Friday, April 23, 2010

A-Rod, Dallas Braden, and baseball's unwritten rules

I've decided who to blame for the Alex Rodriguez-Dallas Braden war of words at yesterday's game - Ken Singleton!

The Yankee broadcaster made the mistake of saying during yesterday's game that everything was quiet around A-Rod this year. An inning or so later, A-Rod's supposed breach of baseball's unwritten rules ensued, and we got a bona fide A-Rod controversy again, for the first time this regular season.

Hasn't Singleton learned by now that just when you think everything around Alex is smooth sailing, that something else will happen? I learned this lesson a few years ago, when I wrote a Squawk about how controversy-free A-Rod had been. I even made a joke wondering what he would have to do to get some front page tabloid headlines. Literally just a few hours later, Squawker Jon called me to tell me the breaking news of the day - A-Rod was dating Madonna!

Anyhow, I can't believe people - including a few Yankee fans - are defending Braden, a guy who told ESPN that he was taught at Texas Tech (it figures!) that the mound was in the center of the diamond because the pitcher is "the center of the universe."  Geez, and people think A-Rod's ego is out of control!

Braden reminds me of the jerks you see everyday, who start fights when somebody innocently brushes against them, screaming about being disrespected. What a clown.

As it happens whenever A-Rod is involved, everybody around baseball seems to have an opinion. I loved what Greg Cohen of "Sliding Into Home" had to say:
Next time these two teams play I hope the entire Yankees team stands, spits, does jumping jacks and cartwheels on his mound before his first inning of work, and then continues to do so throughout the game. See how he feels after that.

Fack Youk ran a collection of quotes (and included yours truly!) Bill James was particularly outspoken:
I've never heard of such a rule. To be honest, people are always coming up with unwritten rules that you're not supposed to do something that they don't happen to like, but usually, it's some old manager who is upset about a kid bunting to break up a no-hitter or something. THAT'S annoying, but when it's a fairly anonymous player springing an unwritten rule on a 34-year-old Hall of Famer who has been on the All-Star team since Dallas Braden was in the 6th grade. . .well, what can you say?
And here's a shocker - Joel Sherman had something smarmy to say about A-Rod:
Look, at this point, I want to see Alex Rodriguez combine his greatest hits and really show us something. Next time he is on base and there is a pop up around the mound, why doesn’t A-Rod cut across the field, step on the rubber, scream at the opponent trying to catch the popup and – if that doesn’t work – slap at the glove. No wait, don’t scream, belt out a Madonna tune.

Hmmm, maybe Joel Sherman can do his own "greatest hits," like how he dug the graves of Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and Curtis Granderson after their first Opening Days as Yankees. Or how he unprofessionally made numerous A-Rod centaur jokes on Twitter while in the workplace. Stay classy, Joel!

Back to Braden. He threatened retaliation against A-Rod in the batter's box the next time he faces him. And that's okay? Can you imagine the outrage if, say, Joba Chamberlain had said something like that to an opponent? Unreal!

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Uncle Mike said...

You mean... Singleton activated The Curse of Kay? Every time Michael Kay cites a stat, something happens to contradict it.

Seriously, who the hell is Braden? I just posted a comparison of Braden with A-Rod, and Bob Gibson (to whom Michael Duca, co-author of a book on "baseball's unwritten rules," compared him), and the top 10 players that says most closely resemble Braden statisically. It ain't pretty.

Let's face it, when even a Yankee-hater like Bill James is defending A-Rod, that's not good for the other guy.

Lenny said...

Ha. It is Singleton's fault! At least he did a nice job of keeping his mouth shut during Hughes' no-no bid. And I agree with most of the beats; as an ex-pitcher, I've never heard of this unwritten rule Braden is alluding to.

Anonymous said...

People act as if A-Rod ran on top of the mound, stopped and did a jig. A pitcher of larger stature probably would have gave A-Rod some good-natured shit about having to run for nothing off the foul. Even more, better pitchers are probably more protective of the plate than they are the mound.

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