• The A-Rod Dealio With Most Yankees Fans

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2005 · Comments (10)

    Tonight, driving home from work, I was tuned to The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio (1050 AM in NYC). It was sometime near 5:30 pm EST and Kay was doing something he’s been doing often now (for at least the past month or so): Questioning why Yankees fans are on A-Rod so much and then slamming people who call into the show to explain why they’re not Alex fans.

    Michael was really bringing it tonight – with rants such as “He’s not just a great player, he’s the best player in the game, and he’s one of the best players of all-time!” (Or something close to that.) You could just hear the spit coming out of his mouth as he was shouting it. In some ways, it was one of those moments in time where paid professional radio host and Jerome from Manhattan become indistinguishable from each other. You kind of expect this from Mad Dog Russo (who probably can’t kiss his wife hello without spitting). It’s just a tad on the sad side when Kay pulls this routine.

    Anyway, I’m not sure why Kay has taken on this A-Rod crusade. But, if you listen to the likes of a Bob Raissman (and why would you?) he would tell you about the Kay-Rodriguez relationship. Who knows? Maybe Michael has ticked off enough guys in the Yankees clubhouse that he needs someone to be his friend in there? Or, perhaps Kay sees the Red Light beast in Alex and he wants to feed it – knowing that’s a good thing for both of them down the line?

    In any event, the question I would love to ask Michael Kay during times like these – but cannot because I don’t have a cell headset and, regardless of that, I would never burn cell minutes to wait on hold for about a half-hour – is this:

    Michael, say the Yankees are losing 1-0 and it’s the bottom of the 9th. They have a runner on 3rd with less than two outs. Based on play that you’ve seen since April 2004, if you could pick one Yankee to be up for you, who would you pick?

    Honestly, I think most Yankees fans who watch a lot of games would pick either Sheffield, Matsui, or Jeter in this spot before they would say A-Rod. And, I would not be shocked if some Yankees fans said “Cairo last year or Womack this year” before picking Rodriguez for this At Bat.

    And, that’s the issue. Many Yankee fans will not embrace A-Rod until they feel comfortable with him at the plate in a spot where he can/will save the game for them. Yankees fans love that “clutch” quality/security in a player. That’s why (in the last 30 years) they loved Munson, Piniella, O’Neill, Donnie and the like in the past and that’s why they don’t moan about Matsui, Sheffield and Jeter today (even if they do fail in a game sometimes).

    That’s the dealio my friends. Once A-Rod is able to win the fans over, by gaining that “the man” trust, then all this debate will end. Is this fair? Too subjective? Whatever – it does not matter. It’s just the way it is. I just wish that folks like Kay would learn it, accept it, and move on to something new. I do a lot of driving and it’s boring to keep hearing the same thing every week.

    Comments on The A-Rod Dealio With Most Yankees Fans

    1. May 23rd, 2005 | 10:13 pm

      “and that’s why they don’t moan about Matsui, Sheffield and Jeter today (even if they do fail in a game sometimes).”

      Steve…

      Matsui and Sheffield si…Jeets no.

      Close/Late last three yrs.

      Jeter.. .237/.343/.365

      A.Rod.. .261/.456/.558

    2. Jen
      May 23rd, 2005 | 10:37 pm

      If I’m not mistaken, Kay actually answered your question today and he chose Matsui.

      And you’re right, he’s totally missing the point of why many Yankee fans are giving Rodriguez crap. Callers would bring up how he popped up in the 8th and Kay would argue that he drove in the first run off of Pedro. But he fails to realize that it doesn’t matter to a lot of people. They want the clutch hits.

      Rodriguez seems to be the only Yankee that calls in to Kay’s show on a fairly regular basis (seems like once a month he’s on, including today). With the way he ripped Jeter in the beginning of the year for refusing to get involved with Alex vs. the Red Sox I wouldn’t be surprised that he pissed off most of the clubhouse. When Jeter did call in during ST he talked around Kay’s questions regarding the issue. Right before the season started YES had a special where pretty much everyone on the team had a little interview with Kay. If I remember right Jeter was the only big name to get interviewed by someone else. And don’t forget about Kay’s long standing dislike for Moose.

      Personally I’d like to see Rodriguez come through a bit more in key situations. And he needs to pick it up in the field. But I just can’t get on the guy like others because he is producing at the plate, driving in runs, and he’s aggressive on the bases. And he’s doing much better with RISP than last year (I believe he’s at around .300). At this point I really don’t care who brings in the runs late and close, as long as they keep winning. One point that I think Kay got right is that Rodriguez will never be able perform up to his salary. But for that money, who can?

    3. May 23rd, 2005 | 10:49 pm

      Repoz – lots of times, batters get that runner in by making an out. (wink)

      Jen – thanks. I might have missed that part. The commerical breaks on ESPN are so long that I end up changing stations a lot during them and sometimes I end up missing the ‘good’ stuff once they cut back.

      As far as Jeter, most know by now that he’s not the interview that you want – because he never says anything with bite……he’s very careful.

      As far as A-Rod and the money. That’s part of it. Fair or not, it’s the way it is.

    4. May 24th, 2005 | 10:52 am

      The problem, I think, with labeling guys as “clutch”, is that it’s first impressions that count most and stick.

      A-Rod, last season, did not do well with runners in scoring position or in “clutch” situations. Fans labeled him as unclutch. Now, everything he does is seen through that prism. Goes 1-3 and drives in the winning run? Fans remember the strikeout and flyout and not the hit.

      Pettitte is a great counter-example. He had a few big clutch starts for the Yanks early in his career, and the “clutch” label stuck. Even through his last few years with the Yankees, everyone went on and on about how clutch he was even though he failed (sometimes dramatically) in the clutch quite a bit.

      Clutchness is way, way, way too subjective and first impressions count more that current performance.

    5. Deana
      May 24th, 2005 | 11:01 am

      Could I just state the obvious for a second? A lot of people wanted ARod to be the second coming of Christ for the Yankees, and he’s not. He’s a fantastic player, and an excellent shortstop. As a third baseman, ehh, not so much. Yankee fans expect the best, and we’re not happy when we don’t get it. Of course people get on him

    6. Jason O.
      May 24th, 2005 | 11:02 am

      Kay is right: With Bonds gone, A-Rod is the best player in the game.

    7. Wahoo Sam
      May 24th, 2005 | 1:25 pm

      How much does Jeter make?

    8. May 24th, 2005 | 2:08 pm

      In total, about $7 mill a year less than A-Rod, IIRC. But, that extra dough is on the Rangers charge.

    9. Wahoo Sam
      May 24th, 2005 | 2:42 pm

      So Derek is making 17 mill. Is he worth it?

    10. May 24th, 2005 | 4:18 pm

      It catching foul pop-ups alone, yes.

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