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    Baseball Told the Right Way
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      This Just In......Alex Rodriguez is a Jackass.
    I started writing another entry about how I like the way the Mets are headed. It was going pretty well, and then I got distracted. The distraction came in the form of an ESPN the Magazine article “written” by Alex Rodriguez. I should mention that if common sense rules your life, you have been advised that reading this article is a waste of time and will only enrage you. In fact when this magazine appears in supermarkets around the world, burn it. Burn it right in the store and save your fellow man the anguish.

    Now I don’t want this site to look like an anti-Yankee site. Its true, I'm a Red Sox fan, John is a Cubs fan, but we try to stay objective as much as possible. I have no problem admitting that I admire, and even root for a lot of Yankees: Bernie Williams, Sheffield, Giambi, Tino Martinez, Pettite, Clemens. This entry has nothing to do with the Yankees, rather it is about a man whose has detached himself completely from reality.

    Right around the time the off-season Arod fiasco was finally resolved, I wrote this elsewhere on a message board,
    At least now I can rest assured that I can continue on with my pre-established hatred of Arod.
    Well my hatred has just one-upped itself. I don’t know what level is above hatred, but I'll use an example to illustrate how I feel. Before today, if I ever saw Arod in a public place I probablly would have only heckled him. Yelled something immature at him like, "The fans in Seattle don’t miss your sorry ass." Or maybe something simple, like, "You are NOT a god." Now, after wasting 10 minutes of my life with this loathsome article, things have changed. If I ever saw Arod in public, I honestly think I would try and pick a fight with him.

    Let me enlighten all of you, and drop some gems from the mouth of a baseball player who does his best to symbolize all that is wrong with the human race.
    I respect the game and its challenges enough that I know this one will make me better, stronger. Fear of failure is what fuels me, keeps me on edge and sharp. I'm not as good when I'm comfortable.
    Well maybe if you do better when uncomfortable, we should take away your $252 million dollar contract. Arod wants us to believe that he is somehow different than other athletes. He is driven by feelings that nobody could possibly understand besides the misunderstood golden god. He wrote this sob piece to warm the hearts of fans, and try to have them accept him for who he really was on the "inside". Well I'll try.

    Right after professing a man crush on another Jackass, Barry Bonds, he continues,
    Two of the biggest years I've had came with big pressure. My last year in Seattle, my contract year, I pushed back an envelope the Mariners gave me without even looking at it. There was probably a $150 million offer in there, but I doubled down. That’s not pressure?
    Despite how ridiculous the idea that he never looked at the Mariners offer is (look back at the news stories, this is a blatant lie), what is even more ridiculous is how he equates the pressure of playing in New York with turning down a contract offer for one which would pay him $102 million more. Oh, yeah there's a lot of pressure involved in that decision. Lets start a poll: would you (A) take $150M to play in Seattle, or (B) take $252M to play in Texas? Where is the pressure in that decision?
    When you remember what it was like to count your mother's $60 in waitressing tips on the bed, thinking it was all the money in the world?
    Please, is Arod really trying to sob us into feeling sorry for his humble upbringings. He was an honor student, growing up in the suburbs of Miami. Ouch. Rough life. You don’t hear any other athlete talking about how hard it was to watch his brother get gunned down by gang members, or having to support an entire family, practice ball, and still get passing grades, and still only making the league minimum. Please Arod, you make me sick.
    Last season was the toughest of my career because of that. I was overcome with a sense of depression. There were days I didn’t want to go to the ballpark. That had never happened to me before.
    I think he means: days I didn’t want my chauffeur to drive me in my limo to the ballpark. I know he didnt mean to use such a strong word, but how does he get off associating making $25 million to play a game on a losing team with the real depression millions of American families deal with. I still am trying to convince myself that this piece wasnt edited, and that this insensitive comment was only a mistake.

    Thankfully, he continues,
    I know no one is going to feel sorry for me because of the contract,
    You're damn right!
    but I'd never really dealt with the frustration of the first two losing seasons, and that made last year even worse. I hit rock bottom in the middle of the season. I remember driving home with my wife, Cynthia, after a game and telling her, "I just don’t see the light. Where is the light? What am I in this for?" I would have never gone to Texas if they had told me, "Alex, it's going to be you and 24 kids." Never. For no amount of money.
    I'm not even going to point out all that is wrong with this statement. Alex, YOU signed the contract, get over it. But "you and 24 kids"? Try telling that to Raffy Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Ruben Sierra, and Kenny Rogers. Do they deserve to be on a winning team any less than you? What would you say to Karl Malone? If you are the best shortstop of all time, well, he is the best power forward of all time, does his nineteen years of basketball count less than you're eight, you arrogant prick?

