow a person to confess to a crime and lessen the sentence received. Corporations will sometimes allow an employee to admit to wrongdoing and will choose not to seek prosecution in exchange for the employee not choosing to pursue any type of litigation or continue to fight the charges against him/her. There is a difference in the collecting evidence stage and the penalty stage. MLB has a lot of evidence on A-Rod, but they would rather A-Rod admit to his crime so they can avoid an appeal or a third-party arbitrator looking at the evidence. As they say, you never know what a jury will do. The same thing goes for an arbitrator. I don't know if MLB ever offered A-Rod a deal or if Bud Selig would have allowed a deal with A-Rod to be worked out. It seems like Selig really wanted to stick it to A-Rod.

Only baseball.

Read this paragraph: After MLB's original meeting with [Ryan] Braun on June 29, at which he refused to answer questions about Biogenesis, he requested a second meeting, a source familiar with the discussions told T.J. Quinn of ESPN's "Outside The Lines." Braun, after realizing the significance of the evidence against him from questions in the first meeting, decided to meet again to strike a deal that would limit his suspension to this season, according to the source.
Code words 1: "Strike a deal." Code words 2: "After realizing the significance of the evidence against him."

I realize MLB's form of punishment isn't the American legal system, but many times when defendants realize the strength of the case against him he will choose to see if he can cut a deal. If the prosecutor chooses to go this route then a deal will be cut to save the taxpayers the time and cost of a trial.

Baseball needs entitlement reform. It needs to start treating the law breakers of the game like real criminals if it truly wants the sanctity, morality, honor, trust and belief of the sport ever to return.

Real criminals are sometimes given a chance to accept a plea deal or bargain for a lesser sentence. It's not a sign of MLB's weakness they will accept a plea deal, but a sign of how badly they want to get past the Steroid Era and scandals like Biogenesis. They want all of these scandals to go away. 

It exposes MLB for how weak it really is, and it does nothing to make the players or their union respect the authority of the league.

Braun confessing to using PED's and accepting a lesser penalty without MLB having to publicly present their evidence is evidence he respected the authority of the league and the strength of the evidence against him. Perhaps the penalties for PED use are weak, but I don't believe lessening a sentence in exchange for an admission of guilt makes MLB look weak. Braun's been busted for violating the drug policy and admitted he did it. I think that's a big win.

It gives the players too large of an out, even in the face of due process.

By cutting deals, commissioner Bud Selig allows players to remain above the game -- which was the problem in the first place and is the problem now. It also keeps alive reasonable doubt and feeds speculation about whether baseball actually is going to take a true stand against what it keeps telling us is its biggest problem.

I can see this point of view. I can see why the first positive drug test for a PED would result in a lifetime ban, but then I can also see how a player should get a chance to mess up once and still remain eligible to play Major League Baseball after they serve a suspension. 

Prosecutors have always cut deals in the legal system, but, for the most part, those deals are done/made before the client/defendant is found guilty or if the client admits to guilt. 

Right, and the very few agreed-to plea deals in MLB are done before the player is found guilty and before he admits to any wrongdoing. That's part of the deal. The player admits to being guilty and he gets a lesser sentence. So MLB's form of a plea bargain is very similar to how the legal system cuts deals. Many in the public may have made up their mind on a player's guilt based on the evidence, but this doesn't mean the player has actually been found guilty of PED use. I think Scoop is getting this point confused. We know Ryan Braun used PED's (again), but the information had not been presented to the public nor had the information gone through the appeals process the union and MLB had set up. I don't love shorter suspensions for players, but it is part of the system. MLB wants the Biogenesis scandal to go away and wants to keep giving young stars like Ryan Braun a second chance (really a third chance, but how Braun's first positive test and appeal went down is one reason MLB will offer shorter suspensions for an admission of guilt to him).

Baseball's rules and CBA and players' union don't make it easy for the league to go after players. Sometimes concessions must be made, which is understood.

Except Scoop doesn't understand the very reason behind these concessions because he thinks making concessions isn't something MLB should ever do...unless they have to of course...but they shouldn't...unless these concessions have to be made...which should never happen...until it's necessary. 

It defers too much to the player's needs and demands, which the player should have lost the right to push for once he violated the rules.

Here's the issue. The player has lost the right to push for his needs and demands to be deferred to once he has been proven to violate the rules. As long as there is an appeals process the player hasn't officially violated the rules until he doesn't appeal his suspension or his appeal is denied. In fact, since it seems Scoop doesn't understand how the process he is writing this column about works I will write it down for him. I'll even over-simplify it for him.

