• The Yankees Can Thank A-Rod For Their 2009 Ring

    Posted by on March 15th, 2010 · Comments (14)

    Frequent readers of this blog know that I’ve been critical, at times, of Alex Rodriguez. Without going into the details on those, to be fair, I thought I would take a second to highlight how important A-Rod was to the Yankees during the post-season of 2009.

    First, look at the ALDS series against the Twins.

    In Game 1, the Yankees were just ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the 5th inning. A-Rod comes to the plate in that frame with two outs, and Jeter on second, and drives him in for a huge cushion run. This also extended the inning – remember, there were two outs – allowing Matsui to bat, and homer, and give the Yankees a 6-2 lead. (New York would go on to win this game by a score of 7-2.)

    In Game 2, the Yankees were losing by a score of 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th inning. Joe Nathan, the Twins closer, is on the mound. Teixeira leads off with a single bringing A-Rod to the plate. Bam! Rodriguez homers to tie the game and save the Yankees from the jaws of defeat. (Yanks won the game in extras on a Tex walk-off homer.)

    In Game 3, the Yankees were again losing late – this time by a 1-0 score in the top of the 7th inning. A-Rod bats with one out and – Bam! – another homerun tying the score and once again saving the game for New York. (The Yankees go on to win this game and take the ALDS.)

    Next, look at the ALCS against the Angels.

    In Game 2, the Yankees were losing 3-2 in the bottom of the 11th inning. The Angels closer, Brian Fuentes, was on the mound. A-Rod leads off that frame for the Yankees and – Bam! – he does it again! Another life-saving homerun for Yankees off the bat of Alex Rodriguez. That’s three for A-Rod in the span of five games. (New York would go on to take this game in thirteen – and assume a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.)

    In Game 4, the Yankees pounded the Angels by a score of 10-1. A-Rod leads the way for the Yankees going three for four (including a double and homer) with three runs scored and two RBI.

    In Game 6, the Yankees were losing 1-0, in the bottom of the 4th inning. After Damon singles in two runs to give the Yankees a one run lead, A-Rod comes to the plate with the bases loaded and walks – giving New York a two run cushion. As the Angels would later score another run in the game, it turns out that A-Rod’s 4th inning RBI was the difference maker in this win that puts the Yankees back into the World Series.

    Lastly, look at the World Series against the Phillies.

    In Game 3, the Yankees were losing 3-0 in the top of the 4th inning. A-Rod homers in that frame with Teixeira on first to cut the Phillies lead to just one run. This is now six homeruns for Rodriguez in his first twelve games of this post-season. That rattled Phils’ starter Cole Hamels and he was out of the game in the next inning. New York ends up winning this game, 8-5.

    In Game 4, the Yankees and Phillies were tied, 4-4 in the top of the 9th inning. If the Yankees lose this game, then the series is tied at two games each. A win puts New York in the driver’s seat. Damon reaches with two outs and then steals second and third on the same pitch (when the Phils forget to cover third base). Teixeira is hit by a pitch bringing A-Rod to the plate and – Bam! – he does it again in the late innings! This time it’s a double off A-Rod’s booming bat, scoring Damon and Teixeira. Alex would then score on a Posada single and the Yankees ice this game. New York now only needs one win in three tries to take the ring. (And, they would end up taking it all two games later.)

    After the post-season, the BBWAA gave Alex Rodriguez the Babe Ruth Award for being the MVP of the entire postseason. And, it made perfect sense – since A-Rod super-changed power bat led the Yankees to eight of the eleven wins needed in the post-season to get a ring. There’s no doubt in my mind that, without Alex Rodriguez swinging the bat the way he did during the post-season of 2009, there’s no way the Yankees would have achieved all the success that they did in the ALDS, ALCS and World Series.

    Comments on The Yankees Can Thank A-Rod For Their 2009 Ring

    1. March 15th, 2010 | 7:47 am

      “Frequent readers of this blog know that I’ve been critical, at times, of Alex Rodriguez. ”

      At times? At times? You mean 364 out of 365 days of the year? ;)

      Why do I get the feeling that this post is just a preliminary statement, for you to say that the 2009 World Championship is tainted and somehow invalid if A-Rod is proven to have used HGH? And if it is, I sure hope you mark 2000 (nine Yankees in the Mitchell Report) 1999 (Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch) and maybe even 1998 on your tainted list.

    2. MJ Recanati
      March 15th, 2010 | 7:55 am

      lisaswan wrote:

      Why do I get the feeling that this post is just a preliminary statement

      That was my impression too. Perhaps not for the “tainted” argument (which is total BS, by the way) but so that we can have this column on record as “evidence” of “even-handedness” the next time we hear some bogus criticism of A-Rod.

      Having said that, it doesn’t make reading this column any less pleasurable for me. A-Rod’s the best player on the team and I love it when something flattering is written about him. It doesn’t happen often enough.

    3. clintfsu813
      March 15th, 2010 | 8:00 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      I’m thinking maybe Steve just wanted us to know that while he has been critical, he did appreciate what Alex did for us last year. I’ll take it. And you’re right, MJ, it doesnt happen enough. Heres to another awesome year #13.

    4. cr1
      March 15th, 2010 | 9:08 am

      Good 3b, outstanding hitter, asset to the Yankees, will hear my cheers as long as he’s in NYY uni.

      Still it is amusing to see that like star, like groupies — nothing is ever enough. From his first year in NY on, it has provided reliable chuckles watching his fanboys and fangirls bristle when Rodriguez is praised — indignant that the praise is never quite fulsome enough or exclusive enough, or that it is not a guarantee that he will never be criticized.

      LOL. Again.

    5. YankCrank
      March 15th, 2010 | 9:09 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Having said that, it doesn’t make reading this column any less pleasurable for me. A-Rod’s the best player on the team and I love it when something flattering is written about him. It doesn’t happen often enough.

