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 Post subject: Rafael Palmeiro gets 3,000
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:39 pm 
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Should he be kept out of the Hall of Fame? Many baseball pundits think so because they say there's nothing about him that says "greatness" except for "counting stats": i.e., what pennant races has he led, what dramatic game-changing hits has he had, when did he ever lead the league in anything ....

The "there are worse players in the Hall of Fame" is an argument that will be disallowed here. It is well-established that the HOF is a historically corrupt instution.

Discuss.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:26 pm 
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It should be noted that Mr. Palmeiro accumulated approximately 1,387 of his hits while hitting against the Seattle Mariners. Appropriate that he joined the club in a game with my beloved M's.


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 Post subject: Re: Rafael Palmeiro gets 3,000
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:14 am 
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Sorry. my reply is long. wc

Wabberjocky wrote:
Should he be kept out of the Hall of Fame? Many baseball pundits think so because they say there's nothing about him that says "greatness" except for "counting stats": i.e., what pennant races has he led, what dramatic game-changing hits has he had, when did he ever lead the league in anything ....


By this measure he isn't quite as good as Hank Aaron. [And I admire Aaron.]

Quote:
The "there are worse players in the Hall of Fame" is an argument that will be disallowed here. It is well-established that the HOF is a historically corrupt instution.


Yes, it's corrupt. But even if it weren't, what entitles a player to membership? What is greatness?

There are no standards. It used to be that if an everyday player hit 500 home runs and got 3,000 hits, he was a lock. For a pitcher, 300 wins. Obviously, the unofficial standards are much lower than that, or not applicable.

Should players with good but not great power be penalized, as if an astronomical on-base percentage, base-stealing and doubles-power couldn't compensate for a lower home run total? What about the greatest of fielders who were good hitters? What about relief pitchers? Players whose careers were cut short by injury or war?

With little besides the distance between bases unchanging, how do you discuss the Hall of Fame without comparing players?

Reggie Jackson was a great player. Hit lots of home runs, drove in runs, hit in the clutch (though not everyone here believes such a phenomenon exists), played for winners. And, he was a supreme hot dog.

Palmeiro lacks Jackson's raw power. He hasn't played for teams like the Yankees or the A's when they were strong. He's exciting only if you marvel at the smoothness of his swing.

What he does is show up, seldom miss a game, never complain, give himself up to drive in runs, strike out a lot less than Reggie, play a good first base. Lots of years of hitting around .300, with 30-40+ homers and tons of RBIs. Like Aaron.

Palmeiro isn't "the straw that stirs the drink." His idea of a good quote is to say that his father had guts he lacks; he bases this on sacrifices his father made to get his family to America for his family's sake.

Palmeiro isn't a celebrity. He endorses Viagra, a sure sign of humility. He's a valuable team player with a long, distinguished career.

Steroids, eras of live balls and dead balls, tinkering with the mound, artificial turf, the DH rule, shrinking stadiums, shifting strike zones, media hype--comparing players is fun, but to think it can be done with certainty is a delusion.

Does Palmeiro belong in the Hall? I don't know and I don't care. Might as well get excited about the Academy Awards or Time magazine's Man of the Year Award. Some people care more about the game as each is played.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:49 am 
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The Hall of Fame may be a historically corrupt institution, but I think most of the kinks in the induction process have now been ironed out. The nadir came with the induction of Bill Mazeroski a few years ago -- a wonderful man whom I'd love to say belongs in the Hall, but who does not. The revamped Veterans Committee appears unlikely to induct anyone incapable of parting the Red Sea.

Palmeiro is a difficult case if only because of his lack of the "fame" part of the Hall of Fame resume. If I had a vote, I'd probably withhold my vote in his first year of eligibility and vote for him gladly the second year. He's never been one to make pitchers tremble like many members of the 500 HR club, but perhaps he should have been in retrospect. Instead, he's just been so consistent for so many years that he's established greatness under the radar.

