• Verducci On A-Rod

    Posted by on September 19th, 2006 · Comments (32)

    Alex at Bronx Banter points to a long feature that Tom Verducci just did at SI on A-Rod.

    It’s an interesting read. I liked the parts where Giambi plays the role of the tough guy, working with Torre, to get A-Rod to “man-up.” But, this quote, in the feature, from Rodriquez was telling as well:

    “Mussina doesn’t get hammered at all,” he said. “He’s making a boatload of money. Giambi’s making [$20.4 million], which is fine and dandy, but it seems those guys get a pass. When people write [bad things] about me, I don’t know if it’s [because] I’m good-looking, I’m biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team….”

    Anyone else think A-Rod and Mussina don’t exchange greeting cards at holiday time?

    Giambi gets a pass? Just 16 months ago, people wanted Giambi sent to the minors because he was stinking so bad.

    In any event, is anyone else tried of hearing A-Rod, and his apologists, play the “good-looking,” “racial” and “most money” cards?

    Carl Pavano is a white-guy. He’s not pretty. And, relatively speaking, he’s not high paid – at least he’s not the highest paid pitcher in baseball.

    And, he gets (to use A-Rod’s term) “hammered.”

    The fans and media in New York are believers in Equal Opportunity. If you’re slumping, you’re going to hear it – whether you’re pretty, rich, whatever.

    Winners make commitments. Losers make excuses. I wish Alex would do the former and not the latter.

    Comments on Verducci On A-Rod

    1. Raf
      September 19th, 2006 | 5:45 pm

      ARod has caught flak for whatever reason. I’m pretty sure the size of his contract has something to do with it. And no one can say with a straight face that he was welcomed in NY with open arms.

      As for the race issue, it wouldn’t suprise me at all.

      I’ll check it out when I have the time, but I have a feeling it’s another one of those “why ARod isn’t worthy of wearing the Yankee Pinstsripes” article.

      Eh, on second thought, I’ll skip it.

    2. Seamus
      September 19th, 2006 | 6:01 pm

      Im tired of ARod bashers who somehow think that an avowed steroid users tough man image is somehow appropriate for other people and is somehow one to give advice. It is ridiculous to suggest that ARod gets treated equally with other Yankees, as the analogy to pavano suggests. I’ve never been impressed with Giambi’s alleged free wheeling motorcycling image. Nothing has ever seemed so juvenile and forced.

    3. christopher
      September 19th, 2006 | 7:24 pm

      Great article. How bad does Giambi look in this article? He’s the last guy who should be criticizing A-Rod. Giambi’s average has dropped almost .100 points since leaving Oakland and he’s giving batting tips to one of the greatest hitters of all time???

    4. JeremyM
      September 19th, 2006 | 7:55 pm

      Fascinating article. A-Rod is really an interesting person. As far as Giambi, people were begging him to be the kind of leader he was in Oakland and when he does it, he gets criticized. And then again, he’s been saying he’s now 100% from his injury when it’s clear that he is still not driving the ball, so he’s essentially doing the same thing that he was pissed about.

      It’s too bad Jeter can’t seem to get over what happened in Esquire. A-Rod was obviously wrong in what he said, but he also went to great lengths to apologize. Jeter needs to let it go if he is still pissed about it. But, I guess you can forgive but never forget, and maybe that’s what is going on.

      As you can see, I really don’t know what to think about this, but A-Rod has been playing extremely well of late and I hope that continues into October. All it will take is him being a major part of a World Series win and his nightmare will be over. People still think of Tino as clutch despite having overall bad postseason numebrs.

    5. JeremyM
      September 19th, 2006 | 8:13 pm

      Oh Steve, you didn’t mention that this is on the COVER of SI. Just great.

    6. JeremyM
      September 19th, 2006 | 8:45 pm

      OK, last post, thank God for Peter Abraham, his blog post says that it’s no big deal.

    7. festus
      September 19th, 2006 | 8:53 pm

      Great to see Giambi tell someone to man up! After all, if it weren’t for the Yanks signing him, we wouldn’t have won any…oh wait.

