Category Archives: A-Rod

YANKEES – SIT TIGHT AND WAIT IT OUT

If there is one thing the 2015 season demonstrated, it’s that younger (read athletically) constructed teams were the ones who played well into October. In essence, speed kills. Whether you’re talkingimages-1 about a fast ball consistently in the 95-97 mph range (Mets starters) or quick thinking and athleticism on the base paths, or swift and reliable ball tracking in the outfield (Royals on both counts)  – all winning teams (add the Cubs, Astros, and Pirates too) have speed as a common thread between them. Continue reading

“MATT THE BRAT” – EPISODE TWO – THE FLIP FLOP

I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up. Today, just one day after holding court in the Mets dugout with his woe is me act and indicating that he sided more with his agent than his team, Matt The Brat published one of those “I take it back” statements on Derek Jeter’s website (how ironic is that) telling all of Metland and baseball that all is well and “I’ll be pitching in October – no matter what”.

Except it does matter. In fact it matters a lot. They say that timing is everything. For the Mets, this Harvey/Boras fiasco couldn’t have come at a worse time. images-48Beginning today, the Mets begin a critical four game series against the Nationals – in Washington. Their lead has been cut to 4 games including the all important loss column by the (finally) resurgent Nats. Met fans are blinking and wondering…..is this the beginning of yet another late season collapse……..and if the team blinks……..it could easily happen.

For Terry Collins, who is fighting for his baseball life, everything hangs in the balance over the next few weeks. Like the Mets Brass, he has to be images-32images-23scratching his head and saying to himself……..”Do I/we really need this now, Matt?” (photo above). But in fact and being the man that he is, what he actually told Harvey is “Just go out there Tuesday night and pitch like you are capable of doing”. Significantly, it was also no coincidence that David Wright made a point of sitting with Harvey in the dugout during last night’s painful loss to the lowly Marlins.

In 2019, Matt Harvey will become a free agent entering the market with the potential to sign a Scherzer like contract at nearly 30 years of age. Hopefully, by that time owners and general managers will have come to their senses about long term contracts (Note: Scherzer is a mere .500 pitcher this year). Nevertheless, he will be in for a significant pay day. 

It can be said that the only thing holding Matt Harvey back from that is Matt Harvey. With fame that he seems to thrive on and fortune comes responsibility.

This is especially true in New York where the spotlight shines brightly. Sometime soon, he will need to grasp that concept and grow up and into it. He boldly associates himself with Derek Jeter every chance he gets….fine……no problem……but how about BEING like Derek…..and not the immature person you were when you thought it was funny to pose (below) giving the finger from your hospital bed. New York City doesn’t give itself away easily and that’s a lesson Mr. Harvey needs to learn quickly. His image already has been tarnished, but it is repairable IF he performs on the mound. Because with that (think Alex Rodriguez), New York can also be a very forgiving town.

Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey

Note: In case you missed Episode One, here’s a link………

https://scontursi.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/matt-the-brat-a-big-pain-in-the-mets-brass/

Let’s Lighten Up On The Steroids Thing

Too often, we tend to view things outside the all important context of historical perspective. We forget why Richard Nixon ordered the break in of the Democratic Headquarters  (he was a tortured man who believed everyone – especially the press – was out to get him. We also forget that J Edgar Hoover was wire tapping Martin Luther King during the same period. This is not to excuse what either man did – but it is to suggest that there is a “context” that must be recognized and explored when forming opinions about individuals and events.

In the same vein, remember that the emergence of steroids images-4occurred immediately after the 1994 season strike. The strike hit baseball hard. There was no World Series that year. Fans turned away from the game. A few never came back.

Owners needed as George Steinbrenner liked to say “asses in the seats”. And what better way to do that than with a high dose of power and home run bombs every night. And let’s spread the power around the league too…….no sense having just one player smash 60 home runs……1372350453_big-head-barry-bonds-clearLet’s have three (Bonds, McGuire, and Sosa).

They knew. They not only knew and looked the other way………they also fattened their wallets…….big time.

The players were perplexed. In the same way that Nixon knew others were engaging in questionable tactics to gain an advantage……hey why not me too? The playing field needs to be leveled and if he’s taking steroids then I’d better do the same.

And so it goes……..as Buffalo Springfield suggested…..”Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”.

But wait a minute. Baseball is a game more reliant on stats than any other sport. Even your average baseball fan knows “the numbers that matter”. And therein lies the rub…….what to do about all these records? It’s not the steroids that bother many fans…….it’s more about “keeping score”.  How do you judge (for example) the accomplishments of a Barry Bonds when you cannot quantify the number of home runs he hit BECAUSE of steroids. It drives  ’em nuts.

But I look at it differently. No one has ever proved or even suggested that steroids augment the level of hand to eye coordination required to make contact with a 97mph fast ball. So whether or not use of performance enhancing drugs causes a hit ball to travel further is really a moot point. It doesn’t matter if you can’t hit the pitch to begin with.

In the same way, do steroids have anything to do with the ballet that we see at second base every time a double play is turned?

Let’s lighten up a bit. Let’s enjoy the game and put aside the numbers game………….there’s too much to marvel at……..and I for one simply want to watch every at bat of a player like Mike Stanton……….and yes….Alex Rodriguez too!

 

It’s Okay To Feel Good About A-Rod’s 3000 Hits

There have been 18,000 Major League ballplayers. Only twenty-nine have had 3,000 or more hits. ap_rodriguez_lb_150619_16x9_992That’s really all you need to know about Alex Rodriguez reaching that level of play last night with a home run off a 95mph fastball from Justin Verlander.  Everything else is irrelevant or charged with politics.

Consider this……..To reach 3000 hits, a player needs to average 200 hits over fifteen years.  Most players don’t even have a career lasting that long. images-1When Rodriguez retires, he will do so as the only player in baseball history with 600 home runs, 2000 RBI, and 3000 hits.

He did what he did and if you had a private moment with him over a beer he probably might say he would have done some things differently. But who among us could not say the same thing about our own lives. images-2

There are two things about Alex Rodriguez that tell me a lot……..One……he is loved and respected by his peers in the clubhouse. 17679887-mmmainAnd second, he loves to play baseball and goes full bore every game.  That’s his usually stoic manager Joe Girardi in the above photo after A-Rod’s 600th home run……..you can tell…..you see  a bond and level of respect there. And that’s what really matters.

 

New Life – New Plan (A-Rod and the Yankees)

As I was walking from the parking garage to Yankee Stadium last Sunday, I couldn’t help but marvel at the sprawling and magnificent city park that now sits where the old stadium was situated.

Countless ballfields, countless numbers of inner city kids off the streets and playing on green grass in the open air………..

It caused me to reflect on the  bonus owed to A-Rod by the Yankees. A sticky situation no doubt images-3with each side trying to tip toe around a sudden thaw in the relationship………especially eased by A-ROD’s resurgence this year. And after all, $6 million is a chunk of change.

But what if the two sides could get together and reach a common images-2ground? And what if that common ground was to donate the entire sum to charity and earmark the money to the kids who use this city park.

How many balls, bats and gloves could be bought with $6 million? How many off duty cops could be hired to ensure the safety of the kids using the park. How many players could be paid their expenses to conduct a clinic when school is out for the summer………and so much more. The interest alone each year would pay for most of these costs.

And as a real bonus (for them),  it would all be accomplished in the names of Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees.

Alex…….the first move should be yours. The Yankees can’t say no……go for it!