I think that to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, you need to be the sort of player who was obviously going to be in the Hall for much of his career. That's not Raffy. After that, all I really ask is Hall of Fame numbers, and a man with 3,000 hits and 500 homers has them.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:27 am 
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Phil Rizzuto is another case of a man who had no Hall of Fame credentials in any capacity but had so many "friends" in so many places that he was elected to the Hall pretty much just so he'd shut the hell up about it.

The thing about "Hall of Fame numbers" is that the standards shouldn't exist in a vacuum. Milestones achieved today cannot be reasonably equated to milestones achieved in, say, 1954, due to seasonal lengths, park sizes, rule changes, stylistic innovations and a host of other evolutions.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:36 am 
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Another good argument will be over Craig Biggio, who likely will be the next player to get to 3,000 (he's at 2,730 as we speak). I rarely hear or read about people who consider Biggio a historically great player.

Interestingly, you never hear this, but the injury that's kept Barry Bonds out all season so far likely will derail his shot at 3,000 (he's also at 2,730). That, and the fact that nobody pitches to him even when he can play.

After Biggio, it may be as long as seven years until another player gets to 3,000. By Bill James' formula, the players with the best established shots include Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and a host of others who aren't even close to 2,000 hits right now.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 4:02 pm 
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I have to say, Palmeiro never struck me as an outstanding Hall of Fame player. But he has produced consistently over the years--as Wayne says, a lot like Aaron--even though he isn't going to be setting any records. So on the basis of that production, and given that only three other players have ever put up the numbers Palmeiro has, he should be inducted.

I wouldn't ever lower my personal standards to accept players like Mazeroski as real Hall of Famers. I think Bill Madden of the Daily News had a column a couple of years ago (perhaps prompted by Mazeroski's election) in which he noted the evolution of "tiers" in terms of regarding Hall of Famers. Players like Ruth, Aaron, Gehrig, Cobb and Mathewson are in the first tier, and so on, till you get to players like Mazeroski, Orlando Cepeda, Pee-Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto (as much as I love Scooter)--and possibly others depending on your point of view--in the third, fourth, seventh or eighth tiers.

It's a tough call. I hate that the Hall has even made it an issue for fans by admitting the players I've cited above and others like them. It would have been better for all of us if only the elite had been inducted. Then we wouldn't have to have these debates.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:07 pm 
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Mazeroski, of course, was elected on the basis of being remembered for the homer in the '60 series. Hall of Fame moment, but not a HOF player.

I seem to remember reading something in which Bill James cited Freddie Lindstrom as the weakest player in the HOF. I guess he got in because the ball hit the pebble and bounced over his head in the 1924 World Series.

And for those surprised to see me here, I love baseball history. It's the post-1975 or so modern game that I can't stand.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:16 pm 
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What changed in 1975, Bumf? I hope you're not referring to players becoming masters of their own destinies.

I'm inclined to agree with Rob Neyer when he says the 1980s were the greatest era in baseball history. Competitive divisions, nearly every team a contender, a different champion every year, great players, and only whispers of the strike and steroid woes that would beset the 1990s. And some of the best postseasons ever.

And now I think we're entering an era of parity and normal-sized players again, so this would seem as good a time as any to come back.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:35 pm 
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A year or two ago, Palmeiro was on the bubble. With his 500/3,000 accomplishment (and the consistent production late in his career) he qualifies.

We've had other good discussions that add perspective here and here, and who can forget the Dave Winfield debate.

I remember a crossroads in Cubs history. They had to choose between Palmeiro and Mark Grace. While Grace certainly had a decent career as a singles hitter, I thought from the start the Cubs made the wrong call.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 8:30 pm 
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1975: First child born. Other things to do....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:34 am 
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jjmoney62 wrote:
A year or two ago, Palmeiro was on the bubble. With his 500/3,000 accomplishment (and the consistent production late in his career) he qualifies.


