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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Enough already with the "A-Rod finally gets a big hit" story

I was waiting for the "A-Rod is finally clutch" piece about Monday's game - the media has the collective memory of a gnat when it comes to this issue. I swear, every single time he gets a big hit to tie or win a game, somebody acts as if it's the very first time it's happened.

And guess who wrote on that theme today? Joel Sherman of the New York Post, whose piece about A-Rod's game last night has all sorts of backhanded compliments about how Alex is finally clutch. While that may be a fair assessment about his postseason rep from 2004-7, it's not really accurate about the regular season, especially against the Red Sox.

The New York Post columnist writes about with A-Rod up in the ninth in a big spot, "think in the recent past how that might not have been a comforting thought for the Yankees and their fans. Now, though, Rodriguez embraces these moments. There is no hesitation." Sherman continued. "A big moment again found him -- don't they always -- and now that was a positive occurrence for the Yankees."

Please. Can we stop the "A-Rod was never clutch until October 2009" myth already? It's tired. Heck, even ESPN knows better - they ran a montage last night showing all the big moments A-Rod has had against the Red Sox in his career, including these three:

* The homer in the ninth inning against Boston "closer" Curt Schilling in 2005
* The homer in the rain against Papelbon in 2007
* The extra-inning homer last year to win the fifteen-inning game last year


To act like last night was the first time Rodriguez had a big moment against Boston is just silly.

So how many walkoff homers, or ninth-inning or extra-inning game-winning homers hit at Fenway, do you think Derek Jeter has hit against the Red Sox? The answer is one, against Keith Foulke in 2005 to win a game at Yankee Stadium after Mariano Rivera blew the save.

And incidentally, that home run is the only regular season walkoff homer of Jeter's career. On the other hand, A-Rod has nine walkoff career homers, with six of them coming as a Yankee. But you would never know that differential from their reputations - in no small part because of the Joel Shermans of the world insisting that it's only now that A-Rod is getting big hits.

I guess I should be glad that I didn't hear anybody suggest that Rodriguez finally became a "true Yankee" last night. Sheesh.


Coming later today - more thoughts on the game. But in the meantime, what do you think? Tell us about it!

14 comments:

BrooklynGirl said...

I think most of the writers and local media talkies have read the memo about Alex being "clutch" and a "true Yankee". (Joel never read his)

Anytime they do it against Boston its even better! But its way to early to write them off. I remember a few years ago the Yankees were struggling in April and May and they came all the way back to make to playoffs. Unless this is a freaky year, the Red Sox are too good a team to play this way for the whole year.

Riddering said...

While I agree that it's too early to write off the Red Sox, comparing their situation to recent AL East history isn't exactly apt. This year the Rays are playing to their scary potential. (Last time I checked their winning record was BELOW their Pythagorean winning percentage.) The Yankees have been winning series at a constant clip even amidst injuries and bullpen inconsistency. Right now Boston is 9-2 against their biggest rivals in the division and they play the majority of the rest of the games vs. the Yanks in YS. They've got their work cut out for them trying to fight two such good teams for the division and the WC.

As to the actual article--I can't believe anyone would drag up that old and non-applicable talking point in regards to A-Rod. But then I saw it was Sherman and wasn't surprised. Alex is an essential part of the team in any spot and he's been clutch as hell twice in just the past four days.

OTOH, I think it's unfair to single Jeter out for home runs. Jeter doesn't have the power of A-Rod. *whispers* And he'll never be the better player but who cares now when we Yankees have had both for so long and will most likely have them for the rest of their careers.

Lisa Swan said...

Riddering, Squawker Jon made the same point as you re: Jeter's home run power. But my point was that Jete's clutch rep is such, that for him to have the same number of walkoff homers as, say, Marcus Thames, is shocking. But yes, we should be glad to have them both.

BrooklynGirl, regarding the Sox, I see your point, and agree somewhat, but, as Riddering notes, the Rays are playing so well, that it makes Boston's climb even tougher.

Peggy said...

As much as I love Alex ..your obession with him and Derek is so tiresome. Alex is a homerun hitter. You can't compare homerun clutch games. Go back and see how many "clutch" games Derek has won without a homer. They don't call him Captain Clutch for nothing. When they asked the "professional players" on TWIB who was the player they hate to see with the game on the line ..the two names over and over were Jeter and Pujols.

I love Alex AND Derek ...I don't compare them I give them each their do. In truth Alex made a lot of problems for himself but he seems to have finally "gotten it". I loved seeing him pushing Robbie out of the way to get the helmet last night (I was at the game..yipeee). Since last year Alex is finally having fun and keeping his mouth shut which was probably the biggest cause of his problems.

I love ALL My Yanks ...they wear the pinstripes their my boys...no pettiness involved with any of them.

