Tuesday, May 30, 2006
An embarrassing week for A-Rod
By DJ Gallo Special to Page 2
I've long given Alex Rodriguez the benefit of the doubt. I figured that since he's only 30 years old and has played in just a handful of postseasons -- batting a respectable .305 in the process -- he has plenty of time to prove he's an all-time great and deserves the kind of money he makes. But no more. His showing over the past week forced me to give up on him forever.
Let me take you through his embarrassing performances from the past seven days.
If A-Rod knocks one out of the park, you know the Yankees must already have the lead.
Tuesday at Boston: Rodriguez hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning to put the Yankees up 7-1. His blast would prove to be the game winner because the Red Sox stormed back to make the final score 7-5, but A-Rod hitting a home run when his team already has the lead? Classic A-Rod. Or should I say A-Fraud. (Get it? I changed the Rod part to Fraud. It rhymes and everything.)
Wednesday at Boston: The Yankees won 8-6, but A-Rod got only one hit and scored just a single run. But that's not even the worst part. In the second inning, following a David Ortiz strikeout, Manny Ramirez hit a home run to left. Then the next batter, Jason Varitek, grounded out to A-Rod at third. I mean, come on A-Rod! Now you make the play?! The batter before hits a home run over your head to cut your team's lead to two and you do nothing, and then Varitek hits a weak grounder to you and you make that out? How about jumping up and snagging that Ramirez shot before it rocketed over your head? That's what your team needed! I mean, I don't know -- if I'm going to pay a guy $25 million to play third, I expect him to make those plays. I can get anyone to field routine ground balls.
Thursday, no game: A scheduled off day. Typical A-Fraud -- the Yankees manage to win back-to-back games against the Red Sox and he needs a day off. Pathetic.
Friday vs. Kansas City: The Yankees come home and play the Kansas City Royals, owners of a 13-game losing streak, and -- get this -- lose 7-6. And whose fault was it? You guessed it: A-Rod's. He went 3-for-4 with a double and just one measly RBI. Uh, hello? A-Rod? How about you muscle up a bit, you wuss, and make those singles into home runs? Had you done that, the Yankees would have won. But they didn't. And even the worst team in baseball proved it can come into your home park and make you look like a fool.
Saturday vs. Kansas City: Rodriguez hit two home runs and the Yankees won 15-4. Wow, great timing there, A-Rod. Not only do you have a big game in an easy win -- every RBI in the careers of Derek Jeter and David Ortiz has come with their teams trailing in the bottom of the ninth (it's true, look it up) -- but where were those two home runs, four runs scored and three RBI last night, when your team really needed them? Huh, A-Rod? Where were they then? You sicken me, that's what you do, A-Rod. You sicken me.
Obviously A-Rod was in a clutch situation here.
Sunday vs. Kansas City: The Yankees won 6-5, and Rodriguez hit a two-run single in the first inning to help his team get out to a lead it would not surrender. But what did he do after that hit in the first inning? Nothing but draw a walk. Typical A-Rod. He just sat back and rested on his laurels. Baseball is a "What have you done for me lately?" kind of game, A-Rod. Too bad you'll never know that.
Monday at Detroit: New York headed to Detroit for the type of game a team needs its stars to step up in -- holiday, packed crowd, playing a first-place team on the road -- and what does A-Rod do? He gets only one RBI as the Yankees win 4-0. Uh, A-Rod? Have you ever heard of insurance runs? Let's contribute with some late RBI. No lead -- no matter how big -- is ever safe in baseball. What, you only get RBI in close games now?
So there you have it, another despicable week in the despicable career of Alex Rodriguez: a .391 batting average, three home runs and 10 RBI as the Yankees go 5-1. Pshaw, I say. Pshaw.
And not that anything he does right now even matters, even if he was playing well. In a division that is as uncompetitive as the AL East, games in late May mean absolutely nothing. Nope, only the postseason matters. And until A-Rod comes up huge in a World Series with the pressure on and single-handedly wins a championship for the Yankees, I won't believe in him.
(Oh, and it has to be in Game 7 of the World Series against the Red Sox, or it won't count.)
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Three Things I Thought I Thought While Being Motivated with a Giant Bowl 1. There's more great news out of Barbaro's camp today, as jockey Edgar Prado will be visiting the horse for the first time since his injury at the Preakness. I'm sure it will be a touching affair. And I'm not so callous to think that Barbaro won't recognize his jockey, even though he's an animal and has a brain the size of a walnut. In fact, I'm sure Barbaro will give Prado a knowing and heartfelt nod for essentially saving his life at the Preakness. And then he'll probably kick him in the chest for all the times he whipped him. But mainly for not rescuing him from the completely pointless "sport" that almost cost him his life.
Gotta beef up those knees, big guy!
2. It was disappointing that the Indy Racing League and Champ Car couldn't reunite in time for Sunday's Indy 500. A unification would be best for everyone involved, but mostly for the mainstream public because it's a lot easier to ignore just one open-wheel circuit than it is to ignore two. It's like when the WNBA and the ABL were both in existence in the late '90s -- you never knew when women's basketball highlights would appear on "SportsCenter" or scroll across the bottom of your screen. But now, thanks to the ABL's folding, we know that all women's pro basketball scores and highlights will come in one block, so you can change the channel for a few minutes or just bite down on a pencil or something until it's over. It's the "less is more" approach, because if people are force-fed a sport they don't care about, they grow to hate it even more. And that's the model the IRL and Champ Car should adopt. Also, it would help if they could get funding from the NBA to keep them afloat.
3. David Wells has no luck. For his entire career he has been honoring the game he loves in his peculiar way by never even trying to get in shape, then he takes a line drive off the kneecap -- the only part of his body not covered in a generous, protective layer of fat -- and is shelved for at least his next start. Just doesn't seem fair. If only he can find a way to put on some fat in his knees, he might be able to pitch for another five years.
DJ Gallo is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine as well as the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also contributes headlines to The Onion.