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Monday, October 9, 2006
Don't blame A-Rod (really!)

By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

One hit. Zero RBI. Another postseason elimination.

Alex Rodriguez's latest playoff performance has made it tougher than ever for A-Rod fans and apologists to defend their man.

But it's still possible to do so. You just have to search a little bit to find the silver linings in A-Rod's showing against the Tigers.

And so you don't have to do that searching yourself -- because it's really a ridiculous amount of searching -- here are 10 arguments you can use to shoot down even the most ardent A-Rod hater:

1. A-Rod only struck out four times in the series. That may not be great, but do you want to know who struck out four times in the 1977 World Series? Reggie Jackson. Yet Jackson was hailed as a hero and named series MVP, while A-Rod gets dumped on. That's a double standard and it's simply not fair. (Sure, Jackson had five home runs in the 1977 World Series, including three in the clincher, but that's just semantics.)

Alex Rodriguez
Another thing about A-Rod: His pregame stretching routine has kept him injury-free.

2. I can't believe people are ripping on A-Rod when baseball is full of steroids abusers. Just think what kind of series he would have had if he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. We're talking .150 or .200, and maybe even an RBI or two.

3. A-Rod was just pacing himself to turn it on in the ALCS and World Series. I mean, why waste hits against the Tigers? Everyone knows they stink and were overmatched by the Yankees.

4. If the Yankees had big leads in all the games, A-Rod would have produced. It's not his fault his teammates didn't set him up for success.

5. So A-Rod isn't a true Yankee? Well, then neither is Mariano Rivera. New York's "Hall of Fame" closer did absolutely nothing in the final three games. And that's a fact.

6. A-Rod would have had a great series if it wasn't for Joe Torre. A-Rod started the series 1-for-2, and if Torre had pulled him then he would have finished the series batting .500 -- and a .500 batting average in the playoffs is something only an ultra-clutch, all-time great can accomplish.

7. Lay off him. He's only a No. 8 hitter. Guys at the bottom of the order are usually in the lineup for their defense, not their bat. OK, so maybe not defense in certain cases either. But it's a rule that you have to fill a lineup with nine guys, and Rodriguez allowed the Yankees to do that.

8. He'd play better if he didn't have to stand beside Derek Jeter in the field. You try hitting when your eyes are stinging and watery due to having to breathe in that stanky cologne all day. The guy pours that nasty stuff on like he's a 14-year-old boy on a date at the mall.

9. Everyone wants to talk about Detroit's starting pitchers. But look at A-Rod's ERA in the series. It was 0.00. No one on the Tigers did any better than that.

10. I think A-Rod is awesome. But, granted, I'm not as bright as he is.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Fantasy Sports Monthly, and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book -- "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" -- will be in stores soon.