      Well said. It simply amazes me how spoiled Yankee fans are to have a player as talented as Alex and, at the same time, continuously shit all over him. He’ll most likely go down as the best ballplayer to wear Yankee pinstripes in our lifetime, and I love him for that.

    6. March 15th, 2010 | 9:27 am

      @ cr1:
      “Still it is amusing to see that like star, like groupies — nothing is ever enough. From his first year in NY on, it has provided reliable chuckles watching his fanboys and fangirls bristle when Rodriguez is praised — indignant that the praise is never quite fulsome enough or exclusive enough, or that it is not a guarantee that he will never be criticized.”

      Huh? Where did ANYBODY say anything like that here?

    7. cr1
      March 15th, 2010 | 9:37 am

      First two comments above? Bristling in advance imagining that a column of praise is likely just a prelude to criticism later?

      Someone pass her the mirror, I have to go out.

    8. March 15th, 2010 | 9:47 am

      @ cr1: I don’t think that was an unreasonable assumption, given that it turns out that the very next post on Was Watching was a justification for the dynasty Yankees using PEDs.

      And please, could you disagree with others’ opinions on A-Rod without calling them “groupies” and “fanboys and fangirls”? The name-calling is offensive. Thanks!

    9. clintfsu813
      March 15th, 2010 | 9:59 am

      To be fair..I “bristle” when praise is shelled out to any of our players. Thats due to the enormous amount of haterade that is dished out through the media and fans of other teams. I just bristle a little extra when it comes to Arod because he (unfairly) receives the brunt of the haterocity. Its the same as I also loved to hear praise after Cano’s bounce back year, and praise for CC for kicking ass in the playoffs finally.

    10. rigger2
      March 15th, 2010 | 12:50 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      Why do I get the feeling that this post is just a preliminary statement, for you to say that the 2009 World Championship is tainted and somehow invalid if A-Rod is proven to have used HGH? And if it is, I sure hope you mark 2000 (nine Yankees in the Mitchell Report) 1999 (Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch) and maybe even 1998 on your tainted list.

      If it is proven that A-Rod has, in fact, taken HGH c/o Dr. Galea or anyone else, the fans and critics alike would be particularly gobsmacked, far more so than the other players you mentioned. Because of the hellish news conference, the tears, the contrition, the hype of how he was starting anew, it would be a particular violation of trust if all of that turned out to be B.S and if we learn that he wasn’t smart enough to stay clean.

      Let’s face it, there are things here that look (to most fair-minded observers) suspicious, and Steve isn’t stupid, but he’s not ready to convict the man either and is giving credit where credit is due (unless proven otherwise). I don’t see the column as the calm before the storm at all.

    11. March 15th, 2010 | 1:40 pm

      I have to chuckle at so many who are trying to read between some supposed lines here.

      My aim on this one was simple: Just to point out that A-Rod, in 2009, was “the man” for the Yankees offensively in the ENTIRE post-season and is probably responsible for 50-75% of the Yankees winning the games that they did win.

      Did he win it alone? No. Damon and Matsui had big moments/games with the bat. And, CC/Andy/AJ had a hand in it too. (CC and Andy more than AJ.)

      But, I am convinced, without a doubt, that if A-Rod didn’t hit the way he did this post-season – one of the best total post-season showings ever by a batter – and if he hit more like he did in the 2005-07 post-seasons, then there’s no way that the Yankees get a ring in 2009.

      That’s all.

    12. March 15th, 2010 | 2:05 pm

      rigger2 wrote:

      If it is proven that A-Rod has, in fact, taken HGH c/o Dr. Galea or anyone else, the fans and critics alike would be particularly gobsmacked, far more so than the other players you mentioned. Because of the hellish news conference, the tears, the contrition, the hype of how he was starting anew, it would be a particular violation of trust if all of that turned out to be B.S and if we learn that he wasn’t smart enough to stay clean.

      If, and I stress “if,” A-Rod is found to have used HGH in 2009, I’m sure many will point to his comments from February 2009:

      “I STOPPED TAKING IT IN 2003 AND HAVEN’T TAKE IT SINCE. I STOPPED TAKING THE SUBSTANCE FOR SEVERAL REASONS. IN 2003 I HAD A SERIOUS NECK INJURY AND IT SCARED ME HALF TO THE DEATH, I WAS SCARED FOR MY CAREER, AND TRULY MY CAREER AFTER BASEBALL, MY LIFE AFTER BASEBALL. SECONDLY, AFTER OUR VOLUNTARY TEST ALL THE PLAYERS VOTED FOR A MAJOR LEAGUE DRUG POLICY. AT THAT TIME IT BECAME EVIDENT TO ME HOW SERIOUS THIS ALL WAS AND I DECIDED TO STOP THEN. SINCE THAT TIME I HAVE BEEN TESTED REGUALRY, I HAVE TAKEN URINE TESTS CONSISTENT WITH MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AND BLOOD TESTS FOR THE WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC. BEFORE I WALKED HERE TODAY I TOOK A TEST AS PART OF MY PHSYICAL AND ILL TAKE ANOTHER BLOOD TEST NEXT WEEK FOR THE CLASSIC.”

      And, they will call him a liar – just like the first time that he lied on 60 Minutes about using PEDs.

    13. Evan3457
      March 15th, 2010 | 6:19 pm

      Steve’s post praising A-Rod is an accurate review of Alex’ work in the past post-season. Kudos to Steve for posting it without any qualifiers.

      I must confess I was waiting for the other shoe to drop; it was a pleasure to get all the way through without the other shoe making an appearance.

    14. Scout
      March 16th, 2010 | 8:15 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Who are you and what have you done with the real Steve Lombardi?

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