Results tagged ‘ Rodriguez ’

Mo (is still) money

Mariano Rivera’s postseason legacy is safe. But his continued excellence in the context of this October just adds another layer of marvel to his resume.
Other closers had a wretched time of it. Huston Street, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Braxton, Jonathan Papelbon, Brian Fuentes — they all had major meltdowns.
And in the midst of it all, it was still Mo Money. … 
Speaking of meltdowns … what is it with Angels left-handed relievers in the postseason?
Twenty-three years ago, Gary Lucas “blanks out” and hits Boston’s Rich Gedman with his only pitch of Game 5 of the ALCS. In the 2004 ALCS, Jarrod Washburn serves up a series-losing 10th-inning homer to David Ortiz. A week ago,  Fuentes feeds three identical fastballs to Alex Rodriguez, the third being swatted for a game-tying homer. And tonight, Scott Kazmir plays Frisbee with a bunted ball. … 
Do you realize there were no home runs hit in two of the three ALCS games in Yankee Stadium, after only one such game during the entire regular season? …
The World Series opponents are even in at least one regard: The Phillies’ starting infield jacked 109 home runs, the Yankees’ 112. …
Curt Schilling definitely is one guy who didn’t see Alex Rodriguez’s October revival coming. The former pitcher had dismissed A-Rod’s prospects a week before the start of the postseason, saying, “For a guy that’s as good as he is, he still strikes out a lot. Guys who strike out a lot tend to have a tough time in October.”
You mean, Curt, guys like Reggie Jackson? … 
Congrats to Tony La Russa for his new deal with the Cardinals? Nay – congrats to fans who will have the pleasure of the brilliant strategist’s and motivator’s continued presence in dugouts a little longer.
Following the bitterly disappointing NLDS, La Russa had briefly considered making his getaway from the Gateway. What changed his mind? Certainly not the lure of becoming MLB’s all-time winningest manager. Though La Russa is No. 3 on the list, he is 1,179 wins behind Connie Mack (although he now has a good shot at the 212 he needs to pass runner-up John McGraw’s 2,763). … 

Here’s a tip: Don’t have a cow

Off the top of my head … 

Unlike Alex Rodriguez, I’ve never been accused of pitch-tipping. However, there was that one summer in the country when we did a lot of cow-tipping. … 
Ironic, isn’t it? One minute, we learn that the staff of a well-known restaurant chain hated A-Rod because he didn’t tip, the next we’re told he tipped on the field. Maybe the guy just gets confused occasionally and doesn’t know where he is. … 
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Headline: “Nats see light at end of tunnel.” Well, I hope they can get off the tracks before the train gets too close. … 
I recently speculated on mlb.com that Randy Johnson, who regrets not being able to close his 300-win deal while pitching for his hometown Diamondbacks, may yet get the opportunity to post the milestone “W” in Phoenix. The Giants will return to Chase Field on June 9 and Johnson — currently sitting on 297 — could come home at 299.
Well, you can probably scratch that scenario. Following that June 9-11 series, the Giants will return to AT&T Park, to host the neighboring A’s in an Interleague series, no less. Bruce Bochy would be certain to manipulate his rotation so the Big Unit can go for magic number at home. …
Gotta admit, am a bit confused why Adam Dunn’s oops “Natinals” game jersey would fetch $8,000 at auction. If misspelled words have become so pricey, most email writers and blog authors would be filthy rich. Dan Quayle’s memoirs would bring more than a Picasso. …
Mariners fans sent one of those recordable get-well cards to the Seattle reliever disabled the other day with biceps tendinitis: “… Soon enough, the call will go out To … Morrow. …”
When Adrian Beltre was going through free agency a few years ago, agent Scott Boras’ legendary dossier compared him to Mike Schmidt, Rodriguez and other all-time third base greats. Now, he is already comparing high school pitcher — and top draft pick-in-waiting — Stephen Strasburg to the fictional Sidd Finch.
Any truth to the rumor Scott cut his representation teeth as a theatrical agent who pushed Gary Coleman as “the next Sidney Poitier”? … 
Sorry, I reached the bottom of my head. Later … 

But wait, that’s not all! …

The only thing Ivan Rodriguez’s marketing is missing is a barker like Billy Mays.
All spring, the unemployed catcher has been saying that whichever team signs him would be getting a great deal because he was in such great shape. Pudge even compared it to winning the lottery.
He stepped up the salesmanship in Puerto Rico’s World Baseball Classic opener, going 4-for-4 with two homers with a “Best Buy” come-on on his jersey.

