• Joe P Kills It

    Posted by on April 29th, 2010 · Comments (21)

    The Joe in this case is Posnanski, and what he nails is a defense of A-Rod.

    Now, there’s been a lot of talk about A-Rod in these parts, and elsewhere, but Posnanski diagnoses the why pretty accurately I think.

    … A-Rod may be singular in our sports scene. Everybody else has rabid defenders. If you take a moment to bash Bob Knight … or Tiger Woods … or Tony La Russa … or Derek Jeter … or Terrell Owens … or Kobe Bryant … or Ben Roethlisberger … or Michael Vick … … or Peyton Manning … or Tim Tebow … or Phil Mickelson … or Randy Moss … or Roger Clemens … or John Calipari … or Roy Williams … or Barry Bonds … or just about any other athlete or coach who might spark negative views (even if is is because they are so positively portrayed), there will likely be a swam or people who will tell you (with gusto) that you are wrong. There are a lot of people who believe John Rocker was misunderstood.

    But you more or less can bash A-Rod with impunity. Few will disagree. Not many believe him misunderstood…

    Posnanski goes on to discuss how any anti-Rod argument just concedes the numbers and his objective greatness and then jumps into Braden-gate to dismiss it as a rookie being obnoxious because he can get away with it.

    . . . it seems to me the key factory here is: It’s A-Rod. And all that entails. I mean, let’s face it … if that was Albert Pujols running across the mound, and that was a pitcher who has accomplished as much as Dallas Braden griping about it — say Anibal Sanchez or someone — it seems to be there would be a whole lot of “Shut your fat face, kid,” talk going on across the country.

    But it’s not Pujols. It’s A-Rod. And because it’s A-Rod, there are suddenly a lot of people saying: “Yeah, you can’t just run across the mound — everybody knows that!” Because it’s A-Rod there are people admiring Dallas Braden for standing up to the big bully who dared stomp on his new carpet. Because it’s A-Rod, the story is lively and the coverage is intense and the opinion seems to be at least leaning Dallas Braden’s way. Hey look: Another reason to despise A-Rod! Dallas Braden got it right in this way. In this world of ours, you can’t go wrong standing against taxes, the declining levels of our schools and Alex Rodriguez.

    In that way, he’s absolutely right – most of us had never heard of this unwritten rule that A-Rod violated, but we have the Tracy Ringloby’s of the world declaring him evil.

    A-Rod’s tact lately has, for the most part, been “shut up and play.” Maybe its time for the rest of us to shut up and watch.

    Comments on Joe P Kills It

    1. MJ Recanati
      April 29th, 2010 | 11:34 pm

      Absolutely, Sean, absolutely.

    2. April 30th, 2010 | 7:28 am

      I liked his column a lot. But, I think he’s underestimated the A-Rod support among Yankee fans. Sure, he’ll never come close to Jeter’s fan club. But he does have a fan base out there, unless all the people wearing No. 13 at the ballpark are doing it in tribute to Mike Pagliarulo.

    3. April 30th, 2010 | 7:31 am

      One other thought: As for A-Rod’s “rabid defenders” in the media, there aren’t a whole heck of a lot of those. (And I do have to laugh about those in the media most willing to point the finger at Rodriguez for breaking unwritten rules nobody ever heard of, are also the very same people (cough, Joel Sherman) who thought Joe Torre violating the rule of “what happens in the clubhouse, stays in the clubhouse” to write a book was A-OK.

    4. YankCrank
      April 30th, 2010 | 8:25 am

      But he’s a disgrace to the game!

    5. April 30th, 2010 | 8:40 am

      Hey, I think I just figured it out!

      In the eyes of those who are fans of Alex Rodriguez, every writer who pens something that doesn’t favor A-Rod is a hack, a moron, a hater, and a douche. And, every writer who authors something positive/in-favor of A-Rod is spot-on, astute, fair, and the best at their craft.

      Heck, this new math isn’t as hard as some claim it to be! ;-)

    6. April 30th, 2010 | 9:09 am

      @ Steve Lombardi: Still waiting for you to explain why Tracy Ringolsby is spot-on in his analysis of how A-Rod bankrupted Tom Hicks, and killed the poor Texas Rangers’ workers’ pension plans! ;)

    7. April 30th, 2010 | 9:17 am

      @ Steve Lombardi: And yes, Sherman is a hack. He complained about Curtis Granderson not getting a game-winning hit against Jonathan Papelbon on Opening Night. This, after Grandy hit a homer in his very first at-bat. I expect a little more perspective from a columnist making six figures to opine about baseball.

    8. MJ Recanati
      April 30th, 2010 | 9:24 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Yeah, Steve, that’s exactly right. Wow, you sure did figure it out.

