Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beantown Brouhaha: A-Rod disses Dan Shaughnessy

If there is any Boston writer that Red Sox fans (and reportedly even some Red Sox players!) despise, it's Dan Shaughnessy. The Boston Globe writer is the guy who basically invented the whole "Curse of the Bambino" thing. He's also known for taking himself a little too seriously, as he does in a recent Sports Illustrated column, where he chastises Alex Rodriguez for changing the TV channel when Shaughnessy was blathering on against the Yankees.

Here's the story. I saw this item mentioned in the LoHud Yankee Blog, and nowhere else, on Friday. Chad Jennings writes:
The television in the Yankees clubhouse was tuned to ESPN pregame. The group of players sitting around the television in charge of the remote were all rookies, young guys recently called up. They kept watching as one of the talking heads began ripping the Yankees rotation beyond CC Sabathia.

That’s when Alex Rodriguez walked over, called for the remote and changed the channel.

I briefly wondered who the anti-Yankee ESPN windbag was that annoyed Rodriguez so, but given how many people bash the Bombers on that network, that would have been a futile effort to figure that out (I'd have to sift through a cast of thousands!)

Anyhow, I didn't think about the incident again (it just wasn't that big of a story) until I read CHB's Sports Illustrated column about the incident. Somehow, Shaughnessy got wind that Rodriguez did not want to listen to his dulcet tones (most likely, he heard some snickering in the press box over it from one of his colleagues!) and he demanded an explanation from the player:
I spent last week in Los Angeles as a panelist on ESPN's Jim Rome Is Burning. On Friday afternoon, while the Yanks were in Boston in the cramped visitors' clubhouse (New York had 56 players on its roster for the final weekend), I was on TV expressing my thoughts about the Yankees' apparent disinterest in winning the AL East. I warned that it could be tough on the Bronx Bombers if they went to Minnesota for Game 1 and lost the first game with CC Sabathia on the hill.
Let me just point out that the 56 players on the Yankee roster stat is flat-out wrong. And given that there's a  a 40-player roster limit in MLB, Shaughnessy should know better. In fact, his own Boston Globe noted that it was "56 team personnel (players, coaches, etc.) who needed locker space in the visitors clubhouse."

Back to Shaughnessy's column:
Back in Boston, the Rome show aired live in the visitors' clubhouse. When Alex Rodriguez heard me casting doubt on the Yankee strategy and painting a doomsday scenario against the Twins, he walked over to the clubhouse TV and turned it off.
OMG! A-Rod didn't want to listen to Shaughnessy! How dare he! Can we just ban A-Fraud from baseball now, already? The nerve!

Then, Shaughnessy decides to insert himself into the story by asking why A-Rod turned the TV off:
Sunday morning in Boston, when the Yanks still had a chance to win the division, I sauntered over to A-Rod's locker at Fenway and asked him why he turned me off on the clubhouse TV.
"Too negative,'' said the Yankee slugger. "I didn't want our young players to hear that.''

This is probably just one more example of A-Rod being a faux leader of the champs, but it made me wonder about the Yankees strategy for the postseason.

"Don't you want to win the East and get home-field?'' I asked Rodriguez.

"I always think home-field advantage helps,'' said Rodriguez. "It's always our preference. But we're in a good place. I think we're ready to roll.''
After making those comments, Rodriguez went out and played in an 8-4 loss to the Red Sox, assuring that the Yankees would be a wild card entry in this year's postseason.
A few points:

1. What kind of egomaniac do you have to be to demand that a player tell you why he didn't want to watch you fulminating against his own team? And people think that "faux leader" A-Rod has an ego!

2. Is Shaughnessy aware that even if the Yankees had won Sunday, they still wouldn't have gotten the AL East title, thanks to Tampa Bay also winning? And nice little passive-aggressive blaming of A-Rod for the Yankees' loss!

3. The sportswriter can't even keep a consistent argument going. Earlier in the piece, he argues this about the Yankees not going for home field advantage:
The Yanks came to Fenway Park last Friday with a chance to win the American League East. Early in the weekend it became apparent that winning the division was not their top priority....I am not Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman, but this makes no sense to me....I would have attempted to beat the Red Sox.

The Yankees did not do this. Girardi used 17 pitchers in three games against Boston's Triple-A lineups. The Yankees concentrated on getting ready for the playoffs. And now they will play a superior team, on the road, in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday night.
You can argue about some of the decisions Girardi made over the past month, like against the Sox the weekend before. But the fact is that in a 27-hour span over the last three games of the season, Joe started Alex Rodriguez for all three games, including Saturday's doubleheader. He did the same with Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira, and Robinson Cano. Nick Swisher, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Curtis Granderson played two of the games. Girardi used so many pitchers because the team's pitching has been terrible lately; not because he was trying not to win.

If the Yanks didn't care about winning on Sunday, why would they trot out their regular starting lineup that afternoon against the Sox's Pawtucket-laden squad, just hours after Saturday's grueling late-night, extra-innings doubleheader? You know, the very same Yankee lineup that Shaughnessy touts as being "daunting," with "perhaps the greatest infield in the history of baseball"? The writer never explains that decision. Guess his brain is still jumbled by the news that A-Rod doesn't consider him must-see TV!

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Magnus, Robot Fighter said...

"I briefly wondered who the anti-Yankee ESPN windbag was that annoyed Rodriguez so, but given how many people bash the Bombers on that network, that would have been a futile effort to figure that out (I'd have to sift through a cast of thousands!)"

Oh the poor Yankees and their poor, poor oppressed fans.

Other than that...good, accurate article.

Lisa Swan said...

Eh, I just sat through the boring ESPN "30 on 30" on the "House of Steinbrenner" (making the Yankees and the Boss uninteresting was quite a feat!) Meanwhile, Squawker Jon tells me about how the 2004 Red Sox "30 on 30" was all-pro Boston. Coincidence?

Thanks for the compliment, though.

mhochman said...

The Yankees have won more than any other team, they consistantly thrown obscene amounts of money at every player they want, and take themselves extremely seriously, and you wonder why people are overly critical of them?

There is a solution to this problem, The yanks put up a couple decades of bad ball, fade into obscurtity, then nobody will care what the A-Rod of the day does or says.

Lisa Swan said...

Eh, I'll be the first to admit that the Yankees can be extremely self-important about their history. But I think Dan Shaughnessy won the "take themselves extremely seriously" contest in this incident. He's supposed to be a journalist. Why the heck should he care if the Yankees watch him or not?

Uncle Mike said...

So there's a dispute between A-Rod and someone else, and Lisa calls the someone else an egomaniac. Maybe it's true, but...

ESPN's "30 on 30"? I haven't seen "Four Days In October." Does anyone on it mention how Papi and Manny were caught using steroids, thus casting doubt on the "achievement"?

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