A-Rod’s Prospects After Steroids, Injury, Time Off, and 40: An Interview with an Expert Athletic Trainer and Champion Bodybuilder

Dos Equis commercials peddle their fictional man-of-many-feats as the “most interesting man in the world,” but my old friend Stu Yellin can give that old beer drinker a run for his money. I met Stu when we were 5; we spent much of the next decade getting each other in trouble in school, usually when one of us tried to make the other laugh in class by drawing pictures like Spider-Man beating up the teacher (an actual example of a drawing Stu showed me in 12th grade). My art skills never grew past middling (though I did just draw a decent Groot for my kids), but Stu became a major TV cartoonist, drawing the Colbert- and Carrell-voiced “Ace + Gary, The Ambiguously Gay Duo” for SNL, The Tick, and Lizzie McGuire. He then became an art teacher — before becoming a pro bodybuilder too. He got a very late start, competing only as of his early/mid-30s, yet won Pro Cards in various drug-tested federations (most notably the WNBF, the strictest one on substance abuse), and won first place as a middleweight in several “natural bodybuilding” competitions with tough drug testing.…

Read more

The Puerto Rico Rays? Sí, se puede…

Yankee fans following road trips to A.L. East rivals may not have to visit one of MLB’s most humdrum parks and cities much longer: frustrated with MLB-low attendance and a notoriously weak park, the Tampa Bay Rays’ owner “has discussed moving the club … to Montreal.” Believe or don’t believe reports that “play[ing] to a half-empty (or worse) stadium night after night … wore on Maddon” in his decision to leave the team he managed for nine years. But clearly the Rays, despite being roughly tied with the A’s as the team most praised for innovative decision-making, are also roughly tied with the A’s as MLB’s most troubled team; the hit they’ll take from losing simultaneously one of the most respected GMs and one of the most respected managers just compounds their structural attendance and park problems.

Yet a team looking for a more devoted fan base would be making a curious decision by shacking up with Montreal, the one city MLB jilted by permanently confiscating its MLB team for lack of local support.…

Read more

Get Ready for the 2015 Postseason: A-Rod in the “Best Shape of His Life”! But Let’s Look at Past “Best Shape” Claims…

The Hypothesis: The news that “multiple reports say [A-Rod] is in the best shape of his life” (10/13/14) is useless for predicting his performance. Or am I just a snarky, condescending jerk for mocking the concept that diet and exercise can help a near-fortysomething who, to play well for a team I like, reportedly is working harder than the many who let their bodies go by their early/mid-30s – like those Girardi “ripped … for being overweight, not being ‘hungry'” in an impressive bit of managerial wordplay?

The Slipshod Methodology: I Googled “best shape of his life” yankees and “best shape of my life” yankees to find others with off-season “best shape” reports; the first five pages of results from each search yielded 10 “best shape” claims. (I included a few that didn’t quite say “best” but did claim dramatically better physical condition.) I then looked at their performance the seasons before and after the offseason “best shape” claim.…

Read more

Forget About A-Rod Playing Shortstop

After a season in which he was almost never mentioned, Alex Rodriguez is starting to creep back into the Yankee headlines.  He’s been working out in preparation for his return from this year’s suspension, the team has been speaking openly and positively about him rejoining the lineup in 2015, and all signs point towards A-Rod being the starter at some position on Opening Day.

What position, exactly, is up for debate and appears as though it could be something that’s not set in stone.  One suggestion that’s been talked about on our daily email chains and multiple times in the comment section of this blog is the idea of moving A-Rod back to shortstop.  That is an idea that any and all believers should stop believing right now.  Forget about it.  Because it’s not going to happen.

At 39 years old and turning 40 next July, and with 2 bad hips, A-Rod’s days of playing every day are long gone.  Cash used that point as the main reason why the team reportedly asked A-Rod to learn first base this offseason.

Read more

Quick Hit: Teix Gets Back On That Grind

I should hate everything about this story by Dan Barbarisi on Mark Teixeira’s early offseason workout plan, but I don’t:

“Now, a week since the Yankees’ season ended, Teixeira is back at work. Normally he would take close to a month off and shut his body down to recover from the season. But at age 34, he no longer has that luxury; coming off the worst season of his career, he has to make things right again.