      Once again with the lack of nuance in your arguments. Did anyone ever say that every story has to be entirely positive for it to be well-received by A-Rod fans? Whatever happened to fair criticism and a little objectivity?

    9. April 30th, 2010 | 9:34 am

      lisaswan wrote:

      @ Steve Lombardi: Still waiting for you to explain why Tracy Ringolsby is spot-on in his analysis of how A-Rod bankrupted Tom Hicks, and killed the poor Texas Rangers’ workers’ pension plans!

      See:
      http://waswatching.com/2010/04/29/ringolsby-a-rod-poster-boy-for-erosion-of-respect-in-the-game/comment-page-1/#comment-280896

    10. April 30th, 2010 | 9:36 am

      lisaswan wrote:

      I expect a little more perspective from a columnist making six figures to opine about baseball.

      Funny, whenever A-Rod’s salary comes up, the line I hear most often here is that “all I care about is his production – the Yankees can afford his salary.” Think the Post can’t afford what it’s paying Sherman?

    11. April 30th, 2010 | 9:37 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Did anyone ever say that every story has to be entirely positive for it to be well-received by A-Rod fans?

      Are you not paying attention to the comments left whenever I post a link to something about A-Rod that doesn’t proclaim his greatness?

    12. MJ Recanati
      April 30th, 2010 | 9:45 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Are you not paying attention to the comments left whenever I post a link to something about A-Rod that doesn’t proclaim his greatness?

      No clue what you’re talking about. You’re taking comments to demonstrate what, exactly? The point should be that the articles themselves (and your posts on this subject, quite frankly) should be more balanced, not that commenters balance out the ridiculous columns themselves.

    13. April 30th, 2010 | 9:48 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Hey, I think I just figured it out!
      In the eyes of those who are fans of Alex Rodriguez, every writer who pens something that doesn’t favor A-Rod is a hack, a moron, a hater, and a douche. And, every writer who authors something positive/in-favor of A-Rod is spot-on, astute, fair, and the best at their craft.
      Heck, this new math isn’t as hard as some claim it to be!

      I’m certainly not saying that, and I don’t know that Posnanski is either.

      I think my argument is, and always has been, that A-Rod is a supremely talented, yet somehow unembraced historical figure.

      I don’t know why that is, but I wish I did.

      Maybe it was the big contract in Texas, then Hicks’ subsequent failure to spend his way to a competent pitching staff, leaving him alone on an island (also to Lisa’s point, Hicks’ borrow and buy strategy with regard to Liverpool FC and slow death of radio have more to do with the pension issues the man in the cowboy hat raised than A-Rod’s contract).

      Maybe it is – to carry on the Duke analogy – the “floor-slapper-ish” nature of some of A-Rod’s actions. His “Ha” yelling, tag slapping, sometimes faux-enthusiasm demonstrating twists and turns have been going on since time immemorial, yet he seems to be the one who gets crucified for those sins.

      It could be any number of things, I really don’t have the diagnosis, all I know is that controversy seems to follow him. And a lot of that controversy is caused by things that if a different player were involved, don’t seem like they’d be that controversial.

    14. MJ Recanati
      April 30th, 2010 | 10:00 am

      Sean McNally wrote:

      And a lot of that controversy is caused by things that if a different player were involved, don’t seem like they’d be that controversial.

      And that’s all any of his fans have ever claimed. None of his fans have ever claimed he’s perfect. The fact is, he doesn’t need to be perfect. He is human, after all. No one’s perfect. He’s merely a great ballplayer doing things that millions of humans (and fellow ballplayers) have done. The scrutiny is ridiculous and represents a monstrous double-standard.

    15. Garcia
      April 30th, 2010 | 10:01 am

      I don’t hate A-Rod and I don’t love A-Rod, especially not as much as I love a lot of other Yankee players.

      Do I think people go a bit overboard with criticism of A-Rod? Unequivocally, yes.

      Do I think A-Rod is in any way innocent? Unequivocally, no.

      Do I think A-Rod brings it all on himself? For the most part, yes! What’s most? You can quantify that as 51 vs. 49 percent, or you can interpret that as 80 (A-Rod bringing it on himself) vs 20 percent.

      A fair number of Yankee fans swing towards the “A-Rod is a victim” side. And that is one thing I can never do: believe that A-Rod is the victim of all the criticism and negative stories written about him.

      I find it frustrating when people paint his antics, non-baseball, to be insignificant. It doesn’t happen in the real world.

      I work with a great engineer, he comes up with awesome designs (most of the time), but he has a number of bad habits:
      1. He thinks he knows more than anyone else.
      2. He doesn’t take constructive criticism well.
      3. He’d rather live on an island than be a part of a team.
      4. He was also accused of domestic violence.

