Alex Rodriguez and the uniform with pinstripes

DMZ · July 25, 2006 at 5:18 pm · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners 

I understand why Alex wasn’t embraced by Yankee fans. For all of his talk about embracing the pinstripes, he spoke with the same somewhat robotic insincerity that’s been his public face for years, a mask that he grew into that free agent year. Everything he says runs through the self-censor loop, because he’s been so consistently and so harshly punished for verbal slips before, and then he’s criticisized for not being frank and open.

In any event: Alex isn’t having a good year, and it’s certainly not the year the Rangers and Yankees are paying him to have.

From my distant view, this all looks insane. There’s the Yankees broadcast crew, possibly prodded from outside (see rumors), hashing on him, ESPN has been frantically whipping the flames of this conflict as a former GM (who once tried to sign Alex, failed, and then attacked him) and now analyst attracts more and more attention by, over and over, whipping Alex for real but mostly perceived shortcomings. The Yankee fan base seems easily-led and almost irrational, spouting off about how he lacks the soul to play in New York, or the courage to face pressure, and so on, until you want to be sick.

I wonder if this makes future signings or trades that require consent harder. If I was a player, knowing that any bad month or week might be fanned into a wildfire of hatred, I wouldn’t want to play there, no matter how good the money was. It wouldn’t be worth it.

In any event, for a reasonably intelligent view on this, I recommend Steven Goldman’s Pinstriped Blog, on the Yes Network site.
Here, a first view on what was happening, and here, even better, at length answering emails from readers on the situation.

As for the Mariners, if the Yankees did call, offering one of the best players in baseball for pennies on the dollar, well, you take that deal.

You do.


59 Responses to “Alex Rodriguez and the uniform with pinstripes”

  1. LB on July 25th, 2006 11:34 pm

    #45: And A-Rod probably doesn’t even make as much in a year as Tom Hanks, or a few other A-list movie stars. Where’s the hatred for Tom Hanks? Why isn’t the media trying to run him out of Hollywood?

    Nomar Garciaparra used to say that there were a lot of people who would feel better about ballplayers’ having money if they had only gotten it by winning the lottery instead of working hard to develop the skills to play major league baseball.

    There’s a lot of truth in that. I wish I understood why.

  2. mln on July 25th, 2006 11:51 pm

    If A-Rod were available, the Mariners of course should jump on it. As people have said, he does have a no-trade clause, so who knows if he would want to come back. Some Chicago newspaper was saying that A-Rod wouldn’t mind playing in Chicago. If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs this year, heads will probably roll in New York. So you never know.

    As for the A-Rod hate, it is because he makes so much money or because he seems to have a kind of Eddie Haskell personality. Or is it because people (and the media) love to build up heroes only to tear them down. In New York, I think some of the sports media is in a feeding frenzy over A-Rod. They smell the blood in the water, and they relish the chance to pile on…

  3. ivan on July 26th, 2006 4:14 am


    No, it’s because some people are just idiots. Think about it. Alex is the best player in baseball and certainly the best player on the Yankees. He’s better than any SS OR 3B the Yankees have ever had. Yet they boo him and say “he’s not really a Yankee.” I mean WTF?

  4. mln on July 26th, 2006 5:00 am

    re: 53. Yankee fans … idiots.

    These two terms might become synonyms for each other, if they haven’t already.

  5. MickeyZ on July 26th, 2006 8:00 am

    The reason why people hate A-Rod more than rich movies stars has to do with the perception of sports teams.

    Fans generally think of their team as “their guys” in some way. True, the players come from all over and may not even like the city they play in. They were born somewhere else and will probably live somewhere else when they retire, and most are just with the team for a couple of years anyway. It’s not logical, but then the appeal of sports is based on emotion, not logic.

    When A-Rod left, he essentially told the fans “a huge sack of money is more important to me than all the warm feelings you’ve felt for me over the years.” Thus, people hate him.

  6. Max Power on July 26th, 2006 9:44 am

    Also, before the guy from the other thread repeats the oft-repeated nonsense about A-Rod’s contract preventing Texas from spending money to win: It didn’t. That’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a fact, easily checked. Texas spent plenty of money over the A-Rod contract, and spent it stupidly. That this incorrect assertion has been refuted innumerable times will not, of course, keep it from being repeated from now till the end of time by people who simply don’t care what’s true if it doesn’t match the story they want to believe.

    I could see an argument that the scale of the contract influenced spending decisions though. I don’t know what TX operating budget was/is, but I would have to assume that the $252m was decidedly non-trivial. In that sense, it wouldn’t necessarily cause them to spend less, but perhaps more foolishly.

  7. Steve T on July 26th, 2006 10:00 am

    A phony WHAT, exactly? He’s a baseball player. If you’re looking for a religious icon, you’re looking in the wrong place, and you DESERVE to get snookered. If you’re looking for a baseball player, you couldn’t find a better one. There’s not a damn thing phony about what he’s accomplished. The youngest player ever to 450 home runs, by almost a YEAR; what part of that is “phony”?

    Ballplayers are not puppets displaying various human characteristics for some kind of dumbed-down morality play.

    Another thing I don’t get is, if you’ve got something that’s extremely valuable, but you want to sell it, why would you go to such extreme lengths to trash it publicly? You’d think the Yanks would be talking him UP, not down. “Bad Alex” is still the best 3B in the league, and this is the first time he’s ever been below Saint Jeter in the VORP table. I’d like to wait and see how that ends up before calling it.

    This is honestly about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Take ARod? Are you nuts? Not unless you like to win baseball games. Sheesh.

  8. revbill on July 26th, 2006 10:41 am

    Having heard a lot of stories about baseball players and other athletes from someone who worked in a bar frequented by them, I can say with confidence that a lot of them would be improved significantly if their only negative trait were being a “phony.”

    And am I the only one who remembers Alex, before he left Seattle, stating that he would go to the highest bidder? It surprises me that people claim he said it was “not all about the money” when I distinctly remember him saying it was (I was shocked at the time).

    And Snelling! Huzzah!

  9. colm on July 26th, 2006 12:21 pm

    It’s hearsay, but what I’ve heard from the couple of technicians I know who have worked on the Mariners’ broadcast crew over the years is that Alex was a very nice guy to work with, while Junior was a bit of a brat.