1. Player X is investigated by MLB for having used PED's or violating the MLB drug policy in some way. Player X has not been shown to have committed anything wrong during this investigation portion.

2. Based on the evidence from the investigation, MLB determines whether Player X actually used PED's and determine the suspension or other penalty the player should face based on prior violations of the drug policy or whether they want to make an example of the player or not (I'm kidding about the last part...or am I?). At this point Player X would know he is being investigated and would have the option of telling MLB "I want to work out a deal in exchange for admitting guilt." MLB hasn't routinely worked out deals for players, but it's always an option. This is the part Scoop doesn't like.

3. MLB presents Player X and Player X's representatives with the evidence and state there will be a suspension of a certain number games for violating MLB's drug policy. Player X can decide at this point to accept the suspension or appeal the suspension. This is the part MLB occasionally would like to skip and why a select number of players are allowed to plea bargain. If Player X appeals then he is accused of violating the rules, but it's up to an arbitrator to decide if Player X did violate the rules or to shorten Player X's sentence. Player X is accused of violating the rules, but not necessarily guilty of it at this point. Obviously Player X did violate the rules if he admits to violating the league's drug policy rather than appeal the suspension.

4. If Player X appeals the suspension and wins then he is found to not have violated the rules and if the arbitrator upholds MLB's suspension based on the evidence then Player X is obviously guilty of violating the league's drug policy and will be suspended accordingly. If the arbitrator shortens Player X's suspension then Player X is still guilty, but just has a lesser sentence.

So plea bargaining, which doesn't happen all that often, takes place in Step 2 and is done in order to skip Parts 3 and 4 where the player could have his suspension overturned or reduced. I don't think plea bargaining is the key to ridding MLB of PED's, but in the case of a player like Ryan Braun, MLB felt it was the best policy to get him to admit to using PED's and ensuring he got suspended.

It's understandable that A-Rod or any other player facing sanction might question the impartiality of a commissioner who is a former owner and investigators paid by the owners. But Selig is only feeding the public version of those doubts by not fully punishing Braun, given the evidence we've been led to believe the commissioner has in hand.

The potential for additional players to still be able to request deals is what my grandmother would call asinine.

Your grandmother would also know that no other players struck a plea bargain deal and no other player may have been offered a plea bargain deal. All of the other MLB players found guilty of using PED's through Biogenesis accepted their suspension, so this plea bargain given to Braun isn't offered to every player. 

This is about after-the-facts. About how players shouldn't get to make deals after lying in the face of baseball and after enough evidence has been found against them to prove guilt.

There is enough evidence in the opinion of MLB and Bud Selig, but, and I can't emphasize this enough, anything can happen at an appeal. We saw this almost two years ago when Ryan Braun got his first suspension for using PED's overturned by an arbitrator due to the chain of custody being broken during the testing process. It's not like Braun had been found guilty by an arbitrator and then MLB just randomly offered to shorten Braun's suspension. The entire appeal process was skipped and Braun was suspended. Not everyone may agree there was enough evidence to prove Braun's guilt and that's the point of cutting a deal with Braun. 

And how they should be held unequivocally responsible for "disrespecting the game" with the choices they keep getting caught making.

I agree with this, but once a player confesses to using PED's then that player is being held responsible for the decision he made. Maybe he isn't being held responsible to the full extent of what MLB could do, but MLB is getting the player to admit guilt, which is very important. Think about it, if Ryan Braun had accepted a plea deal instead of taking it to an arbitrator the first time he violated MLB's drug policy then this next instance (if there was one) could have resulted in a stronger sentence than a 65 game suspension. It's a good deal for both sides. Braun gets a lesser sentence and MLB has him admitting he was guilty, removing all doubt.

Much like curing cancer or solving world hunger, I don't think MLB can rid themselves completely of PED's forever and always. It's just not realistic. There is way too much incentive for a player to bend the rules of MLB's drug policy. Much of this whole Biogenesis case has been about Bud Selig saving his legacy and going hard on PED users as a reaction to baseball's Steroid Era leaving a black stain on the baseball record books. If Selig wants to do his best to rid MLB of PED's then maybe penalties should start at a one year suspension for the first violation and a lifetime suspension for the second violation. I do know offering a plea bargain to select players in exchange for a confession isn't an often-used tactic. These baseball players don't believe they will get caught using PED's or else they wouldn't use them, so I doubt they would rely on cutting a deal with MLB to shorten their suspension if they did get caught.

