Postgame Spread
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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A-Rod Revisited, or Skip Bayless is a moron    

Normally, I avoid any and all Skip Bayless columns, but I was procrastinating today and skimmed through this one. Ugh.

I could point out any amount of ridiculousness in it, perhaps debunking his assertion that Jeter has performed better in the postseason than A-Rod. A-Rod's overall postseason stats (.305/.393/.534) for his career are better than Jeter's (.307/.379/.463), if not dramatically so. In case you were curious, A-Rod's career ALCS stats (.315/.413/.611) are substantially better (Jeter's are .262/.339/.405). Moreover, Jeter was worse than A-Rod throughout the 2004 playoffs, hitting a pathetic .200/.333/.233 during the disastrous Boston series compared to A-Rod's more respectable (.258/.378/.516). And that came on the hills of Rodriguez destroying Minnesota (an absurd .421/.476/.737, put up while facing Johan f*$#ing Santana twice in a 5 game series), providing a key double in the final inning of both games 2 and 4, and steal of third to set up the win in the 4th game. Both of those games were won by the Yankees by one run. I should point out, though, that Jeter was also good in that series (.316/.350/.526). Still, A-Rod also outhit Jeter in the 2000 playoffs, including the Seattle-New York series (yeah, yeah, we all know who won that one, but Jeter was still outplayed--Seattle's problems were elsewhere). The only real exception here is that A-Rod positively stunk against the Angels last year, while Jeter was good.

But one series does not a poor-playoff-performer make, and it's a huge stretch to include A-Rod in that category. Now, I'm not trying to argue that A-Rod doesn't have a bit of a mental fragility problem, but he's a better player than Jeter, pretty much always has been, and anybody paying close attention can tell. It's not really a close debate. I came to respect Jeter's presence more during the 2004 series when I realized that A-Rod particularly, but also Matsui, gave up on that series before it was over, where Jeter wanted it as badly as he'd wanted any of the previous ones. But as of now, there is no reason to expect A-Rod has any particular problem with performing in the playoffs, and his regular season stats speak for themselves, current slump notwithstanding. Granted, Yankee fans have the right to boo. It's not in their best interest, especially if he really does have a thin skin, but all the better for the rest of us. So keep at it Yankee fans, keep digging your grave. If you think A-Rod is to blame for your current difficulties you know dick about roster construction. I'll give you a hint, it's spelled P-I-T-C-H-I-N-G.

But that's not even my real complaint. I know, I know, I'm so long winded, but this is really good. Check this out:

From here on, any Yankees fan who boos Jeter should be booed out of the stadium. Same for Mariano Rivera. He has earned exemption.

Yet the irony here is that Jeter and Rivera are the kind of competitors who respond to boo-bird adversity. Boos would only motivate them.

Not A-Rod or his ex-Seattle teammate, Randy Johnson. Both are thin-skinned and rabbit-eared. Both respond best to the kind of unconditional love they heard from Mariners fans. Neither is a good fit for Yankee Stadium.

Put aside for a second the hillarity of his asserting confidently that both Jeter and Rivera would play better if they were booed. Mind you, I'm not saying they wouldn't; I unlike Skip, don't claim to know what would happen in completely hypothetical situations. And I agree that Rivera and Jeter have earned their exceptions. Nor do I have a problem with his characterization of Seattle fans. He's right there; we're mostly sissies. And sure, ok, A-Rod is thin-skinned, regardless of how much we really know about how much it actually affects his performance. Probably not the best fit for NY, though it would be a huge mistake for them to give up on him now (one I hope they make).

But really, Skip? Do you really think that Randy Johnson's struggles are because he can't handle the pressure of Yankee stadium? Sure, he may have assaulted a member of the media his first day in NY, but is it just me, or did he manage to show that he's not exactly thin-skinned or rabbit-eared in 1995? Or maybe 2001? Now, I hate Randy Johnson as much as any jilted Seattle fan. This is a guy who, knowing the Mariners obsessive desire to have a family-friendly image, repeatedly drove around drunk trying to force a trade. But does that sound like a guy who can't take the "boo-birds"? Give me a f*$#ing break. You know why Randy Johnson sucks this year? Because he's almost 43 years old!

How in god's name do these people get paid for writing this stuff?


  • Update:

    Honestly, Johnson isn't even pitching all THAT badly. I don't know that much about how FIP (fielding independent pitching) and xFIP (some permutation of the aformentioned FIP that's supposed to be even better), but they're both better than his real ERA. More often, the reverse is the case, but that's the Yankees defense for you.

    Anyway, he's striking out almost a batter less per game and walking almost a batter more per game, and his HR run rate is up marginally. But he's mostly been pretty good. Not great, but then he's almost 43. I'd be willing to bet by the end of the season, his line looks better. Hard to say, though, he is almost 43. Frickin' idiots.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 6:18 PM  

  • Jesse, you get -50 Postgame Spread Points for arguing about a Skip Bayless column. The only reason he exists is to get linked and discussed. You did both, so you're officially allowing him to continue battering us with his intentional, cynical promotion of worldwide ignorance. Thanks a bunch, sweetie.

    The only thing that would ever pique my interest regarding Bayless is an explanation of how he ended up as such a miserable, hateful, worthless human being. Normally something "happens" to people like that. I wonder what happened to him. Maybe he was raped by an elephant and a clown at the same time at his 8th birthday party or something. Or maybe he's an abortion survivor, and this is his revenge on the world that left him to die. That's the scope of what we're dealing with (and what Skip's not dealing with).

    By Blogger Jeff, at 9:25 AM  

  • Yeah, I know, but I get bored down here. And he's not getting any extra attention because I did that, so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

    Besides, it was an ok occasion to do some Jeter-bashing, right? Since it's become so out of style.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 1:19 PM  

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