• How Alex Can Get Some Love

    Posted by on July 26th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    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.

    Comments on How Alex Can Get Some Love

    1. MJ
      July 26th, 2006 | 12:49 pm

      Rubbish. Fans booed Alex last year despite the other-worldly 10.22 RC/G figure that you cite above. There is a portion of the population (like yourself) that boos Alex because he doesn’t produce at the rate and with the consistency which you feel he should. But there is a portion of the population that boos him because they want to boo him, regardless of stats or circumstances. And I don’t think the boos would stop for a second, even if he had the best August and September of his career and somehow came back to win another MVP. Lupica, Steve Phillips and many other bozos have poisoned the well. The key is simply for him to accept being despised and to move on. I don’t necessarily believe he’ll be able to do that, but it’s my sincere hope that he does. The sooner he stops trying to get people to stop booing, the better he’ll start playing. And then the boos will sound like cheers while he’s kicking all his haters’ asses.

    2. July 26th, 2006 | 1:13 pm

      A-Rod was booed in New York last year?

      Really?

    3. JJay
      July 26th, 2006 | 1:19 pm

      Good God. I’m so sick of hearing about A-Rod. This isn’t just you Steve but every damn Yankees site/blog I visit has A-Rod in about 9 out of their last 10 columns.

    4. July 26th, 2006 | 1:21 pm

      Well, if you work off the news, like I do here, it’s pretty much, still, the hot topic.

    5. jonm
      July 26th, 2006 | 1:28 pm

      Steve,
      What are your thoughts about George King’s rumor of the day — Proctor for Betemit?

      It’s a very interesting rumor that I think must have some grounding in fact.

    6. July 26th, 2006 | 1:36 pm

      Good question. I have to take a call now. But, I will address that around 3 pm.

    7. Don
      July 26th, 2006 | 2:10 pm

      Why weaken the bullpen? Betemit has little range defensively. Dumb move.

    8. Jen
      July 26th, 2006 | 2:34 pm

      //A-Rod was booed in New York last year?

      Really?//

      I’ve been contending this a lot lately. I went to 61 games at the Stadium last year and any booing of A-Rod really doesn’t stand out in my mind. (I’m not saying there aren’t fans who always hated the guy but the rampant booing was not there). In fact, I remember a LOT of MVP chants in the second half of the season.

      I really think this came about after the play-offs last year. He was blamed for the Yanks inability to get out of the first round. There was so much hype in the media around the MVP debate and the clutch/unclutch comparisons to Ortiz. So when he failed to deliver in the ALDS, the media and many fans were all over it. Remember the “MVP, but…” headline? This unclutchiness thing carried over to this season, and brought us to where we are today.

      Someone called in to Michael Kay’s show yesterday suggesting that the media has been feeding the ire of the fans. Kay barely let the words leave the guy’s mouth before he argued that it was false. Kay said that it’s the fans that are feeding the media. I was getting out of the car at the time so I didn’t listen to the rest of the caller’s argument, but I think he’s kind of right. I’m not blaming the media entirely for the fans’ reactions, but I think they stoked the fires on the A-Rod thing, not the other way around.

    9. July 26th, 2006 | 3:53 pm

      Thanks Jen.

      FWIW, I too do not remember A-Rod being flat-out booed last year at all.

    10. Raf
      July 26th, 2006 | 8:47 pm

      I think it’s a personality issue; Manny looks and acts as he’s having fun, where Rodriguez is percieved to be a phony.

      Also, I’m sure Manny won a lot of fans over when he said he came to the Sox to beat the Yanks because he was tired of seeing them win.

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