I think Scoop is underestimating how important a confession of PED use is to MLB and how anything can happen during the appeals process.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

0 comments Wallace Matthews Tells Us Alex Rodriguez is Not Lou Gehrig; Also Reminds Us that Fire is Hot

I spend more time than I would like writing about columns that eviscerate Alex Rodriguez and it feels like I am defending him, which isn't my intention at all. Of course now it looks like A-Rod is going to get hit hard by MLB for his affiliation with Biogenesis, so who the hell would want to defend him for anything? I figured I would post this even though A-Rod's fight to re-join the Yankees has been undermined by his own self. This is what I get for sitting on column and not writing on it until a couple of days ago. I think it shows the topic of A-Rod seems to bring a lot of columnists' blood to it's boiling point and gibberish tends to get written due to this. Today, Wallace Matthews tells us that A-Rod is not Lou Gehrig and then manages to criticize A-Rod for trying to come back from a hip injury to help the Yankees win games. It's a nice balance Wallace shows. He criticizes A-Rod for being overpaid, but also criticizes A-Rod for daring to rehab from his injury and re-join the Yankees team. Of course if A-Rod didn't play for the Yankees anymore then who would Wallace and the rest of the New York sports media pick on?

This column is called "New York Yankees won't get Independence from Alex Rodriguez" and it was written on July 4. Get it? It was written on Independence Day and that's exactly what the Yankees won't be getting from Alex Rodriguez. This is journalism, people. Step back if you can't handle the awesomeness that Wallace Matthews is putting right in your face. 

On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig, a 35-year-old man dying of an insidious disease that would one day bear his name, stood before a bank of microphones set up at home plate at the old Yankee Stadium and famously proclaimed himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

On the same day 74 years later, in the pages of a newspaper, Alex Rodriguez, a 38-year-old man in the prime of health and with another $114 million guaranteed him, portrayed himself as a beleaguered victim of circumstances heroically determined to fight on despite what he believes to be the unwarranted scorn of his employers and many of his team's fans.

A-Rod is in the prime of his health except for the injuries that have prevented him from playing at all during the 2013 season. Point taken though. A-Rod isn't Lou Gehrig. In fact, few people are Lou Gehrig so this is kind of a dumb way to start off a column. A-Rod deserves whatever MLB throws at him, but he wasn't Lou Gehrig long before he was tied to Biogenesis.

There's a reason Gehrig was known as The Iron Horse, and many reasons A-Rod is known by several other nicknames, at least one of which also has the word "horse" in it.

Actually Wallace, the word "centaur" does not have "horse" in it, but I think A-Rod is the only one that considers himself a centaur anyway. But yes, no one likes A-Rod and how dare he attempt to re-join the Yankees. He needs to stay away from ever playing baseball again so Wallace can keep talking about how useless and overpaid he is. If A-Rod plays well then he might start to look even somewhat worth the money he is getting paid and Wallace Matthews can't have that. So Wallace is probably thrilled that A-Rod is going to be suspended hard by MLB.

"My mom's had a hard time with all of this the last nine months, watching everything," Rodriguez told USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "My god, I hate to see her go through this. And my daughters are sitting there and watching their dad. I want to make them proud. I want to make my mom proud."

A couple of points here:

1. A-Rod is talking about what he has caused his family members to go through and how he wants to get back on the field and make them proud. He's not feeling bad for himself, but simply noting that he has let his family down and doesn't want to do that anymore.

2. The fact A-Rod's family members are going through something is A-Rod's fault. Outside of the injuries he has gone through, nearly every other issue has been A-Rod's fault or partly been his doing. So I don't feel bad for him.

3. A-Rod is a dipshit, but I have a hard time eviscerating him for wanting to get healthy and produce on the field for the Yankees. Maybe I give him too much benefit of the doubt. He's an ass and he is a cheater, but he really seems like he wants to play baseball again. It doesn't excuse his cheating obviously.

Never mind that whatever Alex Rodriguez's mother has been "going through" over the past nine months, or even nine years, is most likely because of the actions of her son,

I don't think at any point in that article A-Rod tried to make it seem like he wasn't the cause of what they were "going through." In fact, here are some quotes from A-Rod in this very USA Today column that Wallace Matthews is referring to and these are quotes Wallace intentionally leaves out because it doesn't fit the agenda he has:

"I'm the first one to say last year that I stunk,'' Rodriguez says. "It was a bloodbath. I'm not running away from that.

"It's the (expletive) pink elephant in the room, I know I'm better than that.''

