A-Rod Cheered in Spring Training

Perhaps you are tired of hearing everything that relates to Alex Rodriguez. He has done a great job of deflecting media attention from other players, so their hasn’t been much news during Spring Training. He also did a great job of drawing cheers from the fans earlier today.

Today was the first full-squad workout, and A-Rod’s first appearance in a Yankees uniform in 17 months. As he stepped onto to the field just before noon, he received cheers from the roughly 500 fans in attendance. Alex also received cheers about an hour later, when he came out of the dugout for batting practice. Alex Rodriguez took 36 swings and hit 3 home runs, receiving an applaud from the audience for each homer.

Hideki Matsui and Alex Rodriguez were the only Yankees to draw any noticeable cheering from the fans throughout the workout. Matsui is currently with the team as a guest instructor. Despite their only being 500 fans, there were a hundred members of the media in attendance.

This is important for Alex, regardless how little cheering generally impacts the game. A-Rod having fan support is significant, considering his comeback from his use of PED’s. When we look at other baseball players who used steroids, many of them have the support of their fan base. Barry Bonds had the Giant’s support, Roger Clemens is beloved in Houston, Manny Ramirez is loved in Boston, Ryan Braun has the Brewers support. Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta also have received support, especially after their strong 2014 seasons. Yankee fans, whether you like him or not, booing him will not make him a better player. Let us root for him to be productive, the relationship still has 3 more years to go!

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Texeira on a diet and more

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Mark Texeira has announced that he is on a new gluten free, sugar free, and dairy free diet. He plans to use this diet for the remainder of his career and hopes it will help him play injury free. This along with the return of his weightlifting program have Texeira optimistic. So much in fact that he expects to hit 30 home runs and 100 RBIs again. If he can capitalize on his prediction, that will be music to our ears.

Texeira has added 13 pounds of muscle so far, and has also been losing fat. He said daily one hour treatments throughout the season were not fun, and this is what helped him commit to his new diet. Mark Texeira is not concerned about hitting the ball away from the shift saying: “That’s exactly what the other team wants, to take a middle-of-the-order power hitter and turn him into a slap hitter.” In order to combat the shift, Texeira said that he would try to hit more extra base hits and walk more often.

Mark Texeira finds it ironic how he was once a rookie in Texas being mentored by A-Rod, and now he will be mentoring Alex on how to handle 1st base. Mark said having a decent backup is important and that he plans on teaching Alex Rodriguez some things.

In other news, Hank Aaron publicly said that he supported A-Rod. Hank Aaron says that he has had the opportunity to talk with Alex Rodriguez in the past, and considers him a nice person. Aaron said he would even consider going to games that Alex plays in. Hank Aaron was very forgiving of Alex, and was looking forward to see what he can do this year. All Yankee fans should embrace Hank Aaron’s sentiment.

Mariano Rivera was spotted in Spring Training recently. Mo is working as a Spring Training instructor for about 2 weeks, and Girardi says that it is Mariano’s decision what he chooses to discuss with the players.

Those were the biggest stories of the past two days. My apologies for being unable to post yesterday, had an unforeseen incident occur yesterday that took up the time I set aside typically for blogging. I will try to get another article out today though.

Andrew Marchand’s “The 24 plus one Yankees take the field”

So originally I had plans on awarding the first ever Baseball Oscars this night. That plan came to a halt after seeing an utterly ridiculous tweet by Andrew Marchand posted just an hour ago. Some of you may have no idea what I am talking about, so the tweet can be seen below:

My first reaction was just utter shock and disbelief. I thought it was Wallace Matthews who had the role of ESPN’s negative Yankees beat writer locked down. But no, as Spring Training approaches their is some stiff competition in that field, with Marchand joining the party. A senior writer doesn’t have enough substance in his articles that he needs to disparage the people he writes about? Seems like a pretty deadly case of insecurity, might need Scooby-Doo to investigate.

I mean look we all criticize people, I did it earlier today when I was frustrated that the Yankee management were afraid to sign Moncada. But that tweet is nothing short of slander and propaganda. Actually those two terms are way to lenient, that was mudslinging in its purest form.

After seeing that title, Mr. Marchand lost my respect. Now I didn’t lose respect of Andrew Marchand the person, I respect all human beings and their right to think freely for themselves. I did however lose respect for Andrew Marchand the journalist. I didn’t read the article, I would suggest for your own mental well-being that you take that same precaution.

The title alone couldn’t have been more offensive, disparaging, or downright disrespectful. To isolate Alex Rodriguez, as if he is a separate entity from the other 24 players couldn’t be a bigger lowball. The Yankees are a thing called a team; this team contains 25 players. All of these 25 players are united as one in representing the Yankees on the field. To break away a part of the team to hurl a cheapshot at individuals is pathetic.