And it's not as though he squeaked into the 500 HR club, for goodness' sake. He's going to finish much nearer to 600 than to 500.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:46 pm 
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It'll be interesting to see whether Palmeiro retires this year. He's hinted that if the Orioles win the Series, then it would be a good time to stop.

He's past his prime, but he's still a good first baseman, can run the bases and is on his way to 90 RBIs or more without hitting third or fourth. If he has a big second half, he might be in position to go for his 600th home run next season, which would make him a draw.

With Sosa struggling at the plate (though he's playing better in the outfield this year, now that he's not so bloated), the O's might want to keep Palmeiro another year. Jay Gibbons could use the time to improve as a first baseman to eventually replace him.

It'll all come down to money, of course. I don't know how big his salary is.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 9:13 pm 
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Derek Jeter will make for a great argument ... four rings (and counting) vs. the worst defense (by a wide margin, statistically) of his generation at shortstop.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 9:45 pm 
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That's an oversimplification.

Rob Neyer -- champion of the view that Jeter's defense stinks -- says it best:

Rob Neyer wrote:
Derek Jeter is a great player, but he's a great player not because he plays shortstop well, but simply because he can play shortstop.


It's true that Jeter gets extra attention because of his rings. It's also true that any team would be glad to have him. There are better defensive shortstops, but there are few better overall shortstops active today. In fact, the only one clearly better is now playing the hot corner a few feet from Jeet.

Some others, such as Garciaparra and Tejada, have shined for periods of time, but Jeter's durability pushes him over the top.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 9:48 pm 
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I would dispute that he can play shortstop. He lets dozens of ground balls by him that any other shortstop in baseball would field. The comparative numbers prove it, year in and year out. He is a fine hitter, but it's arguable that he costs his teams almost as many runs in the field as he gains them at the plate.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:59 pm 
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If Derek Jeter's career ended prematurely tomorrow, a la Kirby Puckett's, Jeter would be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

He still has (it's hoped) about 10 years of productive baseball left in him, so the Cooperstown festivities won't take place till about 2020 or so.

He's as fine a fielder in the clutch (see the Flip, nailing Jeremy Giambi in the 2001 playoffs vs. the A's, among the many deep-in-the-hole-jump-pass-throw-to-get-the-runner plays he makes in key situations) as he is a hitter in the clutch.

You and others can cite as many regular-season fielding stats as you want as justification for keeping Jeter out of the Hall. Won't happen. Jeter's peers and the people who covered him will remember the player he was, even if he never wins a regular-season MVP (to go with his 2000 World Series MVP) or leads his league in any offensive category (he has led in hits, in 1999, and runs, in 1998).

Granted, I'm a Yankee fan, so I'm biased. But I think you would be hard pressed to find many members of the BBWAA who would disagree with my line of reasoning.

Derek Jeter has been an elite player at his position for 10 years now, having broken in in 1996 as the Rookie of the Year. That is more than enough dominance for Hall induction.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 7:17 am 
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Let's get past Mr. November's fielding percentage, already.

As argued in previous posts (see one of the links above), Jeter is a winner. A clutch player -- at the plate, in the field, on the bases -- who led his team to greatness. Few players in this era have better credentials.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 9:08 am 
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I'm a Yankees fan too, but do you seriously think that Jeter is a better player than the many other players of his generation with better numbers who haven't had the fortune to play with as many great teammates as Jeter has had?

Championships ought not to count when evaluating an individual player's greatness for Hall of Fame eligibility. There are too many variables.

That said, Jeter's got a decent shot if he keeps playing as he has for another few years. I don't agree that he'd be inducted now if he retired.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:42 am 
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I give Jeter extra credit for playing well in the postseason. He's as close as the Yankees have to a player who shows leadership, even if it's mostly by example. [It often seemed as if he and perhaps Matsui were the only Yankees who didn't give up or get psyched out in last year's league championship series.]

Has there been any more talk of moving Jeter to centerfield? It worked for Robin Yount. The Yanks could move A Rod back to short for a few years. Matsui is better in a corner position, Bernie Williams has slowed a lot for a centerfielder and the youngster they called up recently isn't ready.