Yeah, "the pink elephant." Only A-Rod would say "pink elephant" instead of just "elephant." 

"I've got to be honest with myself,'' Rodriguez says, "I haven't played well for a long time. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I'm going to go out and hit 50 home runs, or any of that craziness. But I can be someone who can have a big impact in the middle of our lineup.

"Just to have the opportunity to put on the pinstripes, and compete again at Yankee Stadium, and helping my team win, it's a day that I've been dreaming about a long time now.

What an asshole, right? A-Rod didn't say much about Biogenesis on advice of his attorney, but he clearly seems to be taking responsibility for his play on the field. He won't take responsibility for Biogenesis (not yet), but it seems somewhat clear to me he knows that A-Rod isn't looking to cash a paycheck, blame others, then go home. He wants to play again, or at least have the chance to strike out and get booed again.

Of course Wallace also leaves out how Derek Jeter defended A-Rod, but this type of thing is only used to show what a great guy Jeter is as opposed to being used for the media to look in the mirror occasionally about their treatment of A-Rod.

"Why would he be a distraction?'' Jeter told reporters. "You guys (in the media) may be a distraction to him if you ask him questions, but I've never seen how someone can be a distraction to a team, you know what I mean? Because we don't have to deal with it.

"As far as (reporters) being a distraction to him, I'm sure he probably gets tired of answering questions. There's no way he can be a distraction to us."

For Yankees fans, the bottom line is this: On July 4, 2013, Alex Rodriguez made it clear that there will be no Independence Day for them, not from him, anyway.

And herein lies my issue with Wallace Matthews writing this column. Wallace wants to rip A-Rod for being overpaid and wants to rip him for daring to work to come back from his injury so he can re-join the Yankees team. The bottom line is Wallace doesn't want A-Rod to come back because he wants to keep calling A-Rod useless. So Wallace decides to start ripping A-Rod for even daring to not give up on the Yankees.

So if A-Rod came out and stated he was just quitting baseball, would Wallace Matthews applaud this decision? Obviously he wants the Yankees to be rid of A-Rod, so does Wallace think it is a noble endeavor for A-Rod to just quit now and not try to play for the Yankees this season? Something tells me if A-Rod quit on the Yankees Wallace would rip him for that. It's a no-win situation that A-Rod has put himself in with the New York media. No matter what he does, they will criticize him. What's so funny is that is it incredibly easy to criticize A-Rod, but still the New York media has to resort to accusing him of insurance fraud and mocking his attempts to play out the remaining years of his contract. It's over the top at times.

In other words, perish those thoughts of early retirement or demanding a trade or being willing to negotiate a payout of the five years remaining on his contract.

Because quitting on the Yankees or demanding a trade is a much more team-oriented way of Alex Rodriguez ending his career. Can you imagine how Wallace Matthews would tear into A-Rod if he demanded a trade or just retired? Wallace would destroy A-Rod for daring to demand a trade after all the money the Yankees gave him and how patient they were with his struggles. Wallace would call A-Rod a "quitter" if he just retired now. There's no doubt in my mind this is what would happen. So for Wallace to suggest A-Rod take early retirement or demand a trade is ridiculous because if A-Rod did either of these things we would still get a shitty column saying that A-Rod is not Lou Gehrig.

Alex Rodriguez sounds as if he's determined to remain a Yankee until the bitter end.

Dedication and the unwillingness to give up in the face of increased scrutiny and adversity. These are not characteristics you want in a professional athlete.

The objectionable part is that A-Rod is trying to portray himself as fighting the good fight, a noble man attempting to triumph over an army of haters.

What is objectionable to me is that Wallace Matthews doesn't realize this statement is half-true. I don't think A-Rod is fighting the good fight, but ignoring the Biogenesis scandal, he really is attempting to triumph over an army of haters. The army of haters are the writers like Wallace Matthews who will criticize A-Rod no matter what decision he makes. If A-Rod quits, he gets called a quitter, if A-Rod fights back from an injury, he's told he isn't wanted.

Just about every bit of the imagined "adversity" Alex Rodriguez thinks he is confronting is of his own making.

To an extent this is true. I'm not sure the injury he suffered to his hip was of his own making, but I guess that injury is sort of his fault for being a human.

Also, Wallace is making words up that A-Rod spoke now. Go search the Bob Nightengale interview with A-Rod. Here's the link. I'll wait. Do a search for the word "adversity." You won't find it because at no point did A-Rod use that word to describe what he is facing. So I'm not sure where Wallace's "adversity" reference comes from since A-Rod never actually used this word. I would expect nothing less from Wallace though. He has plenty of ammo to criticize A-Rod, yet he insists on stretching the truth even the tiniest bit to make A-Rod seem worse than he is. So Wallace has used a word in parenthesis quoting A-Rod that A-Rod didn't ever say.