    8. christopher
      September 19th, 2006 | 9:39 pm

      Exactly. Maybe if Giambi spent more time working on his swing instead of running his mouth, he wouldn’t be batting .248.

      I can’t understand why fans will embrace a cheater like Giambi (who has become nothing more than a slower version of Steve Balboni), yet kill A-Rod despite being the best 3rd baseman in the league. I’ll never get it.

    9. baileywalk
      September 19th, 2006 | 11:03 pm

      I can’t believe this is turning into an excuse to beat up on Giambi. Giambi is hurt right now. But while A-Rod was off in his own world, unable to hit the broad side of a barn, Giambi was carrying this team. Jeter and Giambi carried this team while Sheff and Matsui were out. When they needed him the most, A-Rod was awful. So think about that before you trash Giambi.

      A-Rod wonders why the Yankee fans don’t kill Mussina. Mussina has a laundry list of big wins for this team. He’s come through for them in the playoffs. A-Rod has not. When he does, he’ll get a break too. And the suggestion that A-Rod wasn’t welcomed with open arms is bullshit — Yankee fans went nuts when he first got here. He just turned them off like he does everyone wherever he is. The guy simply has an off-putting personality.

      I really wish that A-Rod and Giambi had not participated for this story. Why Giambi would talk to Verducci is a mystery to me (Verducci continually accuses Giambi of using steroids this year). All this does is open up all the bull that was finally put away a month ago. Now everyone is focusing on A-Rod again. This is nothing but a distraction. It’s a boring, old story, with A-Rod playing the poor-me card again. I thought the Yankees were finally beyond this. I guess not. I guess Verducci felt the need to reopen these wounds and the Yankees were dumb enough to help him.

      This makes everyone mentioned in the story look bad, and it makes the team, which clearly has a good chemistry, look fractured.

    10. Max
      September 19th, 2006 | 11:54 pm

      I’m with Bailey on the Giambi-bashing…it’s gratuitous and over the top. I do agree that the timing of the story isn’t generous to Jason, given his flagging performance, but he’s carried the team for singnificant stretches this year and last.

      I can’t really go along with Verducci feeling the “need to reopen wounds”…he’s not feeling the need to do anything other than report an interesting story and dynamic within the most visible team in baseball. This is like the Red Sox fans ripping Gordon Edes because he (according to fans) felt the need to twist Ortiz’s words to make him look bad regarding the MVP debate.

      Neither writer did anything other than do their job and put their own spin on very interesting material that was provided to them. You can fault their interpretation, but you can’t fault them for reporting what they heard. And in both cases, what they heard and gathered was extremely newsworthy.

    11. Raf
      September 20th, 2006 | 1:37 am

      A-Rod wasn’t welcomed with open arms is bullshit — Yankee fans went nuts when he first got here.
      =======
      I’m pretty sure I remember people complaining he was a primadonna, about “who plays ss,” and how he could never be a “true yankee” (whatever the hell that means), how he wouldn’t able to handle NY, about the comments he made to Esquire, about screwing up the chemistry, etc, etc, etc.

    12. MJ
      September 20th, 2006 | 9:14 am

      Bottom line, the timing of this is very poor and unfortunate because everyone on the team will now have to answer questions about it and it’s just this sort of thing that could send ARod back into a tizzy right before the playoffs.

      I want to know why these athletes talk to reporters? If you see Verducci around the clubhouse and he’s asking probing questions like “do you guys like Player X” or “what do you think of this guy” why not just nip that shit in the bud and say “no comment” or “I’d rather not talk about this stuff.” It’s really easy to do. Honestly, players bring half of this grief on themselves because no matter how they intended their quotes to sound, things will be perceived in the way someone wants to perceive them.

    13. September 20th, 2006 | 9:30 am

      FWIW, I could do without all the drama that seems to follow A-Rod around these days. And, I would bet that many on the team feel the same way.