    Later on, talking about his new Yankee chums, Arod says,
    There's nothing I can possibly tell Gary Sheffield that he doesn't already know.
    Yeah, and I bet my boy Gary Sheffield doesn't want anything to do with you and your ego either. Even if you poured your heart out to Shef like you are to us, I am going to guess he wouldn’t give a shit. If you tried to give Shef some advice, he would tell you to go to hell because he knows you exactly for what you are.

    Oh, still more,
    I wasn't ready for the Yankees three years ago. I just wasn't mature enough to make it in New York.
    Wrong. New York wasn’t ready for you. The world does not revolve around you. The Yankees weren't in a postion then to cough up $25 million for your services. Situations change though, hence the pinstripes. Seriously everyone, how in the hell can a sob story be written about Alex Rodriguez, let alone by Alex Rodriguez? Does he really expect us to feel sorry for him in the same article in which he writes about playing golf with Bill Gates and buying an original Picasso. He finishes up this majestic monument to greed, selfishness, and egotism with this gem,
    Every time I put on the pinstripes, I feel like I'm dreaming. Don’t wake me up until the end of October.
    Well Arod, if I don’t get the chance to wake you up with a fist to the face, here's hoping and praying that you get woken up with a Pedro 2-seamer on the outer black.

    Sorry to rant guys, but some things just really get under my skin.

      Urbina to Tigers
    On Friday, Ugueth Urtain Urbina signed a one-year $3.5M contract with the Detroit Tigers. (story) Any team that signs a reliever in his prime who owns a career ERA in the low 3’s is making a good move. The Tigers definitely are a better team today, but then again,

    Who really cares?

    The Tigers were active this offseason, and for good reason. They sucked to the tune of 119 losses in 2003 and just narrowly beat out the 1969 Mets (an expansion team) for the worst record in the history of baseball. The Tigers could improve by 20 games this year and still be 20 wins away from a .500 record……but at least they’re making progress.

    Signing Pudge, UUU, Jason Johnson, Rondell White, and Fernando Vina now gives the Tigers a grand total of nine players that should be wearing a major league uniform. Yes, that’s right, nine. The rest of the team, especially the pitching staff, looks like a AAA roster. Signing these free agents is like putting rims and a two-foot spoiler on an Escort, or maybe its like putting a whistle tip on a station wagon, depends how “good” you actually think Fernando Vina is. It might make the car look a little better, but everyone knows its still a piece of crap. And the Tigers still are a piece of crap. When you’re preseason projection is for 70 wins if everything breaks exactly right, then you are in trouble.

    Lets think positive for a minute because who knows, a Tiger fan might be reading this. The Tigers farm system is a mess, they have no help in the immediate future. So they can't hope to rebuild the way the Indians, Padres, Minnesota, or Anaheim could. They have to be able to sign free agents, and in order to convince a free agent that Detroit doesn’t suck, they are going to have to be at least sniffing .500. Most of these signings are for two years, but Urbina is for one, and if they flip some of these guys for solid prospects late in the year, they could really help the organization down the road. Last year the Marlins traded Adrian Gonazalez for Urbina late in the year. If the Tigers dealt for Gonzalez, he would instantly become their top prospect. So maybe they are stealing the 2003 Pirates plan by signing all these mediocre free agents. Maybe they can trade them for a few failed and a few B level prospects to populate their barren farm system. Trading Urbina to a team in need of bullpen help later in the year would be a start. I'm sure the three teams likely to be in the race of suck in the AL central will be looking for another bullpen arm down the stretch. Then again, strategy that has already been tried by the Pittsburgh Pirates shouldn’t really be on a GM’s list of things to do.

    These signings help the Tigers in their search to be a respectably bad team and not a running joke. In that case, things are looking somewhat up; I just hope Tiger fans don’t get too anxious. It is going to be several years before the Tigers will even be thinking about fielding a competitive team, and if management isn't careful, its not a stretch to say that we could be looking at the Arizona Cardinals of MLB.

    Well as most entries here will probably come from some drunk argument one of us had trying to convince someone else of the Right Way, I felt my first one should be no different. Last weekend the topic of closers came up, and without too much thought I had to throw out in the air the claim that Keith Foulke was the best reliever in baseball over the last 5 number of years. Not Mariano? Am I crazy?

