Sunday, October 19, 2014

Is Mark Teixeira going to take A-Rod's place as the designated Yankee scapegoat?

About a month ago, I said to Squawker Jon that I thought Mark Teixeira would be the new target of the Yankees' ire in the future, basically becoming the new Alex Rodriguez when it comes to being the team's designated Yankee scapegoat.  After all, Tex not only has a ridiculous contract, like Alex Rodriguez, and he also is no longer in his prime, and he is injured all of the time now, it seems, but he has also said a number of outrageous -- but mostly ignored -- things.  Mostly ignored, that is, until now.

Here's the thing -- while A-Rod is coming back, of course, there is only so much mileage Brian Cashman and the Yankees can get anymore over blaming him for everything that goes wrong. So I figured that Tex would be the next Yankee target. And some of it might actually be deserved. After all, in this past year, not only is Mark refusing to adjust his game to compete against the shift, but he also announced that he he basically was never going to be the same player that he was in his prime. (Of course, he will still get paid like he did in his prime!)

Anyhow, ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews writes what will undoubtedly be the first of many New York media hit pieces on Teixeira. In the article, Matthews speculates on whether Teixeira has lost the hunger to succeed, referencing how boxer Marvin Hagler once said that "it's tough to get out of bed to do roadwork when you've been sleeping in silk pajamas." Matthews writes, "There are some Yankees who wonder if the same syndrome is starting to affect Teixeira."

He goes on to say:
A baseball insider I spoke with this week said Teixeira's "outside interests" -- he is financially involved in real estate holdings, a chain of juice bars, and is working to create what he called a "marriage of baseball and social media" -- had become a point of concern, with some wondering how badly he still wanted to be a baseball player.
Brian Cashman, come on down! You are back to doing what you do best -- leaking anonymous smears on Yankees out of favor!

Look, I think Teixeira has said a lot of dumb things, most of which he has gotten away with until now. That being said, I seem to remember somebody else who started a "marriage of baseball and social media" while still playing -- Derek Jeter, who launched his Players' Tribune site this month (and had to have been working on it at the same time he was still an active player.)

And these days, most players have outside financial interests. Is there any hard evidence that Teixeira's terrible play is due to these interests, or to his YES Network show, which the article also references? No.
I do think that Teixeira has been a disappointment, and he says a lot of dopey things (that he has gotten away with doing until now), but that has nothing to do with whether he owns a few Juice Press stores. And the anonymous leaks are a little unseemly.

Matthews' article also talks about how Tex's numbers have tanked in recent years, which is fair game. But what he does not mention is how Cashman and the Yankees did not have a backup plan for his absence this year, which made no sense. (Hint: having your catcher play first is not a real backup plan!)

Anyhow, get your popcorn ready. I expect Tex to be a big target next season if he doesn't get it together quickly; he was already facing some boos this year.

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

As long as A-Rod is on the team, the only way anyone else is the scapegoat is if A-Rod actually produces again. After all, look at how many Yankee pitchers threw games away -- Boone Logan, to use one example. Then there was Eduardo NunE5, the new Dr. Strange-glove.

Teix, like CC Sabathia, gets a free pass because the Yankees won immediately when they arrived. That Teix was terrible until A-Rod came off the DL to hit behind him gets forgotten. But if it IS remembered, then people will just say, "Teix WOULDN'T be hitting so badly if A-Rod would be hitting well behind him."

A-Rod will always be the target, as long as he's here. This year, he was blamed for not being here to hit big, and took the heart; as Yogi would have said, even though he wasn't here, he was here.

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