He is the one who chose to live a high-profile lifestyle, and then complained about all the media attention it draws, sort of like the kid who kills his own parents and then begs for leniency on the grounds he is an orphan.

Except A-Rod is worse than a murderer. He's like a murderer of murderers except that he is a murderer of murderers that only murders puppies, kittens, children and rare pandas when he isn't murdering murderers.

He is the one who chose to play in high-stake, possibly illegal, poker games -- and then to continue playing in them after MLB and the Yankees ordered him not to.

Michael Jordan played high-stake poker games all the time. I guess because he is Michael Jordan then that is no big deal. Charles Barkley and Charles Oakley played in these games as well. My point is that A-Rod isn't the first athlete to pay in high-stake poker games.

He is the one who chose to put part of the blame for his steroid abuse on his cousin Yuri Sucart -- and then to continue to employ him as a go-fer after the Yankees ordered him not to.

He is the one who chose to have his hip surgeon, Dr. Bryan Kelly, speak to a reporter and lay out a preemptive denial that his hip problems were caused by steroid abuse after his team had ordered the doctor to keep all information about A-Rod's medical condition confidential.

I don't think anyone will argue A-Rod has handled himself well throughout his career. This still doesn't explain why A-Rod should be criticized for working hard to re-join the Yankees this year. Also, the Yankees do a lot of "ordering" don't they? Maybe the team should order itself to develop some better organizational minor league depth so when injuries occur they aren't struggling to find backups.

He is the one who chose to give an interview to a national magazine ripping Derek Jeter.

That's really what this is about. Writers like Wallace Matthews won't ever forgive A-Rod for ripping Derek Jeter. All coverage of A-Rod will remain negative for time immemorial due to his previous comments about Derek Jeter.

He is the one who, while in the midst of a horrendous October slump in the middle of a series his team was about to get swept out of, chose to proposition a woman in the field-level seats at Yankee Stadium, in full view of teammates, fans and team officials.

Again, with so many things that A-Rod has done wrong why pick one criticism that had no impact on his performance on the field and is irrelevant to his return from injury?

But taken together, they paint a picture of a man living a life of singular privilege, without boundaries or respect for any authority other than his own.

It's almost like someone who will make $353 million in his career is used to playing by his own rules. Imagine that. How unforeseen.

But to live that life of privilege and wealth and try to portray it as the equivalent of working on a chain gang? That is an insult and an affront.

I'm assuming everyone who reads this blog can read English and is literate, so go read that Bob Nightengale interview with A-Rod and see if at any point you feel like he is portraying himself as working on a chain gang. He says the typical A-Rod denial of the Biogenesis accusations, but mostly tries to show resolve to bounce back from his injuries and contribute to the Yankees this season. The statements he makes about doubters and people who don't like him is sort of true. Wallace Matthews' column is an example of this. He is criticizing A-Rod for showing resolve and trying to live up to his massive contract. Naturally, Wallace wants to portray A-Rod in a false light simply because Wallace is one of the doubters and will criticize A-Rod no matter what he does. It's so easy to criticize A-Rod, but you can always tell which writers truly don't like him by how they will over-criticize him and try to twist words A-Rod says to paint them in a negative light.

But for more than 15 years now, Alex Rodriguez has lived in that upper-echelon and enjoyed its incredible perks.

Now, he tries to make you believe that his life is no different from that of a Roman gladiator who has just been given the thumbs-down by the bloodthirsty Colosseum crowd. He portrays it as the fight of his life.

A-Rod may get suspended for 100 games due to the Biogenesis situation and he is a 38 year old man who just had serious hip surgery. It is a fight for his career right now.

On this day 74 years ago, Lou Gehrig never knew the joy of having children, the security of earning even $100,000 in a year or the satisfaction of seeing 40 candles on his birthday, and called himself lucky.

The prospect of immediate death changes a person's perspective on the world. Anyone who knows someone who has experienced the prospect of immediate death knows this is true. So this isn't exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. Lou Gehrig was a great guy and A-Rod isn't. If we compared Derek Jeter to Mother Teresa then Jeter would come off looking pretty bad too.

If he really wants to know why more people aren't on his side, the answer is right there, etched in stone in his own words, thoughts and deeds.

