• Barra On A-Rod, Yankees Fans & The N.Y. Press

    Posted by on July 26th, 2010 · Comments (23)

    Allen Barra writes about “The unpopular case for A-Rod’s brilliance.” Here’s a snip -

    I’m suggesting that it might be good idea for Yankee fans to get used to the fact that Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players in baseball history, which they haven’t so much denied as simply declined to consider.

    Rodriguez gets plenty of press in New York, but even after leading his team to a pennant and World Series win last year, most of it is still negative. For all the ink on him, including Selena Roberts’s 2009 book, properly called by former New Times columnist Murray Chass “a journalistic disgrace” — we really know very little about him.

    No one, to my knowledge, has even attempted a genuine in-depth profile of Rodriguez. We know which movie star he’s dating, which nightclub he was at last night, and, every couple of months, when he gets together with his children – but that’s about it.

    Exactly why the New York press and fans have never warmed up to Alex Rodriguez isn’t clear. None of the most popular reasons provide a satisfactory answer on their own. Some still insist that he’s arrogant, though egotistical might be the more appropriate term. At any rate, he’s nowhere near Reggie Jackson’s league when it comes to arrogance, and fans here loved Reggie. His brief association with steroids while he was with the Texas Rangers didn’t help, but then both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz have also been tainted by steroid use, and it didn’t hurt their popularity with their home teams (or even at the New Yorker). Has he really lost favor with fans just for dating celebrities?

    So, what do you think? Why has “the New York press and fans have never warmed up to Alex Rodriguez”? And, is A-Rod “…one of the greatest players in baseball history”?

    Comments on Barra On A-Rod, Yankees Fans & The N.Y. Press

    1. Garcia
      July 26th, 2010 | 3:27 pm

      Man so many effing A-Rod stories, please hit # 600 tonight so this all ends soon — though we’ll get the usual stories after that, how many of this 600 homeruns are tainted? blah, blah, blah.

      I don’t agree with Barra at all, I think A-Rod has warmed up much more to the Yankees fan base. I rarely hear anyone complain about him since the Yanks won, I have heard grumblings about the contract but not much else.

      I know I’m pulling for A-Rod to hit #600, I don’t like a lot of things regarding A-Rod, but his play in between the lines isn’t one of those things. I think his hustle falls right in-line with Jeter’s, Tex’s, and pretty much the entire time.

      I don’t care about the PED angle either, that’s just noise, it’s a way for these silly reporters to hide behind their pen and pass judgment on others.

      I have yet to see one positive A-Rod story linked here from the mainstream media, have none really been written?

    2. clintfsu813
      July 26th, 2010 | 4:09 pm

      I live in FL, so Yankee fans arent in abundance here, but the ones I do consort with love Arod. When I go to the games in Tampa the cheers for Arod (and Jeter) drown out the idiotic boos from the Rays fans. I feel its the shit dumping from the media that overshadows the love Alex gets from the casual fan. Most of us love the guy for what he does on the field. And things arent peaches and cream for Sloppi in Beantown. Just wait for another huge slump and you’ll see that.

    3. MJ Recanati
      July 26th, 2010 | 4:22 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      So, what do you think? Why has “the New York press and fans have never warmed up to Alex Rodriguez”?

      I don’t know and I don’t care any more. A certain percentage of the New York fan base — I won’t speculate on number — is easily manipulated like a wind-up car by the words of fools that write for a living. This segment of the population either can’t think for itself or it simply chooses to avoid critical thought when it comes to Rodriguez.

      One way or another, the “why” is irrelevant. They don’t, and they’re missing out on embracing a fantastic baseball player playing in their city for their team. Their loss, not mine.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      [I]s A-Rod “…one of the greatest players in baseball history”?

      Really? It’s a question worth asking? Really?

    4. July 26th, 2010 | 4:39 pm

      While I appreciate Barra writing an A-Rod defense in the first place – he’s one of the few media members not bashing A-Rod – his premise is wrong. A-Rod actually does have fans, as others have pointed out above. Not Jeterlike numbers, but I’d say he does have a strong fanbase. A-Rod has got the haters, too, but I’m sick and tired of writers saying that nobody likes him. Maybe that’s true in the pressbox, but it’s not true among the fans. People didn’t sit out in the rain for 2 1/2 hours yesterday because they can’t stand A-Rod. Two of the KC games were in the top-10 most attended at the ballpark this year, beaten out only by the Subway Series, Red Sox, Old Timers’ Day, and Opening Day. Yes, they even outdrew the Steinbrenner/Sheppard tribute game.