Go Yankees 2010 !!!

Lisa Swan said...

Again, I wasn't trying to bash Jeter. I was just making the point that people's perceptions (that a particular player is "clutcher" than somebody else) are skewed by their reputations. For example, I was shocked to see that Manny Ramirez only has three career walkoff homers - I would have guessed he would have had a lot more.

Just listening to Mike Francesca - he has the collective amnesia about A-Rod as well. How is it that somebody with almost 600 career homers never had one that "counted" until this year? Good grief.

Symphony said...

Alex and Derek are like LeBron and Kobe. If you dare compare them or mention them in the same article you're hating one in order to give the other props.

But if people take time to read and understand your clear intent, your criticism is not with the players but with the media and public distortions of who they are and what they've done.

Lisa Swan said...

One more thing on perception: Here are Jeter's and A-Rod's career batting averages, and some of the most frequently-used "clutch stat" statistics:

JETER
Career BA: .316
Hitting with RISP: .308
2 outs, RISP: .315
Late and Close: .293
Tie Game: .320
Within One Run: .325
Career Homers: 228, with 1 walk-off, 25 tying, 100 go ahead


A-ROD:
Career BA: .305
Hitting with RISP: .302
2 outs, RISP: .273
Late and Close: .279
Tie Game: .298
Within One Run: .304
Career Homer: 586, with 9 walkoff, 47 tying, 199 go-ahead

Both sets of numbers are very similar to their (excellent!) career numbers. But if you were to listen to the media perception, you'd think Jeter hit at least .500 in the clutch, while Rodriguez never had a clutch regular season hit until 2010!

BrooklynGirl said...

Lisa I know that you were trying bash "El Capitan" that's impossible. But I too get annoyed with the constant Derek vs Alex comparisions. They are two very gifted and talent baseball players who work and play hard who want to win.As Yankee fans are fortunate to have them both.

And yes I know that the Red Sox are looking up at both the Yankees and the Rays but honestly, we are skating on thin ice with these injuries. Now that Nick Johnson is out for a while (who had the over/under on that one LOL!), and Granderson supposedly still a few weeks away,Girardi is going to have to manage his you know what off. But I think they'll be ok.

Uncle Mike said...

Alex came through for the Yankees last postseason, and among position players (non-pitchers) was the biggest reason we won it all. He shouldn't have to take this kind of nonsense from anyone anymore -- not even from me.

The numbers Lisa posted showed that Derek, aside from the power numbers, is the "more clutch" player, but also that Alex is not all that far behind, and should be accepted as the kind of player you want at the plate with the game on the line.

As Yankee Fans, we have accepted that October games matter more than others. It was there that Derek excelled (or seemed to), and that Alex did not. But now they have excelled in October (and November) together, so that's that, and let's enjoy that.

It's also worth mentioning that Alex does not yet have a postseason walkoff home run -- many of the players who do would not be legends otherwise, where have you gone Geoff Blum -- and Derek does. But what Alex did in October 2009 should have put it all to rest. If I can put aside my past criticisms (and some of them were really nasty), and admit that Alex Rodriguez is clutch, why can't everybody else?

Lisa Swan said...

Uncle Mike makes a concession? That happens about as often as Squawker Jon and I seeing eye to eye on anything!

Peggy said...

Why does anyone listen to Mike Francesca?? Why does anyone read Joel Sherman?? The sports media isn't news anymore ...it's basically sports gossip. These writers and sportscasters are giving their opinions the majority of the time...not facts. We all know what they say about opinions ..right? lol
You can get more insightful thoughts on fan blogs then by these so called sports journalists.

As far as the Alex/Derek thing with Lisa ...this has been going on since Alex joined the team. I'm just thrilled we have them BOTH on the team. I also feel good about the fact that they both finally seem to be happy as teammates too.

I have tickets for the game tonight but it's not looking promising with the weather. I'll be at Citifield for a two games and I'm hoping we play just as well as we did last year....SWEEP!!! I just love My Yanks !!!


Go Yankees 2010 !!!

Lisa Swan said...

Peggy, since you go to way more games than I do, maybe you can answer this for me. If the game is rained out tonight, do fans get to use that same ticket/seat location for a makeup Red Sox game? I thought so, but I wanted to double-check!

Peggy said...

Hi Lisa ...

Yes you keep the same location ...it's the same game just a different date. You can turn the ticket in for another game if you can't attend the rescheduled game but that would be for whatever seats were available for that game.

Are you going to any of the games at Citifield with Jon this weekend?

Go Yankees 2010 !!!

Peggy said...

Or is that Citi Field?? One word or two...I can never remember. Why would I want to ...lol

Go Yankees 2010 !!!