While this is true, would quitting his rehab from the hip injury, demanding a trade or simply retiring now make him a better person in terms of his thoughts and deeds? Of course not. I don't understand why Wallace thinks quitting or demanding a trade would suddenly make A-Rod a better person. Wallace doesn't want A-Rod back on the Yankees team and would criticize A-Rod for quitting on the Yankees. The only thing A-Rod could do to please Matthews is up and die. At least then A-Rod could give an inspirational speech and the parallel to Lou Gehrig would sound more reasonable.

Friday, June 21, 2013

6 comments Jim Rich Calls Terry Francona and Joe Girardi Hypocrites, Which Highlights His Own Small Hypocrisy

The Biogenesis scandal has given a lot of sportswriters a chance to do some moral grandstanding and start to take out long-standing grudges on anyone even somewhat affiliated with Biogenesis, Alex Rodriguez, and every other MLB team. Sportswriters rarely pass up a chance to do some moral grandstanding and blame everyone and their brother for steroids being prevalent in MLB. I read the "New York Daily News" sports section everyday for a reason. I like to read sportswriters freaking the hell out about sports and many writers at the "Daily News" do this very well. Jim Rich of the "Daily News" says that Terry Francona and Joe Girardi are hypocrites because they have benefited from managing players who have been accused of using PED's or have been caught using PED's. What's so interesting is that the managers of the Red Sox and Yankees are hypocrites and the focus of Rich's scorn, yet he gives the guys in the Red Sox/Yankees clubhouse a pass for benefiting and playing alongside these PED users. I don't think guys in the Yankees or Red Sox locker room should be scorned for not tattling on their PED-using teammates, but it's an interesting sort of double standard Jim Rich sets forth.

So while Rich criticizes Francona/Girardi for coaching along side these players, while he completely lets clubhouse leaders for the Red Sox and Yankees like Dustin Pedroia, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Kevin Youkilis off the hook. If he is going to blame Girardi and Francona for the steroids in the locker room, shouldn't Rich blame the players in the locker room as well. These players, like Derek Jeter, who have (rightly) spoken against steroid use yet said nothing about the steroid use in the Yankees locker room. To Jim Rich, these guys aren't hypocrites at all because no one is supposed to criticize these players. You just don't criticize the Jeter or a scrappy guy like Pedroia. Interesting how this works, huh? Jeter is a great leader of men, but Rich doesn't know how Jeter could have known of A-Rod's PED use. I guess Jeter's leadership doesn't extend to tattling on his teammates. In Rich's view, Joe Girardi should have known and publicly condemned A-Rod when he didn't expect the same from the Yankees players.

Most people would think of the legacies of Joe Girardi and Terry Francona as scrappy players turned successful managers for two of the most influential franchises in baseball history.

Most people would not go out of their way to be contrarians and accuse two managers of being hypocrites for managing two teams that had PED users on the roster, while not calling the players in the clubhouse out for playing on a team that had PED users. Most people are not Jim Rich. I don't think either party should be condemned, but I have a hard time going after Girardi/Francona for not throwing their PED users under the bus, while not holding the Red Sox/Yankees players to the same standard. It's all madness. 

But the Biogensis bombshell this past week, where as many as 20 big leaguers could face suspension as a result of their link to the performance-enhancing-drug lab, has exposed the two skippers for what they truly are:

One of a couple dozen managers who managed players who were proven to use PED's or accused of using PED's, but you simply go after Francona and Girardi because you are more interested in getting attention than being intellectually honest? 


Oh, frauds. So if Girardi and Francona are frauds for managing the Yankees and Red Sox when they were two of thirty teams that at some point had a PED user on the roster, then doesn't that mean Tony LaRussa (I know, the great LaRussa!), Bobby Cox, and pretty much any manager over the last 10-15 years is also a fraud? Wouldn't this mean the "clean" baseball players like Cal Ripken Jr, Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, and other guys who (I don't) think used PED's are frauds as well. Why let them off the hook if you are going to bury Girardi and Francona? Why not call Tony LaRussa a fraud? It's a good thing he is retired because he's a fraud. 

Case 1: On Wednesday, Girardi, when asked about Alex Rodriguez’s alleged PED use and looming 100-game ban, said he was only going to talk about baseball.

What? He didn't condemn and throw one of his own players under the bus? What kind of half-assed leadership and clubhouse does Girardi run? If Girardi's players feel like he will take to the media to condemn their actions how will he keep control of the clubhouse and keep the player's respect? I'm sure Girardi has a lot to say about A-Rod, but he keeps it to himself because A-Rod is a Yankees employee and Girardi is a Yankees employee. 