    That’s a pretty big statement to make, the popular media perception would tell us otherwise. I thought it was a pretty bold statement at the time too, but a quick look at the numbers confirmed this. And of course I couldn’t keep this to myself because Foulke was one of the key additions for the Red Sox championship run this year. So now I plan on going around dropping this bomb on Yankee fans everywhere:

    Keith Foulke has been a better pitcher than Mariano Rivera over the last five years!

    The hype is certainly in Mariano’s corner, but the hype means nothing when it comes to actual performance. The performance of these two pitchers over this time span has been pretty amazing. You be the judge and tell me what has been more effective: the change or the cutter.

    KF: 2.48 ERA 9.0 K/9 in 439 IP
    MR: 2.26 ERA 7.8 K/9 in 342 IP

    So they’ve been pretty damn even, only Foulke has had more strikeouts and an extra 97 IP of value. The difference in ERA amounts to roughly 2 runs over a full season. Ill take the extra work and strikeouts any day. So Keith Foulke has been the better pitcher, not to mention cheaper.

    Oh but everyone would say, White Sox fans especially: Mariano is lights out, "enter sandman", game over. Keith Foulke is nowhere as reliable at closing out games. Well at least that’s what that horrendously awful coach and GM said, so it must be true.

    Since Keith Foulke took over as closer mid-season in 2000, Keith Foulke has saved 89% of his chances. Mariano: 87.5%. We’ll call that a wash. Mariano’s got 154 saves to Foulke’s 130. Without going into why saves are completely irrelevant in the game of baseball, I’ll just point out Foulke getting needlessly yanked around in ’02 by that dolt Jerry Manuel. When Rivera and Foulke have been full time closers (I’ll even include ’00 when Howry stole some saves), they have saved 44% and 43% of their teams wins, respectively. I’d be willing to bet most closers are in this tight range, Rivera’s teams have just won more games.

    So the argument of “clutchness” doesn’t really have a leg to stand on, and based on their performances over the last five years, I would take Foulke first (He’s also 31 to Rivera’s 34). Its real damn close, but ill take the younger, cheaper option who has proven more durable.

    Now before all two of the people who will read this get up in arms over this. I’m saying Foulke has been better during the regular season. This is important because what Mo has done in the postseason is absolutely sick. You can't penalize Foulke for only getting 7 1/3 postseason innings, but at the same time you have to reward Rivera for what he has done (7-1 0.75 ERA in 96 postseason IP!). Maybe, the Red Sox can do their part to even off those tallies by the time Foulke’s 4 yr deal is up, but we will have to see.

    Foulke and Rivera have been pretty much unconscious for five years. Neither one has had an ERA over 3.00 since 1998! Wagner, Nen, Hoffman, Percival can’t claim that. Gagne looks like he might, Wagner could still do it if he stays healthy, Dotel’s got a shot. Foulke and Rivera are the class of the league, and I don’t think anyone is going to be complaining about either of these two studs in the near future. Now if I could only figure out what the hell Jerry Manuel and Kenny Williams were thinking.

    Who is the better Shortstop?

    With opening day approaching the Yankees have elected to keep Derek Jeter at Shortstop and move the newly acquired Alex Rodriguez to third base. Jeter in this case should be the captain of the Yankees and realize that he has the worst range in the entire league and will cost his pitchers singles up the middle or through the hole. In 2002, Derek Jeter had 600 total fielding chances and had 14 errors compared to Alex Rodriguez having 741 Chances and 10 errors in the same year according to MLB.com. That’s 141 more balls that Mr. Rodriguez has gotten too in just one season. If the pitchers have the vote and not Torre, whom would they want at short? Jeter does posses a great arm and is ideal for third base while Rodriguez is a defending Gold-Glove winner. A Yankee fan may argue that Jeter does what has to be done for the team to win a game. Offensively that’s great. Defensively he makes these miraculous plays but to the common shortstop they would be routine. Jeter recently called Rodriguez “arguably the best player in baseball.” If that’s the case and shortstop is the hardest position in the game, doesn’t he understand he should move? Maybe Torre knows something that we don’t. “There are things that go beyond ability,” Torre said. “There’s something special about Derek Jeter, who doesn’t hit 20 home runs, doesn’t knock in 100 runs, doesn’t steal 30 bases. But it’s something that you can’t put down on paper, and that’s my job to have a feel for that.” What is so special? Torre loves a slow first step. He loves to be on the edge of his seat every play. Why make things easy?

    John Goettfert