    14. Max
      September 20th, 2006 | 9:49 am

      MJ, the Yankees (and other teams) do get coached on how to deal with the press, what to say and not say, etc. I think the Yankees and Patriots have actually been held as models for some time of how to maintain a tight, professional appearance and not let stuff seep out that could impact the image the organization wants to portray.

      However, the access writers have to baseball players is pretty significant, and the players are human, after all. When you’re around beat writers all the time, relationships do form. Jeter seems to be one of the few guys that is constantly measuring and calibrating everything he says against its possible impact, while other players are either outright adversarial or choose to maintain certain close relationships in a kind of “trade-off” of information and access.

      But it’s hard for athletes that play 162 games and who are constantly followed by reporters to be robotic. The price for letting your guard down too much, though, can be dramatic, as Ortiz found out first hand last week.

    15. Raf
      September 20th, 2006 | 9:51 am

      FWIW, I could do without all the drama that seems to follow A-Rod around these days. And, I would bet that many on the team feel the same way.
      =====
      Agreed, but it’s not like he’s going around looking for it.

      Because he’s one of the best players in the game, because of the contract he signed (and even the process that led up to the signing), because he was traded to NY, because of the way he left Texas, he’s going to put up with the drama.

    16. jonm
      September 20th, 2006 | 10:17 am

      Steve,
      That comparison of ARod to Pavano has to be the silliest point that you have made on the blog. There is no comparison and that you would make it suggests that you have lost all objectivity on ARod. The reason that Yankee fans get on Pavano is that he has done absolutely nothing to help the Yankees win since he signed the big contract. He has not contributed to the starting pitching when the starting pitching was weak. ARod, on the other hand, played every day and won an MVP in 2005. This year, he’s hit 34 HRs and has 116 RBIs (7 more than Giambi). He’s still the second best 3B in the AL if you look at win shares (a measure which has a clutch component and a fielding component). If you look at his splits, he has has only one terrible month this year (June). Giambi, on the other hand, has hurt the team in May, July, and September.

    17. September 20th, 2006 | 10:41 am

      jonm – hey, it’s not based on performance, according to A-Rod, it’s because he’s pretty, latin and rich. That’s what I mean by using Pavano as a compare – he’s not pretty, he’s white, etc. – and he’s not getting a pass, even ‘tho he has a doctor’s note, etc.

      It’s not an issue of race, looks, and money – it’s all about the fans perception (albeit right or wrong) of your performance.

    18. jonm
      September 20th, 2006 | 11:01 am

      Steve – I grant your point that “it’s all about the fans perception” of his performance. I think that the negative perception is wrong. But, fans’ perceptions are not generated in a vacuum. By necessity, they are filtered through the media. I think that the media has made this a story because Alex is pretty, non-white, and rich. Fellow players who give quotes to the press certainly resent the amount of money ARod makes. These factors make it more news-worthy to
      write headlines like E-Rod, etc..

      By the way, I think that Pavano is probably considered “pretty” by most women. He certainly has had a lot of very sexy girlfriends. That is all the more remarkable given the mediocrity of his career. He also certainly is overpaid, given that he does nothing.

    19. Raf
      September 20th, 2006 | 11:22 am

      But, fans’ perceptions are not generated in a vacuum. By necessity, they are filtered through the media.
      ================
      True, remember how Rickey was percieved when he was here? Moody, indifferent, didn’t want to play all the time, didn’t hustle. He tore his hamstring, and was accused of “jaking it.” After a couple of decent years in 85 & 86.

    20. jonm
      September 20th, 2006 | 12:31 pm

      Henderson is a great example, Raf (appropriate that he should come up on the day of Syd Thrift’s death, eh?) Henderson, of course, would go on to have an MVP season in 1990 and many good seasons in the decade.

      It also reminds me of what Bill James wrote in one of his books about Henderson. When he came up, the media covered him as an All-American boy, Jack Armstrong-type. After his stint with the Yankees, his reputation never got back to where he started. That’s why, odd as it might sound, that Henderson is still under-rated, in my opinion.