      Garcia writes, “Man so many effing A-Rod stories, please hit # 600 tonight so this all ends soon — though we’ll get the usual stories after that, how many of this 600 homeruns are tainted? blah, blah, blah.” Yeah, it’s amazing how, for a record that we’ve been told nobody cares about, everybody and his brother has an A-Rod story. I’m anxiously waiting to hear what Snooki thinks about the issue – she’s about the only one who hasn’t weighed in!

    5. July 26th, 2010 | 4:41 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      It’s a question worth asking? Really?

      Rank	Player (age)	Adj. Batting Wins
      1	Babe Ruth+ 		130.33
      2	Barry Bonds 		122.33
      3	Ted Williams+ 		110.09
      4	Ty Cobb+   		109.9
      5	Stan Musial+ 		93.88
      6	Hank Aaron+ 		92.01
      7	Lou Gehrig+ 		90.32
      8	Tris Speaker+ 		87.39
      9	Rogers Hornsby+ 	 	85.3
      10	Mickey Mantle+ 		85.27
      11	Willie Mays+ 		83.79
      12	Frank Robinson+ 		78.58
      13	Mel Ott+ 			76.95
      14	Honus Wagner+ 		72.48
      15	Jimmie Foxx+ 		71.91
      16	Frank Thomas 		69.48
      17	Eddie Collins+ 		66.45
      18	Dan Brouthers+ 		65.3
      19	Manny Ramirez (38)        	64.94
      20	Nap Lajoie+ 		61.83
      21	Cap Anson+ 		60.91
      22	Jeff Bagwell 		58.38
      23	Mike Schmidt+ 		58.04
      24	Albert Pujols (30)		57.05
      25	Roger Connor+ 		56.83
      26	Alex Rodriguez (34)	55.79
      
      
      
    6. July 26th, 2010 | 4:53 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      Two of the KC games were in the top-10 most attended at the ballpark this year, beaten out only by the Subway Series, Red Sox, Old Timers’ Day, and Opening Day. Yes, they even outdrew the Steinbrenner/Sheppard tribute game.

      Did you know the Yankees were pushing this before that KC series:

      Save up to 50 percent off the box office price on select Field Seats and other great seating locations compliments of the Hard Rock Cafe.

      Select players will be on hand in the Great Hall from 5-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 22 and Friday, July 23 to greet fans as they enter the Stadium.

      The 2009 World Series Trophy will be on display at Gate 2 during all four games. This Rock On weekend Ticket offer is for a limited time only and tickets are subject to availability!

      Come out to Yankee Stadium July 22-25 for great promotions including Cap Day presented by Canon, Lunch Box Day presented by Party City, Can Cooler Night, presented by Pepsi, and Umbrella Day, presented by J&R Music and Computer World.

      http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/nyy/ticketing/rock_on.jsp?affiliateId=panel_nyy_rockonweekend072110

      That all had something to do with the crowds.

    7. MJ Recanati
      July 26th, 2010 | 4:58 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      I presume that list of 20 Hall of Famers and a few eventual HOF’ers is your way of saying that your question was legitimate? Steve, you’re too much, really.

      I suppose if being on a list of Hall of Famers means you’re not one of the game’s all-time historical greats then you and I have very different definitions of what it means to be historically great.

    8. July 26th, 2010 | 5:16 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi: There’s lots of dog and pony shows throughout the year – Bat Day, discount tickets, etc. They had all seven trophies on display for The Boss’ birthday, July 4. They’ve also had other player meet-and-greets. But they didn’t make it into the top 10 attendance. Again, Two games this weekend beat out the Steinbrenner/Sheppard tribute night, and if there was any game with “buzz,” that was it.

      And again, fans sat through two rain delays this weekend to watch A-Rod. Don’t think they did that because of the giveaways/discounts.

      Would the Yankees have drawn 40+K regardless of A-Rod? Of course. But would they have hit 48K and 47K without him? Doubtful.

