Bruce Jenkins has an interesting article in the San Fran Gate comparing Manny Ramirez to Alex Rodriguez. (Hat tip to BaseballThinkFactory.org.)
Some of the points made by Jenkins are:
No matter how strong the denials from players or general manager Brian Cashman, the Yankees are a painfully uptight team right now, strictly because of A-Rod’s insecurity.
A-Rod isn’t a bad guy, a malingerer or a clubhouse cancer; he’s just a worrier. He desperately wants everyone to like him — and they don’t. Not in New York. They know he’s a little bit soft, a tad of a pretty boy, and they know that unlike Jeter, he consistently has failed in crunch-time postseason moments since he joined the Yankees. Generally, great performances silence the boo-birds in the hotbeds of East Coast fanaticism, but a significant portion of Yankees fandom seems unwilling to cut A-Rod any slack for the rest of time.
The timing of this feature made me laugh – because, just this morning, I was also thinking of Manny and A-Rod – and where they are the same and not.
Alex Rodriguez plays the game the way that a model citizen should play the game. He runs hard. He doesn’t show anyone up. He is serious on the field.
Manny Ramirez is a hot dog on the field. He doesn’t always hustle. And, he has asked to be traded from his team on many occasions.
Then, why does A-Rod get killed in New York and Manny gets the “Manny being Manny” love-pass in Boston? Has Ramirez ever been booed in Boston the way that Rodriguez has in New York?
No. OK, why?
Is it the money? It should not be – see the following:
In 2004, Manny ($22,500,000) was the highest paid player in the game – A-Rod was # 2 (at $22,000,000).
In 2005, Manny was the 2nd highest paid player in the game – with A-Rod being the highest. There was just $4 million between them.
And, this season, Manny makes just $3.4 million less than A-Rod.
It’s not about the money. There’s almost no difference in what these two are being paid.
It’s about the hitting.
In 2004, Manny’s RC/G was 8.59 – compared to 7.02 for A-Rod.
In 2005, Manny’s RC/G was 8.01 – compared to 10.22 for A-Rod.
This season, Manny’s RC/G, to date, is over 9 – whereas A-Rod’s RC/G number is around 6.5.
When I see all this, I think the answer is clear. If Alex Rodriguez would create runs this season, on a per game basis, at the rate near where he was from 1998 through 2005, he would be not be booed in New York.
For the record, A-Rod’s 1998-2005 RC/G rate was 8.57. And, that’s in the Manny range of the last three years.
Basically, if you hit like Manny, no one cares about anything else, and your fans will love you. It’s always been that way in baseball.