    21. christopher
      September 20th, 2006 | 1:15 pm

      FWIW, I could do without all the drama that seems to follow A-Rod around these days. And, I would bet that many on the team feel the same way.
      ++++++

      A-Rod isn’t the one creating the drama. He’s just the main character. It’s the media, bloggers, etc who are making this a drama. I have yet to have one conversation with a fellow Yankee fan about A-Rod’s persona, but I have a had dozens of conversations about SI’s article about A-Rod’s persona, Baseball Tonight’s view of A-Rod’s persona, Lupica’s article, etc.

    22. Raf
      September 20th, 2006 | 3:05 pm
    23. antone
      September 20th, 2006 | 6:13 pm

      ARod DEFINITELY brings this stuff on himself by all his little comments that got right up people’s you know what…

      when questioned he always brings up his stats and his salary, i dont see any of the yankees talking about his salary, HE always brings it up, he assumes people don’t like him because of his salary…personally i could care less how much money he makes or anyone else…if your hitting in the middle of the lineup you need to produce…as of last week AROD is hitting .226 when the game is tied or the yankees are trailing by 3 runs or less…thats when the yankees need him the most..and thats exactly what Giambi is referring too…and come on it was obvious that ARod was going to go on a hot streak once the yankees got up big in the division on the red sox…anyone who thinks he broke out of his slump is just in denial…

      i fully expect him to go back to not hitting in the playoffs, i hope im wrong but people aren’t bashing AROD we are just being realistic…reading that article just proves that this is all mental..of course he’s one of the best players ever but he can’t cut it under pressure, he’s all messed up in the head…

      he didnt carry the yankees against minnesota the guy had THREE freakin RBIs ..THREE! if you look at his overall playoff stats in general, he does have a good average but his RBIs are just average…i remember watching the yankees play seattle in the playoffs and not worrying about ARod because you knew he wouldnt hit when they needed him too, the guy that killed the Yankees was Edgar Martinez and Griffey when he was on the team…and i think Buhner too…this is why i never wanted AROD in the first place before he ever came to NY i always thought he wasa choke which is why i wanted Boston to get him for Manny because that would have killed that team and they never would have won anything

      as i type TINO is on ESPN saying that AROD brough it upon himself…keep saying comments and digging a deeper hole…i agree AROD needs to shut up its almost like he wants people to feel bad for him…he thinks too much, he has all that talent, he should react to the pitches…sorry for the book but i have points that need to be made haha

    24. Raf
      September 20th, 2006 | 7:33 pm

      i remember watching the yankees play seattle in the playoffs and not worrying about ARod because you knew he wouldnt hit when they needed him too, the guy that killed the Yankees was Edgar Martinez
      ===========================
      The 1995 ALDS was before Rodriguez got his “rep”

      Contrary to popular belief, he has done well in the postseason.

    25. antone
      September 20th, 2006 | 10:11 pm

      AROD has 16 RBI in 31 playoff games, that’s not exactly superstar stats….well isn’t good enough when your the 4 hitter…

    26. Raf
      September 21st, 2006 | 1:23 am

      AROD has 16 RBI in 31 playoff games, that’s not exactly superstar stats….well isn’t good enough when your the 4 hitter…
      ========
      He wasn’t the #4 hitter

    27. antone
      September 21st, 2006 | 7:58 am

      Then what the HELL number hitter has he been his whole career RAF?? He’s been either 3,4, or 5 most of his career(he may have batted 2nd against the Angels last year but he didnt even hit PERIOD in that series)…you would defend AROD until the day your no longer here…I’m starting to think you ARE A-Rod or at least his cousin…nobody is saying AROD isn’t a great player…but his production definitely drops off in key situations…you seem like the type to tell everyone “I told you so” after ARod hits a Grand Slam when the team is winning 10 -1 already….

    28. Raf
      September 21st, 2006 | 10:33 am

      Then what the HELL number hitter has he been his whole career RAF?? He’s been either 3,4, or 5 most of his career(he may have batted 2nd against the Angels last year but he didnt even hit PERIOD in that series)…you would defend AROD until the day your no longer here…
      =====================
      Um, yeah…

      Check out some of the other RBI per game totals of “superstars” in the playoffs and get back to me.