    9. redbug
      July 26th, 2010 | 6:03 pm

      “and fans here loved Reggie. His brief association with steroids while he was with the Texas Rangers didn’t help, but then both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz have also been tainted by steroid use, and it didn’t hurt their popularity with their home teams (or even at the New Yorker). Has he really lost favor with fans just for dating celebrities?”
      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      I didn’t love Reggie. Like Arod, he bashed the team’s best, Thurman “Straw that stirs the drink”. Arod went after Jeter, his supposed friend.

      Everything from his opt-out, his bi-racial crap, his cheating on his wife, kissing himself in the mirror, until last yr, unable to hit when it counted, etc. He lost me a long time ago.

    10. July 26th, 2010 | 6:22 pm

      @ redbug: I dunno. If you hate players because of them cheating on their wives, you’re gonna have a very small list of players to root for (if you knew ther full stories, that is). Most players (except for A-Rod, of course) get their personal lives protected by the press.

      As for the kissing himself in the mirror, I got nothing. One of the weirdest things ever.

    11. July 26th, 2010 | 6:26 pm

      @ lisaswan: Don’t confuse the lust of many to say that were witness to some historic event with that meaning they were in love with the person that pulled it off.

      If you were to say there was an excellent chance that Bin Laden was going to give birth to Hitler’s baby, it would draw thousands, even in the rain, who would want to be there and then tell the world, afterwards, that the witnessed the event.

    12. July 26th, 2010 | 7:40 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi: You invoked Godwin’s Law. I win!

    13. Garcia
      July 26th, 2010 | 9:46 pm

      Good one, Lisa. Once Godwin’s law is invoked then that’s an automatic win, you are hereby presented with the WW(F) Championship Belt.

      @redbug
      I totally get why you’d feel like that, but I don’t agree with you on the A-Rod “cheating on his wife” part. Given your list then that’s about the most “normal” thing A-Rod has done. Like Lisa said, for a ballplayer that’s probably an every day occurrence. It’s what ballplayers do, have strange on the road. What’s abhorrent and unforgivable is hitting or raping a woman, A-Rod has never been accused of that and that’s way worse in my book.

      Someone like Ben Roethlisberger is a despicable human being, however, I’m sure you’d find more people that like Big Ben over A-Rod.

      I think A-Rod has done a great job of picking himself up from the PED allegations, I still hold him accountable for most of the things you stated, but he’s not the worse guy to root for.

    14. Garcia
      July 26th, 2010 | 9:47 pm

      err, not PED allegations, but being outed as PED user.

    15. July 27th, 2010 | 12:10 am

      Garcia wrote:

      Ben Roethlisberger is a despicable human being, however, I’m sure you’d find more people that like Big Ben over A-Rod.

      You know what’s scary? You’re absolutely right, though I wonder what kind of people would actually pick Big Ben over A-Rod.

    16. long time listener
      July 27th, 2010 | 12:45 am

      One thing that sticks out in my mind is the “ha” incident in Toronto. If A-Rod had been the fielder on that play, he would’ve been torn to pieces as an idiot too stupid to focus on catching the ball. Also, and I hate to admit this, when A-Rod hit that line drive that struck Huff earlier this year, a part of me worried about what would happen to A-Rod’s legacy if, God forbid, Huff had died. (Yes, it’s more than a little morbid and paranoid, but still, it crossed my mind.) Like Barra, I really don’t understand when people made the decision to hate A-Rod, but they better get over it, because he’s in the inner circle of Hall of Famers.

    17. Evan3457
      July 27th, 2010 | 1:27 am

      Is A-Rod one of the best players of all time?

      Let me consult the Magic 8-ball…it says…

      Stop wasting my time with idiotic questions; of course A-Rod is one of the greatest players of all time. (Special Sentient Edition Magic 8-ball™)

      Out of the top 26 on that list, there’s only about 11-12 of them that are either greater than A-Rod, or that I’d consider rating as greater than A-Rod. Cap Anson ain’t one of ‘em. Neither is Dan Brouthers. Same for Frank Thomas, who I think is very underrated.
      =======================================
      I didn’t always love A-Rod, but I always rooted for him. He always managed to say the wrong thing, what I thought was the forced, phoney thing. But it still hurt to watch him fail so badly in the post-season.