Jeter plays hard and often. His range and arm will only get worse at shortstop as he ages.

If for the next five years or more he can hit .300, draw some walks, steal some bases, continue to show better-than-average power for someone high in the batting order, maintain a good attitude and field somewhere decently, I can see him going into the Hall--if not the first year, then soon after.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:44 am 
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This might be a serious discussion if Boggs and Sandberg weren't being inducted this month.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 1:36 pm 
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Wayne Countryman wrote:
Has there been any more talk of moving Jeter to centerfield? It worked for Robin Yount. The Yanks could move A Rod back to short for a few years. Matsui is better in a corner position, Bernie Williams has slowed a lot for a centerfielder and the youngster they called up recently isn't ready.


Odd that you should mention that, Wayne. Today on Mike and the Mad Dog (need you ask? It's a sports-radio talk show) on WFAN, a caller suggested that very move for Jeter, and the hosts laughed him off the air before he had a chance to bring up Yount. You're right, it did work for Yount. But was Yount as established a shortstop as Jeter when he made the move?

Mike Lupica brought up the subject of moving A-Rod to centerfield several months ago (which I mentioned in another thread here that got no responses). I think I could see A-Rod in center before I could see Jeter in center, but the idea of shifting an infielder has merit. Both have great arms, and Jeter especially tracks pop-ups very well (see, for instance, July 1, 2004, vs. the Red Sox at the Stadium).


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 5:31 pm 
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I am somewhat of a pariah among my fellow Yankees fans here in the city. I dare to assert that Alex Rodriguez is the best player on the team. To me, this is obvious, but because he allegedly doesn't "hit in the clutch," Yankee fandom dogma holds that he is inferior to Jeter and Matsui. This, even though 1) Rodriguez's numbers with RISP are fine and 2) As Wabberjocky has said, there's no such thing as clutch hitting as a persistent characteristic of a player anyway. The bottom line is that Yankees fans, by and large, don't appreciate what they have in A-Rod just because he hasn't created any classic moments yet. That's shallow.

I love Derek Jeter because he plays hard and plays for my team, but he's nowhere close to being the greatest player of his era. Right now he's no better than the fourth or fifth best player on his own team.

I love being a Yankees fan, but I hate the fact that so many of my comrades judge players by anecdotes and fond memories of specific plays rather than their actual abilities. Sure, I'll always grin when I think of Jeter's play to throw out Jeremy Giambi in the ALDS, but we let these moments loom too large in our final analyses of players' worths. Nobody cheered and exulted more than I did when that play occurred, but it was one play.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 5:57 pm 
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wordygurdy wrote:
But was Yount as established a shortstop as Jeter when he made the move?


Yount spent most of his career as a shortstop. He was quiet and didn't get much press in Milwaukee. Like Ripken, he was big for the position and that caught up with him in similar ways--including back trouble, if I remember correctly. That's why he moved to the outfield.

Dale Murphy moved from catching to being an all-star outfielder with good range. Craig Biggio moved from behind the plate to second to the outfield. Those changes were more drastic, aside from media attention.

wordygurdy wrote:
Mike Lupica brought up the subject of moving A-Rod to centerfield several months ago (which I mentioned in another thread here that got no responses). I think I could see A-Rod in center before I could see Jeter in center, but the idea of shifting an infielder has merit. Both have great arms, and Jeter especially tracks pop-ups very well (see, for instance, July 1, 2004, vs. the Red Sox at the Stadium).


A-Rod might make a better centerfielder than Jeter, but he's also a better shortstop, so moving Jeter to the outfield solves two problems. I'd expect Jeter to make the transition well, although the world would have to put up with months of turmoil if it occurred.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:18 pm 
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Derek Jeter would be a poor center fielder, because he lacks a quality throwing arm and fielding range ... both qualities Robin Yount had in abundance before and after he made the switch in his early thirties (his prime). Jeter's weaknesses would only be maginified there. A better move, in my opinion, would be Jeter to second and A-Rod to short. A-Rod, the best player on the team, would be rightfully restored to his natural position as befits a player of his apocalyptic stature (and this coming from someone who dislikes him and takes nothing away from what has been a heroic and seamless converssion to third). Jeter's weaknesses would be minimized, and the Yankees have had a gaping wound at second for years that sorely needs attention.