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I am told that Best Buy is a corporate sponsor of Team Puerto Rico, but I don’t buy it. That was just another pitch from Pudge. … 

Jacoby Ellsbury may be happy in Ft Myers to have the Red Sox’s centerfield job all to himself, but he isn’t the only one relieved that the firm of Ellsbury and Crisp has been broken up. Coco Crisp looks like a different player in Surprise. Not just the .471 average for the Royals. He’s swinging more aggressively and playing looser.

If K.C. becomes as big a surprise (no pun intended) as I think it will, Crisp will regain the high profile that got squashed in Boston. … 
One game into the Indians’ return to Arizona, Cleveland skipper Eric Wedge conceded that Cactus League games tend to be more high-scoring than exhibitions in Florida (due to the dry air) but expressed confidence that his pitchers’ psyches would survive.
Yeah, well they may be on the critical list after allowing 80 runs in the first 10 games. Combined, the Tribe and its opponents have put up 139 runs in those games. …
With this extended spring training, do you realize that a team that has to play a maxed-out postseason will have played 217 games February through November? … 
Dang, wasn’t No. 1 available? Jet Blue Airways observed Manny Ramirez’s return to th Dodgers by offering Southern California fans discounted one-way tickets at $99 — an homage to Manny’s uniform number. … 

Rights of Spring

Man, I hate it when Spring Training and actual sounds of the game interrupt that wonderful flow of steroids, government intervention and $$$ news. …

Hate it about as much as New York-style pizza, Arizona sunsets, Clint Eastwood movies and anything by Sade or Jamie Callum (check him outhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdm2A7ZsgH4&feature=related). …

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SELENA ROBERTS: Is anyone else just a little perturbed that her co-authored expose of Alex Rodriguez in Sports Illustrated turned out to be a precursor to her previously-unmentioned book, the release of which has now been rushed up a month by publisher HarperCollins?“A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez” will now hit the shelves on April 14. …

PLAYERS when they sign big contracts: “It’s not about the money.” The same guys, now that the money has shrunk a little, on their way to the retirement home: “Man, it’s just not worth it.” …

SNUGGLES: Yeah, those dumb commercials for the “blanket you wear as a robe.” The part about wearing them outdoors at a Little League game always cracks me up, it is so lame. But darned if a fan didn’t show up wearing a bathrobe (brand unknown) for last weekend’s Notre Dame-UCLA game in Pauley Pavilion. It was a 10 a.m. start, so I guess a good thing the guy wasn’t still chewing his toothbrush. …

STEROIDS-SLASHED STATS: The problem with all this talk about downsizing the home-run counts of alleged cheats is, what do you then do to the teams who profited by them? Do you take away the pennants accumulated by the A’s (Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada), Rangers (Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez) and Yankees (too many to list)? …

DUSTIN PEDROIA: At a listed height of 5-foot-9 (and even that, maybe in high heels), he is the shortest American League MVP in 54 years, since 5-foot-8 Yogi Berra earned the trophy in 1954. Joe Morgan, 5-foot-7 and also a second baseman, took NL honors in 1976. For the record, other 5-foot-9 MVPs have been Ichiro Suzuki (2001), Ivan Rodriguez (1999), Terry Pendleton (1991) and Nellie Fox (1959). …

NEIL DIAMOND: Had the Dodgers not skipped out on Brooklyn, baseball might have had an outfielder with the perfect ball name. The singer revealed during the run-up to last week’s Grammy Awards, “I started taking guitar lessons when the Dodgers left Brooklyn. I was so depressed, so my parents bought me a guitar.” …

YANKEES: How many times. in the wake of the A-Rod Week, have you heard one of them insist, “We’ll support him. We’re like a family.” Or, like Family Feud. We shall see. …

Trucking along

Rites of Spring? It begins with the Rides of Pre-Spring.
As new-wave as baseball has become — start with sports’ state-of-the-art website, ballpark organ music replaced by metal rock, facial hair and tattoos a must — it can still roll out quaint traditions.
None of them is as retro as the fuss made everywhere about the departure of equipment trucks to Spring Training camps. It’s trumpeted as a sure sign to the snow-bound and chilled-to-the bone that spring is on the way, never mind what Punxsutawney Phil has to say.
Some teams take the custom to bizarre heights.
For instance, the Red Sox actually preceded the trucks’ pullout with a parade, with Johnny Pesky serving as “Grand Marshal of the Red Sox Spring Training Equipment Truck Departure Parade.”
The Texas Rangers generously announced that, “all media outlets are welcome to cover the truck’s departure.” Coverage? “Frank turned the ignition key, slowly accelerated, and made a nifty left turn out of the parking lot.”