      All these things make him hard to work with, just because someone is extremely great at one thing doesn’t mean we should pardon and overlook the negative.

      If there’s anything that bugs me about the pro A-Rod crowd is that because he’s so great at hitting a baseball, then that means we should overlook most of the things he does outside of the baseball diamond. I don’t think I can ever agree with that logic because, I don’t look at those things as mutually exclusive.

      That said, I think Dallas Braden is a complete douche. I didn’t agree with anything he said and I agree that the criticism going A-Rod’s way is pretty stupid. The same with the WSJ’s report on A-Rod’s homerun trot. Seriously? Enough with that stupidity.

      The bottom line, it all comes down to being evenhanded when it comes to A-Rod. I think that’s my biggest frustration with the A-Rod analysis, people on both sides can’t be evenhanded when looking purely at his actions, and judging him based on the action and not because he’s A-Rod. The problem is, most mere mortals can’t separate the action from the person.

    16. April 30th, 2010 | 10:05 am

      @ Garcia:
      Nice post.

    17. YankCrank
      April 30th, 2010 | 10:18 am

      Garcia wrote:

      If there’s anything that bugs me about the pro A-Rod crowd is that because he’s so great at hitting a baseball, then that means we should overlook most of the things he does outside of the baseball diamond

      But as a baseball fan, why should I care what Alex or any player does outside of the baseball diamond? I don’t need to love A-Rod the human being because as a Yankee fan, I root for what the Yankees do on the field. If Alex goes out tomorrow and saves 1 million starving children, it won’t make him hit the ball any better.

      I liked your post, but this is where I disagree. As a Yankee fan, i’m not in the business of liking their personalities or caring who they date or what they do on their free time. I’m in the business of liking the guys who get the job done for the Yankees on the field, and despite his flaws he’s one of the two best in baseball at getting the job done.

    18. Garcia
      April 30th, 2010 | 10:33 am

      @Steve
      There is no right answer. Being fair or evenhanded is non-existent when talking about a polarizing figure.

      Can we ALL agree that A-Rod is polarizing figure?

      Because if the answer is ‘yes’, then no side is really wrong. Right? I think conceding points, when talking about A-Rod, would help bring about more constructive dialogue. But that’ll never happen.

    19. MJ Recanati
      April 30th, 2010 | 10:34 am

      YankCrank wrote:

      I liked your post, but this is where I disagree. As a Yankee fan, i’m not in the business of liking their personalities or caring who they date or what they do on their free time. I’m in the business of liking the guys who get the job done for the Yankees on the field, and despite his flaws he’s one of the two best in baseball at getting the job done.

      Exactly how I feel.

      Furthermore, considering all of the shady off-field things that others do that is never brought up in the larger conversation about those players, it’s completely disingenuous to say that the on-field and off-field stuff are all part of the same package. If that’s the case, how come no one ever mentions “Andy Pettitte” and “HGH” (or other similar examples for other players) in the same sentence the way they do about A-Rod? People are living in an alternate reality if they think there isn’t a double-standard in the way A-Rod is covered.

    20. April 30th, 2010 | 11:54 am

      @ Steve Lombardi: Touche! And whether the Post can, or they should, are two different things! ;) Mike Vaccaro, worth every penny. Phil Mushnick, worth every penny. Joel Sherman, not so much.

      As for @Garcia’s point about A-Rod, as @MJ notes, “considering all of the shady off-field things that others do that is never brought up in the larger conversation about those players, it’s completely disingenuous to say that the on-field and off-field stuff are all part of the same package.”

      Put it this way – it was darned relevant that Roger Clemens, who was literally getting unprecedented special treatment from the Yankees with that stupid family plan, was actually seeing a whole lot of other females not his wife during this time. And apparently, his cheating ways were known to sports reporters (they certainly had enough of the details after McNamee blabbed on him.)

      Clemens using those special perks to cat around was a heck of a lot more the Yankee fans’ business than the extra-curricular activities of any other player. Yet the media kept on peddling the “Roger Clemens is a great family man” story that they had to know was a lie, at the very same timeframe they were hectoring Alex Rodriguez for being caught with a woman not his wife. Talk about a double standard.

    21. Raf
      May 1st, 2010 | 1:31 am

      YankCrank wrote:

      As a Yankee fan, i’m not in the business of liking their personalities or caring who they date or what they do on their free time. I’m in the business of liking the guys who get the job done for the Yankees on the field, and despite his flaws he’s one of the two best in baseball at getting the job done.

      Especially considering that less than savory characters have donned the pinstripes, cokeheads, alcoholics, and the like. Hell, even the owner’s a convicted felon (since pardoned)

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