‘I’m doing light workouts right now, and when I start hitting the weights heavy here in a couple weeks, I’ll be prepared,’ he said. ‘I’m not shutting it down for a month like I usually do.’”

I want to say this is stupid.  And somewhat surprising.  I didn’t know Teix usually took a month off at the end of the season every year.  If he’s been taking a month off and then getting hurt the way he has the last few years, I should shudder at the thought of him working out already.  …

Read more

Are There Issues In The Yankee Clubhouse?

Joe Presser vs BAL

The old “rip your team after they’ve already been eliminated from postseason contention” move, eh? Courtesy of Getty Images

Aside from Derek Jeter‘s final few games and the last honorary send-off he was given by the Red Sox and their fans this past weekend, the only other bit of noteworthy Yankee news came in the form of a possible locker room controversy.  On Saturday, Wally Matthews and Andrew Marchand of ESPN NY filed a story detailing a reportedly “scathing” locker room speech given by Joe to his team before Thursday’s home finale.  You can read the full story here if you haven’t already, but the overall gist is that Joe was “angry” and called his players out for lack of effort.  Here’s the money pull-out quote:

“According to clubhouse sources who were present for the critique, and backed up by interviews with more than a half-dozen players, most of whom spoke to ESPNNewYork.com not for attribution for fear of angering their manager, Girardi chided some players for being overweight and others for not being ‘hungry’ enough.

Read more

Quick Hit: Guess Which Dot Is Jeter’s Home Run From Last Night

Jeter Spray Chart 2014

Courtesy of TL

I’m trying to keep everything positive about The Captain in his final weekend at The Stadium, but I was interested in checking the legitimacy of my statement in the game recap earlier about Derek Jeter’s 6th inning home run last night being the hardest ball he’s hit all year.  I don’t think this spray chart necessarily proves that, but it does show just how little power Jeter has left and how out-of-character that homer was last night.

According to ESPN’s home run tracker, last night’s homer was the only of Jeter’s 4 this season that would have gone out in all 30 ballparks.  That’s something, right?  And it was 1 of 2 that registered as out by “plenty”.  The other 2 were “just enough”.

It helped that Jeter was swinging against R.A. Dickey’s low-80s fastball and not a real Major League fastball in that at-bat.  Hell, who am I kidding?  That was what made the home run possible.  …

Read more

Monday Afternoon Food For Thought: What’s Your Working Definition of “Well”?

The Yankees managed to squeak out 1 win this weekend, but let’s be real.  They got ragdolled by the Orioles, just like they’ve been getting ragdolled by the Orioles all season.  With 14 games remaining and 5 separating them from the 2nd Wild Card spot, The Captain offered up this insight on the team’s standing:

“We need to continue to come out and play well, and more importantly to win games. We’re at the point now where playing well isn’t good enough.”

At the most basic level, I agree with what Jeter’s saying.  The Yankees do need to win games if they want to keep up the facade that they’re in playoff contention and they can’t be content to just play well.  There are no moral victories to be had here.  Factoring in all the context that comes with the Yankees’ present situation, however, this statement is borderline idiotic.

What are we talking about when we talk about the Yankees CONTINUING to play well, Derek?  …

Read more

Monday Morning Food For Thought: Yanks 4-0 Since “The Meeting”

McCann HR vs CHW

Courtesy of the AP

Things were pretty bleak in Yankeeland last Thursday morning.  They had lost 2 straight to the Astros thanks to more offensive no-showing and a leaky bullpen, and had fallen back to 63-61 and 5 games behind the second Wild Card spot.  It looked like the final nails were primed to be driven in on this season.  Then something happened.  A group of position players called a meeting that morning to talk about what they needed to do differently to turn their poor performance around.  Not that I really spent a ton of time looking, but I haven’t seen much reported on the specifics of this meeting.  Nobody really knows who was there and what was said.  Brett Gardner said the players in attendance “cleared the air” and Brian McCann made reference to it when he talked to the media after his big hit yesterday.  That’s it.

Interestingly enough, the Yankees are undefeated since that meeting.  They went out and won on Thursday afternoon behind a stellar pitching performance from Brandon McCarthy and finished up a sweep of the White Sox yesterday afternoon in dramatic walk-off fashion.  …

Read more