They could then go out and buy a third baseman ... somebody like Aramis Ramirez.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:29 pm 
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Why do people dislike A-Rod?

He makes a bundle of money. So what? Nobody forced Tom Hicks to offer him that salary. He's loathed in Seattle for doing what most of us would do if offered a huge salary: he took the money. He's loathed in Texas for leaving because Hicks mismanaged the team into a hole. And now he's unappreciated here in New York for the reasons I mentioned above.

I just don't get it. The guy is great.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:00 pm 
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Matthew Grieco wrote:
Why do people dislike A-Rod?

He makes a bundle of money. So what? Nobody forced Tom Hicks to offer him that salary. He's loathed in Seattle for doing what most of us would do if offered a huge salary: he took the money. He's loathed in Texas for leaving because Hicks mismanaged the team into a hole. And now he's unappreciated here in New York for the reasons I mentioned above.

I just don't get it. The guy is great.


He went somewhere where he could get a ring. That gave the fans of the teams he once played for a grim reminder that any sliver of a chance they had before is now gone, and added insult to injury when he went to a team known for generating rings because those same fans knew they'd have to put up with hearing about the Yankees again. It's the same way I feel about Brett Hull and Brenden Shanahan, though that's a different sport. The similarities are there, though -- both left perennial losers to go to teams that churned out championships.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:49 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
They could then go out and buy a third baseman ... somebody like Aramis Ramirez.


And a centerfielder.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:53 pm 
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ndugan1 wrote:
Matthew Grieco wrote:
Why do people dislike A-Rod?

He makes a bundle of money. So what? Nobody forced Tom Hicks to offer him that salary. He's loathed in Seattle for doing what most of us would do if offered a huge salary: he took the money. He's loathed in Texas for leaving because Hicks mismanaged the team into a hole. And now he's unappreciated here in New York for the reasons I mentioned above.

I just don't get it. The guy is great.


He went somewhere where he could get a ring. That gave the fans of the teams he once played for a grim reminder that any sliver of a chance they had before is now gone, and added insult to injury when he went to a team known for generating rings because those same fans knew they'd have to put up with hearing about the Yankees again. It's the same way I feel about Brett Hull and Brenden Shanahan, though that's a different sport. The similarities are there, though -- both left perennial losers to go to teams that churned out championships.


Actually, leaving Texas was probably the best thing A-Rod ever did for the Rangers. They can now spend their money on a good overall team, and are a contender. The blame for A-Rod mess belongs squarely on the shoulders of Tom Hicks, nobody else. It's ridiculous to expect someone NOT to take an offer like that.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:09 am 
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Well, actually, Nikko, the teams A-Rod has left have done better in the seasons following his departure than they did with him there. It happened with the Mariners and the Rangers. This has led to a criticism of him--fair or unfair, Matthew--as a Cooler, a guy who immediately retards the progress of his new team while contributing to the success of the one he left merely by leaving.

It's hard to pinpoint why people dislike A-Rod, Matthew, I'll agree. I don't dislike him, but I don't take him to heart either and probably never will.

In my opinion, I think fans don't like him as much as they do Jeter or other Yankee players because A-Rod is clearly a nomad. He will probably always be an outsider in ways that Reggie Jackson and to a lesser extent Dave Winfield overcame, though A-Rod will probably put up better regular-season and postseason numbers than both of them combined.