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The Phillies touted their truck getaway as a great “photo opportunity.” Bet Philadelphia paparazzi were all over that one.
BTW, ever wonder what’s in those trucks, besides the basics of balls and uniforms?
Among other contents, the Phillies’ truck included:
  • 15 cases of gum (regular and sugarless)
  • 2 cases of sunflower seeds
  • 10,000 12 oz. cups (the drinking kind)
A-ROID? A-FRAUD? How about A-Freud. With all his insecurities, Derek Jeter fixation, self-admitted thing for muscular women and obsession with how he is perceived by others, Alex Rodriguez could keep a room full of Sigmund Freuds busy for weeks. …
IRONIC aside by Gerry Fraley at Foxsports.com, alluding to the widespread steroids culture in the Texas clubhouse which Rodriguez had just joined: “If the Johnny Appleseed of steroids in baseball is ever identified, it is likely that he will have played for the Texas Rangers.”
Well, connecting some dots … Brian Downing ended his career with the Rangers in 1991-1992, the perceived dawn of the steroids era. Downing, whom I covered with the Angels in the ’80s, was absolutely one of my favorite people, a genuinely nice guy and passionate player.
But he was also known as the Incredible Hulk for bulking up following his 1978 trade from the White Sox to the Angels. Downing had totaled 26 homers in five seasons in Chicago, then had six seasons of 20-plus with the Angels. Incredible, or Inflatable, Hulk? …
WITH THE RYAN Howard settlement, the Phillies dodged arbitration hearings with all 10 of their eligible players. But peace between the clubhouse and the front office came at a steep price. The 10 resulting contracts represent a total commitment of $151,520,000, with $53,020,000 of that on the ’09 payroll. …
THE NY MEDIA has been in full Rodriguez-bashing mode, but what about the NY fans? They’re being remarkably tolerant, at least as reflected in a N.Y. Daily News poll of whether Rodriguez remains Hall of Fame worthy, in which votes are running virtually even under the three possible sentiments: (a) Yes, he’s still a dominant force; (b) No, this is the last straw; (c) Maybe, but he needs to come clean. …
Keep on … well, you know what.


Faultless Joe

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Thirty years after Sparky Lyle and collaborator Peter Golenbock gave us the incisive “Bronx Zoo,” New York seems to be of the opinion that Joe Torre’s forthcoming book should be titled “Bronx Pooh,” given how it reportedly spoils his Yankee Years.

Please. The flash point of sneak peaks into the 477-page book (it will be released on Tuesday) has been Torre’s portrayal of Alex Rodriguez as an attention freak, someone who “needs people to make a fuss over him.”

You mean, someone prone to letting his agent announce that he is opting out of his contract during the final game of a World Series?

Gee, never saw that one coming.

The same media which mocked A-Rod’s duplicity and respected Torre’s candor now sure seems quick to label The Skip as a pariah.

That seems to happen a lot to people who leave The City. A suggestion for high-profile folks moving out: Leave backwards, without exposing your back. …

Oh, by the way — the Yankees have to start from scratch, but Torre’s postseason streak is alive at 13 (one more, and he ties Bobby Cox’s record). …

In retrospect, given the clubhouse contempt for Rodriguez of which GM Brian Cashman had to be aware, how amazing is it that the Yankees gave him a new 10-year contract after he had voided the old one? …

Scott Boras, on Nov. 12, two days before open-bidding commenced for Manny Ramirez: “Beginning Friday, I will begin, for the first time, taking serious offers.” That was a nice dig at the Dodgers’ opening bid of two years for $45 million but, 10 weeks later, Boras is still waiting.

So, naturally, he tells us yesterday that “the process has begun.” I’d love to give Dr. Cal Lightman, the Tim Roth character in Fox’s new “Lie to Me” series, five minutes in a closed room with all agents, one by one. …

Why Lou Piniella has to bat Alfonso Soriano leadoff: He’d be a rally-killer in the middle of the lineup; he’s always been allergic to runners on base. Soriano is a career .255 hitter with men in scoring position and last season hit .160 with men on third and two outs.

Such stats help explain his 270 career homers but only 705 RBIs, an amazing split. He is one of 28 historical players who have hit between 260 and 280 home runs; among the other 27, only Adam Dunn has a lower RBI total (a shameful 672 on 278 blasts) — which might help explain why he’s also still looking for a uni. …

And in case you were wondering of the current whereabouts of George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader whose name is on the report that brought baseball’s PED culture into the open — he’s visiting Cairo.

No, not Miguel — as Pres. Obama’s special Middle East envoy, Mitchell is on the first leg of an eight-day tour of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, France and Britain. Dude’s pretty important, and tells you why his report has so much credibility with the big boys of government. …


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