Friday, October 22, 2010

Non-Shocker! Mike Lupica tells A-Rod to "show up," makes him Designated Yankee Scapegoat

After Alex Rodriguez's great October last year, most of the media have been mostly muted on his so-far-disappointing ALCS this year. That's a story in itself, as evidenced by what Mike Vaccaro and even notorious A-Rod basher Wally Matthews wrote on the subject today. Vaccaro said that "it isn't a matter of "if A-Rod will hit in the postseason, "it is a matter of when." But the Daily News' Mike Lupica is still writing like it's 2006, with his back-page column criticizing the third baseman.

I've never written a blog entry criticizing Lupica before, mostly because I try to avoid reading his mailed-in, cliche-ridden columns as much as possible. It's like Lupey constructed each piece in MadLibs or something -- blah blah blah, Yankee payroll, blah blah blah, the Wilpons are great, blah blah blah, let's make a lame joke at A-Rod's expense, blah blah blah, I have the greatest family in the world. Bor-ing. Shooting from the Lip? More like Snoozing from the Lip!

But I had to say something about Lupica's big screed on A-Rod, where he says that it's time for Rodriguez to show up in the postseason. Because even for Lupey, this column is ridiculously unfair. Some snippets:
The Yankees showed up on Wednesday in Game 5, they did, hundred percent. Now they have to do it again in Texas, or they become another big, bad Yankee team of this decade that got hit somewhere before the World Series and never recovered.

You know who is supposed to show up Friday night for Game 6? Alex Rodriguez. So far he has three hits in the series and only one of them - two-RBI single that Michael Young should have made a play on, eighth inning of Game 1 - has mattered. There have been times when he seemed perfectly happy to take a walk, leave it to Cano when Cano was still hitting behind him.
A few points:

* Lupica writes that "there have been times when he seemed perfectly happy to take a walk, leave it to Cano when Cano was still hitting behind him." Aside from Lupica not seeming to understand that getting on base by any means necessary is considered a good thing these days, how does he know that A-Rod "seemed perfectly happy to take a walk"? Is The King a mindreader now?

Incidentally, do you know how many times A-Rod has been walked in the eight games of the postseason?  Four -- three in the ALCS, and one in the ALDS. Do you know how many times he was walked with Marcus Thames, not Cano, batting behind him? Two. So we're talking about ONE TIME in the ALCS where A-Rod walked in front of Cano! So much for Lupica's point. At any rate, there were times in this series where I would have preferred that A-Rod take a walk, and not strike out or hit a weak dribbler or hit into a double play!

* Sure, A-Rod has had a bad postseason, but so has every other Yankee hitter not named Robinson Cano or Curtis Granderson. Not to bash Mark Teixeira, but he didn't merit a back page column when he had a .000 BA in the ALCS before getting hurt, the second year in a row he had a terrible postseason. What, is it because Tex is a "True Yankee," and A-Rod isn't? Puh-lease.

* At any rate, Lupica's article is very curiously timed, especially since Rodriguez had a good Game 5, and looked the best at the plate that he's been for the whole ALCS. A-Rod was on base three times Wednesday, twice via walks, and once via a sharply hit double to left field. (He didn't get an RBI -- Nick Swisher surely would have scored on it -- because it was a ground-rule double that bounced into the left-field seats.)

A-Rod scored the first run thanks to the first walk (so much for walks being bad!) He also hit the ball very hard a second time, but Michael Young made a great play to cost him a hit. And he looked good in the field that game, something he has not been during the series. A more fair-minded person would have seen this as a good game for Rodriguez. But that's not Lupica.  According to him, nothing Rodriguez did in this game "has mattered."  Good grief.

* Lupica does briefly mention that other players haven't stepped it up, but doesn't give them the full-throttle criticism he does A-Rod:

He's not the only one in the order who hasn't shown enough stick. Derek Jeter has hits, but has struck out six times Mark Teixeira was 0-for-14 before he got hurt. Nick Swisher is .105. Maybe the home run that Swisher hit in Game 5 is the start of something for him.
Why is it that Swisher getting only his second hit of the entire ALCS is "the start of something for him," but A-Rod having a very good Game 5 doesn't matter?

* Lupica isn't even willing to give Rodriguez credit for his huge hit with the bases loaded in Game 1,saying it was a "two-RBI single that Michael Young should have made a play on." Maybe in Lupica's world, Michael Young should have fielded that hit in Game 1, but most people think that would have been a tough play for Young to have made. I watched the video again, and broadcaster Ron Darling said that the batted ball was going "a hundred miles an hour;" thus, Young was unable to make the play. And Young did not get an error on it. So much for Lupey's great analysis.
* Finally, it takes more than one star to win a series. We saw A-Rod "show up," as Lupica would say, in September and win AL Player of the Month for his great hitting, going .295/.375./600 for the rest of  the season, with nine homers and 28 RBI . What was the Yanks' record during that time? 9-17.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Uncle Mike said...

Lupica is an (insert your insult of choice), and you can add his kowtowing to The Mighty Imus to your list of his stock responses. Imus gives to charity? So did Al Capone. So does Curt Schilling.

But Lupica has people who agree with him on "As A-Rod Goes, So Go the Yankees." I'm one. The author of Lady Loves Pinstripes is another:

Lisa Swan said...

Does a hot A-Rod increase the team's chances of winning? Of course. But nobody can do it alone.

Again, the Yankees went 9-17 when A-Rod had his hottest month of the year. So it's no guarantee.

And the person you quoted drew a completely different conclusion from Game 5 than Lupica did, writing, "If Arod’s performance in the team’s 7-2 win of Game 5 is any induction that the slugger is about to get hot, watch out."

P-Cat said...

I remember when Lupica was actually a decent sportswriter. When exactly did he become such a blowhard. Maybe when started doing that stupid sports reporters show? Now he looks for an easy topic and beats it to death. As if A-Rod is the sole reason the Yankeea are struggling and not Swisher, Berkman or Thames. Please.

Roger 9 said...

The Yankees brought A-Rod in to be their dominant offensive player...not Swisher, Thames or others. The role of these other players was designed to supplement A-rod and his power. Therefore, when A-Rod's prduction is lacking, the attention is focused on him. Is this fair? Probably not. But with their offense floundering it is understandable.

Steven said...

The good news is that theo offense was a little asleep but seems to be waking up. That gives the Yanks a decent shot. Getting all up in arms about a hitter's last few games is idiotic.

The reason that the Yanks are down 3-2 is because Hughes got bombed, AJ wasn't quite good enough, Texas has knocked the relievers around, and Cliff Lee.

Subway Squawkers said...

Like I said, I thought it was pretty telling that Lupica would write the same old, same old, column on A-Rod when most sportswriters today are saying the opposite, writing more in an encouraging than an inflammatory way.

It's one thing to have criticized A-Rod after, say, Game 4, where he had an awful game offensively and defensively. But to do it the game after his bat finally showed signs of life shows that Lupey isn't really paying attention.

And P-Cat, I remember that time when Lupica used to be worth reading. Sadly, it ended a long, long time ago. For all the criticism I've written when Joel Sherman gets overwrought and hysterical, he frequently writes very good columns, too. Not Lupey.

MONDOAS said...

Shooting from the lip..more like shooting from his arse!! Do you ever wonder why you cannot comment on his articles? It's because he can say what he wants about anyone but he is not man enough to take some criticism for his words!! That tells me he's a coward!!

Subway Squawkers said...

Mondoas, Lupica not only doesn't allow comments on his articles, but he also doesn't give out an email for fans to contact him at. Some tough guy he is.

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