      And RBI’s are hardly an indicator of the effectiveness of a player. That isn’t a defense of ARod, it’s a FACT.

      You want to make claims, back them up with facts and stats. Take for instance, your comment “i remember watching the yankees play seattle in the playoffs and not worrying about ARod because you knew he wouldnt hit when they needed him too, the guy that killed the Yankees was Edgar Martinez”

      They (Yanks-M’s) met twice in the playoffs, in 1995 & 2000. Can’t use 1995, as Rodriguez wasn’t a full time player. So that leaves 2000…

      BA-OBP-SLG (RBI)

      Edgar:.238 .333 .429 (4)
      ARod: .409 .480 .773 (5)

      I defend players only when people make asinine claims against them.

    29. antone
      September 21st, 2006 | 1:01 pm

      My point is that AROD did not come up in big spots, he had 8 K’s in the 2000 series, and I distinctly remember him not getting any big hits when the Mariners were trailing, which is what your worry about most when your watching the game

      I went back and checked every box score of the series and the play by play…in the first three games Seattle lost, he had ZERO RBIs…in the last game he hit 2 run-HR in the 8th when the score was already 9-4 Yankees…so this is why I remember him not doing much when he was needed, it may skew my thinking but I still believe the guy doesn’t hit much when his team is losing close games and since he’s in the middle of the lineup it could kill a team’s chances to win..

      but hey let’s just see what happens, I hope he gets as many big hits in the playoffs as you do, I just find it highly unlikely.

    30. antone
      September 21st, 2006 | 1:27 pm

      Also…I’m counting ’95 for Edgar when I say he killed us, which is why he worried me in 2000 but since he didn’t do as much the Yankees won(he did still have 4 RBIs to ARODs 5)..which was a big difference…and I know alot of superstars don’t drive in runs in the playoffs, so maybe they are over-rated too..I never said they weren’t…and I don’t see how you can say that RBIs don’t always show the effectiveness of a player…if the guy is only hitting when nobody is on base and he’s not driving in runs with runners on base then what good is he in the middle of the lineup? i don’t see your logic there, if he was a leadoff hitter than it would be different…

    31. Raf
      September 21st, 2006 | 3:25 pm

      I went back and checked every box score of the series and the play by play…in the first three games Seattle lost, he had ZERO RBIs…in the last game he hit 2 run-HR in the 8th when the score was already 9-4 Yankees…so this is why I remember him not doing much when he was needed
      =======================
      Looking @ the first 3 games;

      Gm1:
      Bases empty BB
      Popped to 3rd with a runner on 1st
      Leadoff HR (RBI)
      Bases empty K

      Gm2:
      Bases empty K
      Popped to 3rd w/runner on 1st
      Leadoff single
      Bases empty K

      Gm3:
      Single, w/runner on 1st
      Bases empty K
      Flyout w/runner on 1st
      Leadoff single

      Out of those 12 opportunities, 4 times there was a runner on base. None of them were in scoring position. Only once did he get a hit. Only RBI was on a HR

      Since I’ve already done this much…

      Gm4:
      Bases empty BB
      Bases empty K
      K – RISP
      Bases empty groundout

      Gm5:
      BB, w/runner on 1b
      Bases empty K
      Single w/runner on 1st & 2nd (RBI)
      Bases empty groundout

      Gm6:
      Double w/runner on 1st (RBI)
      Bases empty K
      Leadoff double
      Leadoff HR (RBI)
      Bases empty single

      13 opportunities, 4 times runner on base. Only once did he make out.

      This ties into the RBI discussion. How many RBI’s would he have had if there were people on base (granted he led off a few innings)? RBI’s are dependent on where you bat in the order as well as the ability of the guys in front of you to get on base.

    32. antone
      September 22nd, 2006 | 7:37 am

      Well let’s just wait and see what happens…I honestly hope your right and he does produce but I’m not counting on him in any way…

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