Saturday, August 30, 2008
Bronx, New York (AP) - Sen. Barack Obama has taken a stance on healthcare, the economy, education, and the energy crisis. Now, he has taken a stance on another crisis: the A Rod Crisis. Speaking last night in a surprise visit to Yankee Stadium, just twenty-four hours after accepting his Democratic presidential nomination, Obama made clear to Yankees fans and the city of New York how he feels about A Rod.
"We are here because we love this team too much to let the next nine years look like the last four. It is time, fans, that we stand up and say 'four is enough'," he told the roaring crowd of nearly 56,000, who donned signs stating the simple need for "CHANGE".
In a speech that lasted just under thirty minutes, Obama touched upon A Rod's horrible abilities to perform in the clutch, his drainage of resources, and the absurdity of him occupying the most important spot in the batting order, where he doesn't have the emotional stamina to succeed.
Sen. Obama also took time to attack the Yankees' front office. "Now, I don't believe that the Steinbrenners and Cashman don't care what's going on in the lives of Yankees fans. I just think they don't know. Why else would they pay a man $300 million to consistently and evermore-predictably disappoint? How else could they justify spending that much on one individual, yet investing nothing in our most important asset: our farm system? How else could they let this man walk away, close the door in their face, then welcome him back with open arms? It's not because the Yankees front office doesn't care. It's because they don't get it."
Obama's speech was a landmark in the movement to get A Rod off the Yankees. With the support of such a powerful leader, the movement will head into the offseason with momentum, and may prove to be the defining moment in a movement that has been mostly grassroots-based to this point.
He concluded his speech by urging his supporters to have faith through such trying times. "Yankees fans, we cannot walk alone, and we cannot turn back. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. Without A Rod."
Friday, August 29, 2008
A Response to All the Haters:
Thanks to my favorite beat writer, Peter Abraham, over at Lohud’s, this site has garnered some serious attention over the last ten hours or so. And this site has also garnered some serious HATE. So allow me to do my best to respond to all these haterade drinkers. This should be about as effective as trying to convince a room full of Bush-supporters that the War in Iraq was a bad decision, but here goes.
First off: calm. down. You may think I’m out of my mind for starting a blog aimed at getting A Rod off the Yankees, but some of these people who have been commenting are clearly missing the point. You see, there was a day, not so long ago, when a fan had nowhere to channel his frustration with his favorite team. There was a day when a fan had nowhere to go after watching “the best hitter in baseball” put up a golden sombrero, leave eight men on, or strike out on a pitch in the dirt to end the game. But thanks to the bustling online civilization known as “the blogosphere” those days no longer exist, my
friends enemies. Today, we find ourselves in a new era, when a fan can form his own opinions and put them out there for anyone in the world to see, with the simple click of a few buttons. And after Tuesday’s debacle of a performance by A Rod, I decided to do just that. My opinion is that, despite all the gaudy numbers that A Rod is capable of providing, when all things are considered, I would rather not have him on the team. It’s as simple as that. That’s my opinion, I feel strongly about it, and rather than choosing to keep it to myself, I chose to share it with you. As for this being a waste of my time, I can do what I please with my time, and I’m having fun spending my time doing this, so thank you for your concern, but I am in no way “wasting my time”. You, on the other hand, may need to evaluate your own use of your time if you are using your life-minutes reading something that you so vehemently disagree with. Remember, those life-minutes don’t rollover once you die, so you may want to use them more strategically.
Secondly: Do I truly believe that by starting this blog, there is any chance in hell that I am starting a revolution that will someday, somehow culminate with A Rod’s removal from the Yankees organization??? Of course I do. That’s why I started it, dummies.
Third: Have I mentioned that I hate A Rod? He is without a doubt one of the best hitters to ever play this game, yet in the most crucial moments of individual games, in the most crucial of games, he is the absolute LAST player that I would ever want at the plate. If you are a true Yankee fan, is he the one you want up in that type of situation? Think about that for a second. Try to think about a time when the Yankees have been down 2 in the bottom of the 9th, with two men on and two outs, and you see A Rod stepping into the batter’s box, twisting his bat, chewing his gum with his signature “This is why I’m hot” playing over the loudspeaker at Yankees stadium. Think of that, and try to convince yourself that he is the person that you want up. Try to make the connection between Alex Rodriguez, one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game, and the Alex Rodriguez that is entering the game at that very moment, with the outcome on the line. Can you do that? I sure can’t.
