And the New York newspapers blaming the Yankees losing three out of four at A-Rod's feet is a bit much, too. Like today's Daily News, with a back page that proclaims, "A-Rod fails again as Yanks fall into deadlock with Rays." Today's New York Post's back page also features Rodriguez, with the headline "ROD TO RUIN - Alex still stuck as Rays catch Yanks."
Hmmmm. I could have sworn that there was one record that actually did occur Monday night -- the most doubles in an inning. With an incredible six doubles in the fifth -- five of them off starter A.J. Burnett -- Toronto tied the American League record for most doubles in one inning, and scored seven times in the fifth. To me, A.J.'s meltdown was the story of the game. After two very good starts, the Bad A.J. is back with a vengeance.
But most New York papers didn't see it that way. After all, A.J. doesn't sell papers the way A-Rod does. So, they featured A-Rod not breaking the record that supposedly nobody cares about, over A.J. Burnett pitching one of the worst innings a Yankee hurler has unleashed all year.
Anyhow, the Bergen Record's Bob Klapisch played Freud today, breaking down A-Rod's psyche with a mess of a column:
This extended drought is bound to raise questions about Rodriguez’s long-term resiliency. It’s crazy to even ask, but the Yankees have to wonder which A-Rod will be occupying the cleanup spot in the postseason.
Will it be the one who was practically unstoppable last October, the one who hit six home runs with 18 RBI? The one who finally broke through as a mainstream Yankee? Rodriguez finally had turned off the spigot on his narcissism, trading in the ego for a World Series ring. Taking down Barry Bonds’ home run was the next soft target.
Is that what it takes to be a great hitter? "Turning off the spigot" on that narcissism thingy? "Trading in the ego for a World Series ring"? Good grief. Geez, if only Reggie Jackson had turned off that narcissism spigot, and maybe he would have hit five homers in a game! And just imagine what Barry Bonds could have done if he could have kept the ol' ego in check!
But the quest for No. 600 has peeled away a few layers of A-Rod’s psychological flesh, revealing the anxious, self-doubting A-Rod of old. Forty-three at-bats are too many to blame bad mechanics. It’s all about anxiety now, nourishing itself one failed plate appearance at a time.
Which one is it, Bob? Does A-Rod need to get rid of the narcissism, or the insecurity? Or are you just throwing around psychobabble to explain a slump? Can you at least be consistent here? Hey, maybe if A-Rod would just turn back on the ego, he'd hit a homer! Yeah, that's it!
My head is spinning now. But wait, there's more from Klapisch. He writes:
Rodriguez actually is fighting a two-front war, both against his nerves and Mother Nature....He’s reached the age that, without chemicals and amphetamines, the muscles no longer fire as quickly.
Ooooh, a two-front war. Spooky! Since he's fighting Mother Nature, who else is involved in the battle - Heat Miser and Snow Miser?
Klapisch also sees all sorts of gloom and doom for the Yankees, opining:
In a perfect world, A-Rod would’ve slammed that historic home run in the ninth inning off David Purcey, jump-starting a comeback to keep the Bombers in first place. But A-Rod’s grounder to Yunel Escobar was the Bombers’ last gasp, and with it, the introduction of a new reality: the Rays are now co-tenants atop the AL East.
While the Yankees aren’t panicking, they’ve long since given up hope of running away with the division as they did in 2009.
A little, perspective, please. Even if A-Rod had hit a homer in the ninth last night, the Yankees would still have been behind by a run, with only one out left, and no guarantee the Yankees would win.
And I guess I missed when the Yankees were running away with the division for the whole 2009 season. Klapisch should know better. Not only do the Bombers actually have a better record this year than they did last year -- 66-39 to 63-42 -- but they're in virtually the same place they were last year on August 3. At that point in 2009, they clung to a slim half-game lead over the Boston Red Sox for the division. And given how much the Red Sox had owned the Yankees last year - they had won the first eight games in a row - sportswriters were very skeptical of the Yanks' chances. But the Yanks swept the Red Sox in a four-game series at the Stadium two weeks later, and never looked back.
So, I'm not going to throw in the towel on the division just yet. I still would like for A-Rod to hit No. 600 soon, though, as I can't take anymore of these dopey columns!
What do you think? Tell us about it!