Thursday, March 29, 2007

Poor A-Rod?

I know it’s a little early to start with the Red Sox-Yankees feuding but there has to be a line somewhere. If you haven’t seen it yet take a look at this, Project A13 the “anti-boos movement”. I could not possibly make this up, there is a website and a so-called (quotation fingers) “movement” (quotation fingers) to get fans to stop booing Alex Rodriguez in New York.

What? Are these people serious? The site operates under the taglines “dedicated to the positive in us” and “forget the contract remember the game”. I’m sorry should a player that is getting paid more then any other player not be held accountable for poor performance? As a Red Sox fan I get the feeling this is one of those things that most Yankee fans would see and just shake their heads and be embarrassed to be associated with. Kind of like when certain Sox fans get obliterated and start making completely outlandish statements or when people tape themselves ranting about how much the Yankees suck then put it on youtube. You know the stuff that generally makes Sox fans think… “well that’s why everyone hates us”. It all gets multiplied by the Boston accent for some reason too people seem to think the accent implies some sort of inherent ignorance but I digress, let’s take a closer look at project wampity wamp.

It appears to be a genuine attempt at getting people to try and react positively and not boo Alex Rodriquez for not being “perfect”. Fair enough I can respect fans making some excuses for players, I’ve forgiven Manny plenty of times for some of the stuff he does. Let’s not get carried away thought, do Yankee fans really expect A-Rod (it’s well documented that I don’t like referring to him as A-Rod but for the purpose of the blog) perfect? Baseball is a game where a player is considered to be good if he fails seven out of ten times so I think perfect is a little bit unrealistic in literal terms. But I will give the site the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s not literally talking about perfection but rather coming through in the clutch.

He was the MVP in 2005 after having a monster season but everyone seems to have jumped on him last year. The guy is a career .305 hitter he’s averaged 43 homers and 125 RBI with a .386 OBP, he’s a two time MVP, ten time All Star and has won a Silver Slugger award eight times. I’d say that any player with numbers like is going to be expected to perform the highest level. He’s got one of the best resumes in the MLB, why wouldn’t he be expected to be the best player, especially when he makes as much as he does.

Why should fans worry about the fact that Alex’s feelings get hurt when people boo him? If anything Alex should be confused as hell as to why Yankee fans boo him.

Here are some of Alex’s stats since coming to the Yankees:
2004 155 games, 106 RBI, .286 BA, .375 OBP, 36 HR
2005 162 games, 130 RBI, .321 BA, .421 OBP, 48 HR (MVP)
2006 154 games, 121 RBI, .290 BA, .392 OBP, 35 HR

Those are three pretty good years, especially when you consider his career numbers and the fact that he beat out Big Papi and Manny for MVP in 2005.

Just for fun here are Derek Jeter’s stats over the same three years:
2004 154 games, 78 RBI, .292 BA, .352 OBP, 23 HR
2005 159 games, 70 RBI, .309 BA, .389 OBP, 19 HR
2006 154 games, 97 RBI, .343 BA, .417 OBP, 14 HR (MVP runner up)

Now I know Jeter is not in a position to drive in as many runs as A-Rod and he’s not going to hit as many home runs but when you compare the stats you wouldn’t think A-Rod would be getting booed to being with if Jeter is the holiest of holies and favorite son of the Rotten Apple.

It sounds like I’m saying I don’t think Yankee fans should boo Rodriguez, well that is what I’m saying to a point. I don’t think his regular season performance has warranted it. His post season performance is a different story, but the Yankees are a team that shouldn’t need to be carried. They have enough power in their lineup that one struggling player shouldn’t determine the outcome of a season or playoff race.

My main problem is with this ‘movement’ of being positive and not booing, now I think as many positive thoughts about the Red Sox as possible but why shouldn’t fans hold players accountable for their performance? If I feel that a player is playing below his capability to the point where it warrants boos why not boo. It doesn’t motivate him? Too bad, fans shell out a ton of money in support of their favorite teams so why shouldn’t players have to earn their respect and applause.

“And yet, he stays. Out of position, out of favor, and out of comfort in the
sport he was born to play. He stays against all odds that New York will ever
respect his game. He stays against all odds that we, the infamous Yankee fans,
will ever revere his name. But this is what he wants, more than anything in
baseball, so he stays.”

I think people need to take a step back every now and again and remember that at the end of the day it’s a game and it’s entertainment. This Project A 13 make Rodriquez sound like Tom Cruise in Born on the Forth of July, he’s not doing some service and being spit on for it. He’s not some great warrior in a greek play or something, he is a professional baseball player that isn’t playing up to the expectations of fans. Are those expectations unrealistic? I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect him to be one of if not the best player in baseball. He’s is being paid as such and to be honest during the regular season he has put up the numbers.

This isn’t little league smokey, the games aren’t going to end in ties…usually anyway, and when you are in a media fish bowl like the Rotten Apple or Boston there is going to be immense pressure from the media and fans and whether A-Rod and his fragile self can handle that or not it’s not going to change. Maybe he can’t handle the pressure of New York and if that’s the case he’ll probably move along and continue to put up Hall of Fame numbers somewhere else.

Is it bad that reading Project A13 I can see that (at least one) Yankee fan is starting to dislike the bad taste in his mouth from playoff struggles and no World Series titles in the last seven years. Is it bad that I’m hoping it continues?

I have no problem with thinking it’s unfair to boo Alex Rodriguez, hell I wouldn’t mind if they run him out of New York allowing the Sox to sign him, maybe then we’ll have some reverse Babe Ruth thing going. Now there is a book that Dan Shaughnessy can right any day. Again what I do have a problem with is making it sound like holding players accountable is wrong. It’s not, it’s part of being a fan some players are embraced and others are booed. The funny thing about A-Rod is that he plays beside the Prodigal Son Derek Jeter. I seriously doubt Jeter would get booed if he went 0-23 in the final four games of the ALCS and A-Rod was swinging a hot bat. Good luck with your movement Yankee fans…Remember the game, peace, love and free hugs.

I think it would be the best thing for Rodriguez to get booed out of New York so he can carry on his career elsewhere, assuming he takes off the dress and ends this tea party. The guy just isn’t suited for New York and the fans don’t seem to be suited for A-Rod.

A special thanks to the guys at sox and pinstripes for linking my blog to their Red Sox Blognation section. Baseball from Red Sox fans and Yankees fans stand point, it’s very cool and you should check it out.

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