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!

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

No Apology Needed

So by now, just about everyone who follows the baseball knows that Alex Rodriguez apologized yesterday.  In a handwritten note, A-Rod stated his passion for the game and his determination to earn his spot on the New York Yankees.  He said that he accepts that not everyone will believe him, and that this is his fault.  Alex says he is ready to move on and just play some ball.

Alex-Rodriguez

Now I understand that he was told by the team to address the media and the fans.  The Yankees and Alex both want this mess behind him.  They are trying to move beyond the point where every article on A-Rod mentions his yearlong suspension and involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.  However, I must say now for the fear that no one else will, A-Rod has no reason to apologize.

Why does Alex need to apologize? Who did he harm, the trust of the fans?  It is ludicrous to believe that as fans we owe an apology when an athlete does something wrong.  It is crazy because as fans of the Yankees we should already support him, and be rooting for his success.  We can’t call ourselves fans if we are rooting against the very players that play for the team.  As fans we should be willing to move on and forgive without receiving an apology.  If we can’t move on without an apology, then we will never move on after the apology.  If we know he made the wrong decision, why would we need Alex to repeat the obvious.

The sad thing is that there are “Yankee fans” that hate Alex with a passion.  There are people who wish he would fail and just disappear.  There are “Yankee fans” who would not hesitate to boo A-Rod.  To these people I have a message to you: Why are you attacking someone who did you no personal harm?  These so called fans are hypocritical, they support Andy Pettitte after knowing he used PED’s at one point in his career and easily forgave and move on when Giambi admitted to PED use.  Let’s not pretend that Alex is the first Yankee to do something wrong, he isn’t.  The fans are supposed to be the support system of the team, and many have entirely bailed out on A-Rod.

Let’s go back to that part where I said A-Rod wasn’t the first Yankee or athlete to do wrong.  Some like to embed into their minds that he is all that is wrong with baseball and athletes.  They considered him the prime example of the person not to emulate.  In 1973, two Yankees swapped wives and families too.  The trade included dogs, kids, and wives, but not houses interesting enough.  If you want to talk about unethical and morally wrong, that should be the case you refer to instead.  If you are looking for someone who lied, refer to Ryan Braun.  He blamed his positive test on a FedEx delivery man, and made the man lose his job.  Then the world finds out he is involved in the Biogenesis scandal, which means he was a repeat offender. He got off easy with a  65 game suspension and Brewers fans supported him throughout.  Or Barry Bonds, never saw him apologize.  Quite the opposite, he was fighting in court denying reality.  We can also look at other sports, where Adrian Peterson has support from the Vikings organization and the fans.  Oh and last but not least we have Ray Rice, who has been forgiven by many for his involvement in domestic abuse.  Lance Armstrong is the only person I can recall that has received as much hate as A-Rod,

Now I am not trying to paint A-Rod as a saint.  At the minimum Alex Rodriguez used steroids in seasons with the Yankees and with the Texas Rangers.  Prior to that however he was still hated by many since the beginning of his career.  Maybe because for a long time it was nearly impossible to criticize his on the field performance.  I see the same criticism towards Bryce Harper and don’t understand it.  Why do some people hate very young and talented players?  Are people just really that envious about people with promising futures ahead of them?  Every record deal he signed brought him more and more hate.  Every milestone reached brought an onslaught of hate.  It gets so bad that when Ryan Dempster failed to hit Alex on three straight pitches, then finally succeeded on the 4th try it brought cheers throughout Fenway Park.  Coming from the same team that was close to trading for him prior to the 2004 season.

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The only people Alex ever should have apologized to was the Yankees and Commissioner Manfred.  He has already apologized to both for his actions in the Biogenesis scandal and for his lawsuit.  These were the only people who were directly affected by Alex’s choices and actions.  A-Rod never should have been compelled to pen an apology to the fans.  The real fans already forgave him, and it will not suppress the hatred of the bitter.  You can steal, you can kill, you can bully, but if you dare cheat you will face some serious heat. (Not a reference to Dempster’s fastball by the way)

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.