Fourth: See that counter in the top right? By visiting this site, you have just added 1 to the number of people who support A Rod being off the Yankees. Notice I didn’t name this counter “site visitors”. So thank you for your support, please continue reading, and congratulations on being part of the revolution. You’ll thank me someday.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
In many ways, the New York Yankees are no different than a company or corporation. They run to make a profit, their success is measured by customer satisfaction (read: championships), and they face constant competition from other, similar companies. Like any business, they must invest in capital, which will help move the company forward and achieve success. Like any business, they must evaluate the options they have before them in regards to all operational needs, and determine how they will be best suited to beat out the competition and attain the highest level of success. So one day, a great salesmen named Scott Boras walks into the office of Yankees, inc. to visit with Brian Cashman, their CEO, and informs him of an incredible copier that has just recently become available to the public.
"Not only is this copier incredible, but it is one of the best, if not the best copiers that has ever been invented. It will copy more pages in a shorter time frame than any copy machine currently on the market. The quality of its copies will be so crisp, that it will make every other copy machine look inferior in comparison. This copy machine is so amazing, that it will single handedly raise your business to the top. You will beat every competitor, because of what this copy machine will bring to your company," Boras tells Cashman. Cashman listens to Boras, and thinks about how the ability to make copies is so crucial in the industry, and how important it is to have a copier. He thinks about all Yankees, inc. could accomplish with a copier this advanced, and he asks for the price.
“Well sir, when you are getting the best, you must pay for the best. This copier is truly one of a kind, it is the only one that has ever been made. So it's going to cost more than any other copier has ever cost. But I assure you, it is the best. You are one of the few companies that has both the resources and the demand for a copier of this caliber. I promise you, Mr. Cashman, you will not regret this purchase.” Cashman looks at the numbers, and speaks with President Steinbrenner, explaining what Boras told him about how this copier performs better than any copier he has ever seen, and has the potential to copy the most pages at the highest quality in the history of copiers. And Steinbrenner has heard of this copier, and he learns that one of his biggest rivals has been pursuing this copier (remember, only one exists), so he signs on the dotted line, and the copier is his. In the first few quarters of the Fiscal Year, the copier is performing just as expected. Revenue is up, customer satisfaction is up, and the number of pages being copied is unprecedented. This copier will surely take Yankees, inc. to the top.
Then one day, the company has a very important legal document that they need 1000 copies of in a matter of minutes (don't ask why, just go with it). And this legal document will essentially shut down Yankees, inc.'s competition once all the copies are released. So Cashman grabs one of the interns, and the intern slides the piece of paper into the copier and waits for the copying to begin. The intern is excited, because he has never seen a copier this fast, and he can't wait to see how quickly it will be able to make these copies. But an error pops up on the screen. And the intern puts the paper in again, and again, an error message. So he runs and grabs Cashman, worrying that he may have been doing something wrong. So Cashman runs to the copier, follows the standard procedure, and hits START. And on this third try, the copier fails again. Time is running out, and before he knows it, it is too late, the document was not copied, and Yankees, inc. will not be able to beat out their rivals. Distraught, Cashman looks at the error screen, still not understanding why this amazing copier that was supposed to be the best ever, that the company had invested so much in, had failed him in such dire circumstances. And he sees there is a small message on the screen. And he leans in close, squints his eyes, and reads it aloud: “This is why I’m hot.”
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
When you think about it, if you were A Rod, would you want to make the playoffs? I mean, seriously. Think about this for a second. Forget the preconceived notion that professional athletes want to win championships at any and all costs. Put yourself in the shoes of our “best player”. It’s the end of August, we’re 6 games out of the Wild Card, and the media has been up your ass all year for your failure to deliver in the clutch, not to mention you extramarital affair with a former pop culture (now aged and masculine) icon. You are making $30 million for doing your job, no matter how much you work, no matter how productive you are, and no matter when you perform the duties you were hired to perform. No matter what you do for a living, would you ever turn down the option of making an equal amount of pay for less hours worked? Of course you wouldn’t. So, what makes you think A Rod would? What has A Rod ever done to show that he has a burning desire to not just win a championship, but to deliver a championship? Some players actually seem to crave the opportunity to be put in a pressured situation where the fate of their team, the fate of their season, rests within the grips of their batting gloves. Some players crave the satisfaction and joy that comes with winning a championship. Does A Rod want to win a championship? Probably. But he wants someone else to take care of the dirty work. He wants to take his cuts, get back to the dugout, and watch his more courageous teammates win ballgames. A Rod is downright afraid of playing in the playoffs. The numbers don't lie.