Fans know that A-Rod saw that Safeco wasn't going to be conducive to a hitter's compiling great power stats, so he signed with Texas (which plays in a notorious hitter's park) after his agent reportedly blew up any chances he had of signing with his boyhood idols the Mets (who play in another pitcher's park, by the way). He claimed it wasn't about the money--you could look this up--that it was about Hicks' excellent talent evaluation and farm system that was primed to get the Rangers back to the playoffs and the World Series in short order. Hicks gave him the best chance to win, A-Rod told the world.

Lo and behold, three seasons of basement finishes later, A-Rod discovered there wasn't, in fact, any good pitching in the ol' Texas pipeline and that the Rangers were probably doomed to continue finishing out of contention for many years to come as long as they suffered under the weight of his contract. And it didn't help that he didn't get along with Buck Showalter. So A-Rod engineered his trade out of Texas.

The players' association squashed his going to Boston (Lupica rightly pointed out that A-Rod should have patted Gene Orza on the head and reminded Orza that he worked for A-Rod, not vice-versa). But I still believe if Aaron Boone hadn't torn his ACL while playing pickup basketball in the offseason, the Red Sox and A-Rod would have eventually worked out a deal that Fehr and Orza could have accepted. And who knows what kind of numbers A-Rod could have posted while playing in a bandbox like Fenway for 81 games? (Shudder.)

So A-Rod as a Yankee still gets to compile his numbers in a pretty good hitter's park on a team that is seriously flawed but will probably get him at least to the first round of the postseason. Bully for him.

I just don't think fans will ever accept him the way they accepted Jackson and to a lesser degree Winfield. A-Rod is too glib, too calculating. He puts up great numbers--otherworldly numbers--but he has already established himself as a businessman, not really a player with a personality fans can embrace.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:14 am 
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Wordygurdy expressed my feelings on this subject very well. I don't like A-Rod personally, but I take nothing away from him as a player. I believe, barring injury, he'll end his career as the greatest player of all time, statistically and in many other ways. He's a great defender, a great hitter and has an amazing work ethic. He's not Kirby Puckett on the scale of likeability, but he's well above Barry Bonds, who is currently thought of by many as the greatest player of all time.

He may even give Bonds, Ruth and Aaron a good run before he's done.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:01 am 
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A-Rod plays hard for whatever team he's currently on, plays clean, and doesn't make scenes. That's really all I ask of a ballplayer, personality-wise.

Scenes have been made around him, but I maintain that's not his fault.

On the other hand, to my great frustration, Yankees fans seem to have embraced Gary Sheffield, an insufferable, me-first, play-hard-only-when-it-suits-my-career-goals prima donna.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:24 am 
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Matthew Grieco wrote:
A-Rod plays hard for whatever team he's currently on, plays clean, and doesn't make scenes. That's really all I ask of a ballplayer, personality-wise.

Scenes have been made around him, but I maintain that's not his fault.

On the other hand, to my great frustration, Yankees fans seem to have embraced Gary Sheffield, an insufferable, me-first, play-hard-only-when-it-suits-my-career-goals prima donna.


No, Sheffield is what he is--a great hitter, an awful fielder, an immensely immature crybaby. Fans and front-office execs tend to suffer the latter two qualities if the first is there in abundance. If Sheffield weren't hitting, he probably would have whined/misplayed his way out of New York by now, believe me. I'm not a Sheffield fan, and I cringe every time the ball goes near him in right field, hoping it doesn't cost the Yanks too many runs. But I do marvel at his ability to whack the tar out of the baseball so consistently.

To say that A-Rod plays clean doesn't entirely, ahem, wash with me given the Slap play on Bronson Arroyo in last year's ALCS. I never thought I'd agree with anything Curt Schilling said, but that was indeed bush league, something you would expect of Little Leaguers but not seasoned pros. As someone said afterward--I can't remember if it was a Red Sox player or a media person--"Jeter would never have done something like that." And A-Rod was and still is unrepentant about that play; he thought his only crime was getting caught.

I do agree that A-Rod hustles all the time on every play and plays hard.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:45 am 
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I'm still not convinced that the slap play was premeditated.


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