It is amazing how a player can upset the Yankees for showing up to work and upset a senior writer of ESPN. Apparently I am not the only one who saw those comments as inappropriate, as other people tweeted in response condemning the headline. I mean I can do the same thing as Mr. Marchand and hurl cheapshots at people over the internet. I have instead decided to be an example to him and show him that you can live a happy life covering the Yankees or any sports franchise, without tarnishing the reputation of others. Perhaps he just wanted an attention grabber. I would give him advice that A-Rod could probably relate to “No attention is better than negative attention”

A-Rod’s Decline

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ESPN has an interesting sport science video outlining the decline of Alex Rodriguez since he won his last MVP award in 2007. It points at how generating the power of a baseball swing begins with hip rotation, and A-Rod has hip impingement which restricts hip joint movement. Up to 60% of his body mass can lag behind during his swing as a result. This forces A-Rod to generate most the power of his swing through the upper body, and to start his swing earlier. Over time his stance has become 75% wider, and he no longer strides forward but does a small legkick. These adjustments have slowed Alex’s bat speed by approximately 2.5 mph.  Continue reading

A-Rod calls Chase Headley

It seems that A-Rod is looking to make a new friend, with a teammate he has never played with.  Alex is coming off a yearlong suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis case.  After making amends with Commissioner Manfred and the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez is having yet another conversation. Chase Headley says that Alex reached out and introduced himself to him.  Headley says that they both care about winning and that they didn’t talk about battling for the 3B position.  A-Rod is expected to meet with the media at Yankee Stadium early this week.

Rodriguez is hopeful he can win back his old spot at 3B.  This seems unlikely after the Yankees extended Chase Headley to a 4 year deal worth $52 million.  It is unclear how much playing time Alex will be able to get this year.  He is likely to be the backup 3B, part-time DH with Garrett Jones, and a pinch hitter.  A-Rod is owed 61 million over the next 3 years, and it seems like the Yankees will not receive any value from it. Headley is ranked 3rd in my stats called VIM, and is known for his superb defense.

Yearlong hiatus a good thing?

Many people are quick to say that the yearlong suspension of Alex Rodriguez will hurt him.  Sure they are right that a punishment hurts, especially when losing $22M.  But to say that he will be unproductive for the 3 years remaining because of just a year off?

I think we got to back in time and take a look at baseball back in the 40’s.  A time period where Bob Feller, Ted William, Yogi Berra (in the minors), Joe Dimaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, Johnny Sain, Warren Spahn and many others spent at least a year away from baseball in the military?  In fact Ted Williams also left to fight in the Korean War too.  In most cases these players went to war in their prime and sacrifice those years of production to fight overseas in the deadliest war of the era.  With these top players in their era, they came back in top notch form and continued to compile HOF caliber seasons.  So these guys just picked off where they left off last time.  What makes Alex Rodriguez any different?

Yes he is older and yes he has battled through injuries.  But what is stopping him from returning to his previous form.  By previous form I do not mean the form when he was a perennial MVP candidate, I am talking more in the lines of his 2012 or 2013 seasons.  Steroid or not he was one of the best hitters in the game during his 20 year career.  With or without the suspension, these Rodriguez’s last three years in his contract were never going to be one that pays great dividends to the Yankees.  Like all long contracts these years were added to try and retain a player that the team (or just Hal Steinbrenner) felt could help them win now.

What if the suspension helps him?  The time away from the stresses of trying to perform at an elite level sure could help psychologically.  Maybe having a year off can allow him more time to work on driving the ball after experiencing several hip surgeries.  Maybe with all of the Core 4 gone and now being the longest tenured player on the team, Alex Rodriguez will mature and become a clubhouse leader.  All jokes aside, a year away from the game is not as big as we make it seem.  Guys spend a year away from the game after Tommy John and return to their old level of production.  Rodriguez without any injuries to recover from or any wars to return from will be just fine and produce as he did just prior to his suspension, and having a bad rep never bothered him much before.

Alex Rodriguez apologizes to the Yankees

Coming off his yearlong suspension, Alex Rodriguez is looking to clear the air with all parties involved in the Biogenesis scandal.  After previously apologizing to Commissioner Rob Manfred, Rodriguez arranged a meeting with the Yankees.  In his 90 minute meeting today with owner Hal Steinbrenner and team executives, Alex apologized for his conduct throughout the scandal. During his fight to appeal his suspension, A-Rod sued the league and team doctors and questions the Yankee’s honesty and integrity towards the situation.  With this apology out of the way, the team is trying to convince Rodriguez to resolve this yearlong controversy prior to Feb 20th.  Apologies might be the right thing to do, but whether he is genuinely sorry can be argued by the fact that this is a similar scenario to when he admitted using steroid with the Rangers.

The Yankees are still also looking for a way to not pay the home run bonuses in his contract.  The team contends that since he has used PED’s throughout various part in his career, that the milestones have no value.  Alex Rodriguez only needs 6 more homeruns to get a $6M bonus for tying Willie Mays for 4th in career homeruns.  A-Rod has not played in a minimum of 120 games in back-to-back years since 2009 and 2010, so it is hard to predict what amount of value he will have for the Yankees for the remainder of his contract.