      As I’ve mentioned here, it all changed for me mid-2008. He had been pilloried over the “HA” incident, pilloried again for flopping in the ALCS vs. Cleveland; pilloried again for opting out of his mega-contract, and again for the timing of his opt out.

      People forget that aside from the extended Wang and Posada injuries, A-Rod had his first significant injury in 9 years early in the 2008 season. The Yanks went 6-12 while he was out, dropping from 14-13 to 20-25. 10 days after he came back from that injury, after he had resumed hitting in his usual fashion, the NY Post broke the stripper scandal. And as I read about the scandal, I came to the realization that this was the first time I could remember that a player’s extramarital affairs were deliberately put in the spotlight not as the result of a crime or a lawsuit or a public disturbance, but for no legitimate news reason at all.

      I said to myself, “OK, that’s it. You know what? They’re just out to get him, to tear him down just for being successful and for having the biggest salary. He’s not a perfect human being, far from it. But this is just piling on for no good reason that I can see.

      From that day to this (no matter how stupid it sounds), I have regarded him as an underdog (He’s worth what? several hundred million? A billion?…as the old saying goes, I’d just like to have the interest on his interest), and have rooted for him unhesitatingly. I have taken any and every criticism of him with a ton of salt. I rejoice every time he gets a big hit, doing an internal cartwheel and mentally reminding his detractors where they can stick it.

      When his name was the only one leaked from the list of 103, actually violating his legal right to policy under the agreement of confidentiality between MLB and the MLBPA, I doubled down on A-Rod.

      I remember saying (possibly here, possibly elsewhere) that there was a small chance that having to admit his steroid use might actually help A-Rod; that being able to crack free of the PR bullspit superhero legend he had constructed as armor for himself my actually allow him to relax and just play. In the event, it looks like that’s what happened. And with the post-season of 2009, A-Rod proved he could get it done on the biggest stage, in the biggest market, in the biggest moments of the biggest games. And I said, he has nothing left to prove to anyone. Nothing. And I mean that.

      This attachment is mostly emotional, and therefore, largely irrational, and totally one-sided. I know A-rod doesn’t give a pimple’s pus about me; why would he?

      It doesn’t matter.

      The ironic part is if we’re all still here, and we’re all still affluent enough to be able to afford to care about baseball, then, as with George Steinbrenner, when A-Rod passes from this world, we will see him shoved by a bullspit media avalanche into the Pantheon of Noble Heroes. The very people who praised and then buried him at Marianas Trench level will praise him to the skies, and it will be the turn of those who dislike him to grind their teeth and softly mutter obscenities.

      I wish I was going to be around to see it, and laugh my freakin’ head off, but I almost surely won’t.

    18. MJ Recanati
      July 27th, 2010 | 8:10 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Is A-Rod one of the best players of all time?
      Let me consult the Magic 8-ball…it says…
      Stop wasting my time with idiotic questions; of course A-Rod is one of the greatest players of all time. (Special Sentient Edition Magic 8-ball™)

      We must own the same Magic 8-ball because that’s what mine said too.

    19. Jake1
      July 27th, 2010 | 8:54 am

      he was mighty popular after what he did in october of ’09

      its all about winning

    20. G.I. Joey
      July 27th, 2010 | 9:27 am

      Sometimes people talk about this guy like he’s the only professional ballplayer to have an ego or be a weirdo off the field. Alex Rodriguez is NOT an anomaly when it comes to off the field antics.

    21. Raf
      July 27th, 2010 | 10:04 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      As I’ve mentioned here, it all changed for me mid-2008.

      It changed for me in 2006, when people saying that Rodriguez didn’t have what it takes to play in NY (or something to that extent). They seem to have forgotten that he was the defending AL MVP in 2006. The “sunbathing in Central Park” incident (made front page, IIRC) was stupid as well.

    22. UNC Tarheel
      July 27th, 2010 | 10:23 am

      One of the top 5 Yankees of all time…..period.

    23. MJ Recanati
      July 27th, 2010 | 10:30 am

      Raf wrote:

      It changed for me in 2006, when people saying that Rodriguez didn’t have what it takes to play in NY (or something to that extent). They seem to have forgotten that he was the defending AL MVP in 2006. The “sunbathing in Central Park” incident (made front page, IIRC) was stupid as well.

      That’s when it changed for me as well.

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