Thursday, April 23, 2015

I'm calling it now: A-Rod will hit HR No. 660 against Matt Harvey and the Mets this weekend!

Squawker Jon and I were getting a bite to eat on Friday night when we heard that Alex Rodriguez had hit home run No. 657. It was almost as if the homer were a statement against Joe Girardi batting him sixth (!) that night, even though Alex was the hottest hitter on the team. I quickly did the math in my head and declared: "A-Rod's gonna hit 660 off Matt Harvey!" in the Subway Series next weekend. I also posted my declaration on social media for posterity.

Later on that evening, A-Rod hit No. 658, and it seemed, given him hitting four home runs in 10 days, as if he could get two more homers this weekend. No matter. Given how much A-Rod has a flair for the dramatic, I just couldn't see him matching Willie Mays when the Yankees were on the road. No, I think he is going to do it at home, most likely in the Subway Series, and most likely against Matt Harvey, the biggest name on the New York Mets. And now that the Mets are the hottest team in baseball, with 10 wins in a row, this will make him setting the record even sweeter! Of course, I could be wrong, and A-Rod could go hitless for the weekend (and Squawker Jon could mock me mercilessly!), but I am still sticking to my prediction!

In this morning's New York Post, Ken Davidoff had some conflicting "inside details" about what will happen when Alex hits 660.
According to two sources familiar with the situation, when Rodriguez goes deep with number 660, the Yankees will have a precise period of time — two weeks, as per one of the sources — to declare this as a marketable milestone. If they were to do this, then Rodriguez would sign over the rights to his image and associated branding for the price of $6 million. 
I don't buy this, and here's why: If you were to be selling branded stuff revolving around this, you would need it ready to go at the time that people would buy the items. That would mean having it made up at the time A-Rod hits #660. Remember how Derek Jeter wore a hat and t-shirt with a logo of himself honoring his hitting #3000 in the post-game press conference after he got his 3000th hit? Remember how Steiner Sports was selling autographed merchandise before that milestone, which Jeter signed when he skipped the All-Star Game? Two weeks after #660 is ancient history.

Brian Cashman (l.) and Randy Levine spotted
visiting their attorney to discuss the
A-Rod milestone controversy.
Davidoff also writes that "another person involved in the dispute claims Rodriguez is entitled to his $6 million bonus money immediately upon hitting home run 660." This seems much more likely. The rest of this stuff is Yankee spin, like the way that they think that not mentioning the home run milestone in their press materials will keep it from being a milestone. Who is advising the Yankees -- Lionel Hutz?

Another leak to Davidoff concerns the idea that the Yankees could bring up in the arbitration hearing "past transgressions, including some that have yet to be affirmed," like A-Rod's relationship with Anthony Galea. But couldn't A-Rod's people bring up stuff on the Yankees, like the likelihood that they knew that he (and other players) were juicing? Or bring up the fact that the Yankees are marketing Andy Pettitte, an admitted PED user, even giving him a retired number, a plaque in Monument Park, and his own day?

Aside from A-Rod's flair for the dramatic, I think Alex will hit 660 at home, whether against Matt Harvey or some other pitcher, because of the fact that he will get a huge ovation and a curtain call when he does so. And it is going to be hard for the Yankees to claim that they cannot market his home run milestone if a big crowd, many of them wearing A-Rod shirts, roar in approval of his achievement! Not to mention if A-Rod's teammates celebrate it on the field.

But then again, the leadership of this team is known to talk out of both sides of their mouth. Like this gem in today's paper from Girardi to George King of the Post about A-Rod's steroid suspension: "He paid the consequences and we had to struggle through it because we didn’t have him."

Let me get this straight: Girardi and Cashman and Levine and Hal Steinbrenner have been trying to marginalize A-Rod and get him off the team for years now, but they are somehow the victims here, struggling through the 2014 season without Rodriguez? The same A-Rod that Girardi has had bat sixth and seventh this season, while he had the washed-up Carlos Beltran bat third? Really? Good grief.

In other news, did you see ESPN's Andrew Marchand's entertaining recap of A-Rod sparring with an out-of-town writer? The reporter kept on asking Alex over and over about A-Rod being a "villain" and being booed on the road, to which he finally responded:
A-Rod: I've been booed for 15 years, buddy. I don't know if you haven't been around. It's been one long boo for 15 years.
Love it -- especially his use of "buddy." I do the same thing! If I have called you "buddy" or dude" when I'm talking to you, it is not a compliment!

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