What would Jim Rich want Girardi to say about A-Rod? Would he want to hear Girardi bash A-Rod or hear Girardi tell the media what a disappointing person A-Rod is? Why do we need to hear Girardi say these things, other than to give media members like Jim Rich something to talk about in their columns? The media simply likes it when teams implode because it gives them interesting stories to write. So Jim Rich wants Girardi to comment on A-Rod's 100-game ban because it will help the team potentially implode and give Jim Rich more stories to write. 

Some people just want to watch the world burn. 

“This is in MLB’s hands. For me to speculate doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

A statement that basically says, "no comment"? In order to not be a fraud, Joe Girardi must comment on these allegations against A-Rod. Otherwise, by not condemning A-Rod's actions Girardi is basically injecting PED's into A-Rod's ass. 

Really? What could be more about baseball than a guy taking illegal drugs

Jim Rich is putting words in Girardi's mouth. In this quote Girardi didn't say A-Rod's PED use was not baseball-related. He said it was in MLB's hands and it doesn't make sense for him to speculate. Talking about a potential PED suspension for one of his players isn't an entirely baseball-related conversation that Girardi should be having with the media.

to improve his performance to the point that he hits the fifth-most home runs (647) in history, drives in the seventh-most runs (1,950) and wins three MVP Awards?

A-Rod didn't compile all of these numbers because he used PED's. At least some of these home runs and RBI's can't be directly attributed to his use of PED's. I don't know how many, but I feel very safe in believing all 647 of A-Rod's home runs aren't due to his use of PED's. 

While Rodriguez was launching 129 of those bombs under Girardi’s watch, the Yankees manager was more than happy to discuss them, presumably because that qualified as baseball talk.

I'm sensing the sarcasm that is being written here, but when Girardi was asked about home runs that A-Rod hit during a baseball that did qualify as baseball talk. It was in Girardi's purview as the manager of the Yankees. How long MLB will suspend A-Rod isn't really part of Girardi's job description, so when he is asked about it his answers are pure speculation. 

But now that every one of A-Rod’s 2,901 career hits (37th most) must be called into question as the result of his second association with steroid use -

This is the incorrect use of reasoning and logic. Every single one of A-Rod's hits should not be called into question. Steroids improve an athlete's performance, but they don't make a player who can't hit a baseball at all end up with nearly 3,000 career hits. It just doesn't work that way. It is somewhat reasonable to call a portion of A-Rod's career hits into question, but not every single one of them.

don’t forget how he admitted to juicing for the three years he was in Texas, but never before or after, Scout’s honor - Girardi feels he’s exempt from the discussion?
What a joke.

So Girardi is included in this discussion because he is guilty by association? Should the Yankees first base coach or third base coach also be seen as hypocrites? After all, they are associated with A-Rod and because they coach on the team A-Rod plays on they are guilty. How about the Yankees players, including revered guys like Rivera and Jeter, are they guilty by association? After all, why should they be exempt if Girardi isn't exempt? 

Hypocrisy oozes from Girardi’s dismissal of the discussion as a distraction, nothing more than a persistent gnat buzzing around the brim of his interlocking N and Y on an otherwise peachy spring day.

So because Girardi doesn't give an opinion (based on his own speculation) about A-Rod this makes him a hypocrite? It's not hypocrisy, but simply Girardi recognizing he is a Yankees employee and there is nothing to be gained and everything to be lost by commenting. Jim Rich simply wants something to write about and he needs a little controversy to fuel his writing. 

Here is a guy who, as a player, stood shoulder to shoulder with steroid cheats ranging from Sammy Sosa to Chuck Knoblauch, then went on to manage the likes of A-Rod and admitted HGH user Andy Pettitte.

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera played with Chuck Knoblauch, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and A-Rod. Neither Rivera or Jeter have ever been implicated in using steroids, so isn't Jeter a hypocrite for taking a stand against steroids while also benefiting from his teammates that use steroids? I would argue "no," but if Girardi is implicated by being a teammate of Sosa and Knoblauch I can't see how Jeter or Rivera are magically off the hook. They both benefited from their teammates using PED's and only condemned these teammates and ex-teammates after their PED use was found out. 

Why even place blame on Girardi or any other players? Blame A-Rod and the other PED users. No player or manager worth a shit is going to throw a current teammate under the bus for using PED's nor should they.