.279, 7 HRs, 17 RBIs, 38 Ks in 147 ABs (even worse since joining the Yankees)
So if hitting is his skill, then hitting in the playoffs is his weakness. If you are in a job, and you know that you have one weakness, and you can either do your job and have that weakness exposed, or you can do your job without having to expose that weakness, and either way you make the same amount, and that amount is enough to provide for you and many, many of your future generations, which do you choose? Of course, you choose the option that allows you to hide your weakness, and make the same salary. So which choice does A Rod make?
Perhaps he wants to make the playoffs, to give himself an opportunity to prove his worth to the fans and the media, to prove that he can deliver a championship. But even if that were to happen (and, I assure you, it won't), how long would that last? Maybe through the following season, maybe even through a couple seasons. But it would certainly not give him a free pass through the remainder of his contract, with however many millions of dollars were left to be made. Inevitably, the criticism and boos would return when he starts his choke show again. And A Rod knows this. He knows that no matter what he does, the New York media will always be poised to chomp him to pieces the first chance they get. He knows that he has issues dealing with high-pressure situations, and he has sought counseling to help with these issues, and that as long as he is aware of these issues, they will never disappear. Does he have the testicular fortitude to confront these issues head-on, to dive into a venture as daring as the playoffs, and put himself out there at the risk of further criticism, boos, and humiliation? If his individual at-bats in crucial situations such as last night are any indication, then he doesn't have the testicular fortitude to do much of anything. So I arrive at the conclusion that A Rod would rather not play in the playoffs, where the microscope is that much sharper, and the margin of error that much thinner. He would rather go through his years without having to confront his deepest issues, rack up the statistics and MVP awards that will make him appear (on paper) as the greatest hitter that has ever played, make his $30 million a year, let the season end by September 30, and make his way through his masculine love-interests offseason, after offseason, after offseason.
He's just that kind of guy.
For the past four years, I've watched A Rod tear through April and May like a man possessed, only to crap out as the season draws to a finish, and pathetically crash in the playoffs. I've watched him win two individual awards as the league's "most valuable" player, and have one of the best seasons that any hitter as ever had last year. Yet, despite these incredible individual accomplishments, he has failed to deliver the highest measure of success for Yankees fans and the Yankees organization: a championship. Is A Rod singlehandedly to blame for the Yankees lack of championships? Of course not. There are plenty who deserve blame for the past four seasons (Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, to name just a few). But when evaluating the success (or lack thereof) of any entity, be it a corporation, an organization, or a professional baseball team, you must start at the top. You must start with the individual who receives the highest salary and, thus, has the highest expectations bestowed upon him/her. And you must look at this individual and ask: what has this individual done to promote the success of this company/organization/team? Has this individual performed to the level of expectations, and delivered what he/she was hired to deliver, for the salary at which he/she was hired? And you look at A Rod, and you ask these questions, and the answer is one big, resounding, NO.
Last night pushed me over the top. I was at the game, the first game I've been to since July, when I still had hope for this season. All season, and most of his career, I’ve been ripping on A Rod. And all season, and most of his career, people have been defending him. And while I have been ripping him, he has, at times, done something that made me look like an idiot, like blast a shot into the black seats or make a diving play to rob someone of extra bases. So last night, I went to the stadium with the full understanding that at some point, A Rod might do something that would make me look like an idiot for bashing him. He might do something that would explain why he makes more than any other athlete who’s ever lived (not including endorsements). He might do something that shows why he’s one of the best baseball players to ever live. Hell, he might even do something to show that the Yankees are superior to the rival Red Sox, solely because they have Alex Rodriguez, one of the best players to ever play the game. So I went into the game prepared for this, and every time A Rod came to the plate, I thought, “OK, he is a great hitter. He’s gotta prove me wrong eventually.” And A Rod had 5 at bats last night. And in those 5 at bats, he had a total of 7 men on base. And in those 5 at bats, he did something that I have never seen anyone do in my lifetime of going to baseball games. He made 7 outs, and left every single runner on base.
Last night disgusted me, and I would be doing myself and Yankees fans everywhere a disservice if I did not do something about this situation we have found ourselves in. It is time, as Yankees fans, to stand up and say, "Enough is enough." May this be a beginning of a movement. A movement to rid the New York Yankees, the most storied and successful baseball franchise to ever trod the Earth, of Alex Rodriguez, the most wretched and cursed player to ever don a uniform. The movement has to start somewhere, and this is where it will begin, on this August 27, 2008. Together, you and I can make a difference.