The Most Hyperbolic Article In History

Do you see what I did there?

Anyhow, this is courtesy of the always entertaining Jayson Stark, so maybe it was meant to be a joke:

How could baseball have allowed this to happen to itself? How? Can anyone recall any other sport that has ever committed such an insane act of self-destruction?

What compares to it? The Black Sox? This is worse. Game-fixing in college basketball? This is worse. Nominate any scandal in the history of sports. My vote is that this is worse.

It’s not worse because it will cause massive numbers of people to stop watching or caring about baseball. Check the attendance. Check the revenue charts. People will come back. They’ve already come back. The sport, as a business, is doing great.

But the sport, as a unique paragon of American culture, is devastated. And that’s forever.

Really, Jayson? So doing everything possible to win is apparently worse than losing on purpose. It is worse than segregation in baseball, as well.… Click here to read the rest

Cashman discusses his 2009 rotation

In a phone interview, Brian Cashman spoke candidly with Kat O’Brien (Newsday) about his off-season haul, discussing CC, Burnett and the rotation, in general. Here’s an interesting bit on Burnett.

“This is a guy that our players wanted desperately,” Cashman said of Burnett. “They felt that this guy was a difference-maker. Guys kept banging on my door [after] we had Sabathia in the fold – Alex [Rodriguez], Johnny [Damon]. It was a full-court press. You wouldn’t believe the calls I got over him. It was very unusual.”

Cashman also spoke about the Burnett–Pavano comparisons, which are highly problematic when you compare both in terms of skill. The disabled list is really the only common thread between the two (that and the Marlins).… Click here to read the rest

Neyer: A-Rod Still Great

Finally, a voice of reason amid all the lunacy (see the headline for Jayson Stark’s article: “A-Rod has destroyed game’s history”) and recriminations:

I hope Alex Rodriguez didn’t cheat. If we do find out that he cheated, I will wish that he hadn’t. But whatever happens, I’m not going to change my opinion that he’s a great baseball player. Like many of the greatest players, he’ll do whatever it takes to be the best player he can be. For a stretch of five or 10 years — and yes, perhaps even today still — being the best player could have meant cheating. Maybe the cheaters were wrong; that’s the direction in which I lean, probably because I’ve got a streak of the moralist in me. But I will not sit idly while great athletes looking for an edge — not all that different from the many generations before them — are demonized by the high priests of baseball opinion. I will not.

Click here to read the rest

Steroids and the Disingenuous Media

Yesterday we learned that A-Rod tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2003. Today, the media vultures are out, picking at the bones of the player that they had previously trumpeted as the great clean hope. Buster Olney believes Alex to be tarnished forever, and luminaries such as John Kruk, Tom Verducci, and Bill Madden feel that he should never be allowed into the Hall of Fame. Once again, the sanctimonious media is telling the masses that we should be livid, shouting their righteous indignation from the rooftops over the fact that they were, gasp, lied to by another superstar. 

The hand wringing in the media is designed to distract us from one simple fact that the Olney’s and Verducci’s of the world desperately want us to ignore. Those guys were in the Yankee clubhouse in the late 90’s all the time. They criticize GM’s for not knowing what was going on in terms of baseball’s drug culture, yet they spent more time around these players than anyone but the managers and trainers.… Click here to read the rest

Aurilia for the bench?

The Yankees need a backup-infielder as Cody Ransom and Angel Berroa are essentially anomalies. RAB has thrown out two very solid ideas for utility players, noting the presence of Mark Grudzielanek, who is an undervalued commodity, as well as Ray Durham, who was one of the better offensive 2B just a few years ago. Now, while I like these options, I’m also a fan of another near-40 guy—Rich Aurilia.

Aurilia is a righty and had a solid 2008 campaign, plus he hit lefties exceptionally well (.321/.377/.526). Therefore, his bat could still be very helpful. Furthermore, he’s versatile defensively, a plus for a team that is in need of defensive help at SS, 2B and 3B. Aurilia can actually play 1B, SS, 2B and 3B, although he didn’t see time at SS last year. While he was slightly below average at each position in ’08, he’d probably offer a defensive upgrade at SS and 3B, depending on how A-Rod and Jeter play.… Click here to read the rest

The Jeter-Rodriguez Gulf Widens

Yankees fans are a notoriously fickle bunch. Players who do not fit the mold of the “True Yankee” often find themselves drawing the home crowd’s ire whever they fail, while having their successes glossed over or ignored. Such has been the fate of Alex Rodriguez, as the radio waves and stadium seats are filled with people bemoaning his every failure while dismissing his achievements as being “unclutch.” However, the A-Rod phenomenon has an added layer of intrigue when compared to the typical “can’t do it in New York” fare. Every time Alex touches the field, he stands just a few feet to the right of Mr. Yankee himself, Derek Jeter.

Jeter and Alex were once friends, but Derek cast A-Rod aside for comments he made about him in an interview. When Alex came to the Yankees, he moved to third base to accommodate Derek, but his slow start and playoff failures did nothing to endear himself to the fans. Although some of the frostiness between the two players has apparently dissolved over the years, fans began to view the two players as rivals, and a divide among the faithful emerged.… Click here to read the rest

Selena Roberts: Release All Names Or None

Any of my long time readers would know that I think all the commotion over the steroids issue is silly. I’m not going to comment on the A-Rod situation because we don’t know the extent to which he took steroids, the effect on his game that they had, or much else about this whole situation.

There is no reason to release only the most famous and controversial name on a list of 104 players except for personal advancement. She’ll make a small portion of her career on this story. She is no better than your average paparazzi. There are 103 other professional baseball players that tested positive during a round of tests that were always intended to be kept private. Whomever disclosed the results of those tests to Roberts probably committed a crime.

Steroids made a major impact on baseball. They changed the game for a substantial period of time. Many players – logically more than the 104 who tested positive at this one particular instance in this one particular set of tests – used them.… Click here to read the rest