So, let’s get this straight, Joe: while you were earning close to $30 million as a player and/or coach over the past 24 years, it was OK for you to benefit from all of those players’ pumped-up performances, but when someone wants your thoughts on how they went about executing and maintaining that level of play, you say it doesn’t make a lot of sense for you to speculate?

Yes. That's how it works. Girardi is a Yankees employee and isn't going to criticize or speculate on the fate of one of his current players. It's frustrating for a sportswriter who desperately wants some controversy to discuss, but it's the right thing for Girardi to do.

Case 2: Cleveland manager Terry Francona also said Wednesday “as an industry we kind of buried our heads in the sand a little bit.”

While, on its surface, Francona’s indictment is refreshing,

But if you look beneath the surface and need a column idea then you can look at this comment and think that Francona is a hypocrite. 

where was his searing self-assessment when busted steroid cheats Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were blasting a combined 289 home runs while leading Boston to two World Series over the eight years that Francona was manager?

Francona's head was in the sand. That's exactly what his quote says. "As an industry" baseball had their heads in the sand a bit. Ortiz and Ramirez weren't busted steroid cheats at the time the Red Sox won these two World Series, so it is possible Francona didn't know. Where was a column about steroids in baseball and how MLB has their head in the sand 15 years ago from Jim Rich during the Steroid Era? Where was all of Jim Rich's searing indictment of baseball managers over a decade ago? It was nowhere because he was too busy enjoying the Steroid Era.

Francona won an average of 93 games a season and made the playoffs five times on the inflated backs of Ramirez and Ortiz, but did you ever hear a word of suspicion from him as he was hoisting his World Series trophies and being lauded as one of the best managers in the game?

This is just stupidity. Is Francona supposed to stop the World Series victory parade and alert the Red Sox fans to his suspicions that Ortiz and Ramirez are using PED's? What kind of manager who likes his job and doesn't want to lose the respect of his team announces his suspicion that some of his players are using PED's? I didn't realize Francona needed to call a press conference to alert everyone to his suspicions of PED use on the Red Sox roster.

Jim Rich can try as hard as he wants, and he's trying very hard, but simply being the manager of the Red Sox during a time when two Red Sox players were using PED's doesn't make Francona a hypocrite or culpable for the actions of either baseball player. I love how some in the media are adopting the "Why didn't the players and managers tell everyone about the steroid issue?" stance now as if reporting on steroid use in baseball is Terry Francona's job now or was his job in the early 2000's. It was Francona's job to manage the Red Sox, and whether Jim Rich likes it or not, it is not Francona's place to publicly speculate that two of his players are using PED's when neither player had tested positive at that point. 

As selfish and infuriating as the two managers’ stances are on the steroid issue, their most egregious hypocrisy lies in the fact that they have managed or played with so many other unnamed cheats, who, in part, were allowed to tarnish the game as a result of their willing blindness.

What about Tony LaRussa? He managed Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Canseco literally wrote the book (or two books) about steroids in baseball and he was managed by LaRussa in Oakland. Why does LaRussa get a pass? It's fun to point blame and not pointing the finger at specific individuals certainly doesn't help your column get read, but there was more willing blindness in baseball than that exhibited by these two managers. 

I'm also not sure how it is hypocrisy for Francona to say MLB stuck it's head in the sand. He's admitting there were mistakes made, so he's not really being a hypocrite. He admitted a mistake was made.

Francona and Girardi certainly have had plenty of company in allowing this fraud on the game and its fans to exist,

But Jim Rich writes for a New York paper and so he only cares about Joe Girardi and Terry Francona's hypocrisy. Those Yankees and Red Sox players, like Derek Jeter, who are disappointed in players like A-Rod they aren't hypocrites though. Jim Rich has to select who he calls a hypocrite based on whether he likes that person or not. Sure, Jeter played with named and unnamed cheats, but his stance against PED's in baseball isn't hypocrisy because Jim Rich doesn't want it to be hypocrisy. It would sound insane, and it is insane, to call Derek Jeter a hypocrite for speaking against PED use while playing on a team with PED users. Jim Rich would get torn apart by other members of the media, so he goes after Joe Girardi. Rich only points the finger at select individuals. He points the finger at the managers for managing and playing with cheats, but never at the current players who also played with cheats. They're off the hook.

but there have been very few who have basked more in its tainted glow.

There's Dusty Baker who has basked in the tainted glow of steroids. He managed Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Yes, managers and players benefited from steroids, but I don't know if it is fair to single out Girardi and Francona. Plus, if Jim Rich wants to talk about willful blindness then he needs to start that conversation by talking about the media's willful blindness to the records being set during the Steroid Era.