Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Double-Play-Rod: The Season In a Nutshell

There are people whose lives revolve around a sports team, and perhaps they care too much. But when you pay a player millions of dollars, they should care a bit more than Alex Rodriguez clearly does.

A-Rod is playing like he just doesn't care, like all that "Waaaah, waaaah, I wanna be a Yankee!" stuff after Hank Steinbrenner told him to take his Scott Boras and get lost last fall was just a ploy to get his moolah back. Moolah in, mojo out.

Really, one at-bat last night was the 2008 New York Yankees' season in a nutshell:

Bottom of the 7th at Yankee Stadium, against the arch-rivals, the Boston Red Sox, currently leading the American League Wild Card race. The 1st of a 3-game series we have to sweep in order to make a serious run at the Playoffs.

We were down 7-1. Now we're down 7-3. The bases are loaded. Johnny Damon on 3rd, Derek Jeter on 2nd, Bobby Abreu on 1st. All 3 of those have puzzled us at times this season, but on this occasion, they worked for us, and did their job. Which, basically, has come down to getting on base so we can score more than 1 run when A-Rod jacks one out of the park. Assuming, of course, he does his job.

Loaded up. Just 1 out. And "the best player in baseball" is batting. Against the Boston bullpen, and not Jonathan Papelbon, and not Hideki Okajima, either.

If A-Rod hits one out, that's a grand slam, a tie game, a completed comeback, and a big emotional lift -- in a game the Yankees have to win.

But even if all he does is hit a single, it's 7-5, and Abreu on 3rd and A-Rod on 1st, with Jason Giambi coming up, and still only 1 out, and, with 2 men on, the Sox can't go into the Giambi Shift.

If A-Rod works a walk, now it's 7-4, bases still loaded, still only 1 out, still Giambi coming up, with the shift a bad idea, and the short porch in right field.

If A-Rod so much as flies out, that's 7-2, with men on 1st and 2nd, and Giambi coming up with 2 out. Not a terrible situation.

Given any of these possibilities, you'd have to like the Yankees' chances.

Except A-Rod grounds into a double play to end the inning. Again.

And the Yankees don't mount another threat, and lose the most important game of the season, the one that was going to either likely get them back in the race, at least for the Wild Card, or doom them to their 1st postseason on the wrong side of the TV since 1993.

We trusted A-Rod.

A wise man once said, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Another said, "Those who fail to learn it properly are simply doomed."

Having lived through 1982 to 1995, I've seen worse than this, and I can handle this. Even if I can't blame the Curse of Donnie Baseball anymore.

But the 2008 Yankees are doomed.

The only saving grace of this season: Our team disappointed... again... but the Mets are well into another choke. Last night, they blew a 7-0 lead over the team they're battling for the Division Title, the Phillies, and lost 8-7 in 13 innings.

We're still better off, even if you don't consider the 26 titles.

It doesn't make this season's performance any less disgusting. We were supposed to leave the one and only true Yankee Stadium with Title 27.

It won't happen. You can blame the injuries. But if A-Rod had done his job, the injuries would've been something the Yankees overcame.

You know what the difference is between Madonna and a Yankee Fan?

A-Rod has only been screwing Madonna for a few months. He's been screwing Yankee Fans for five years. And any pleasure we've gotten has been fleeting.

Prediction: In one of the seasons left on his $275 million contract, Alex Rodriguez will get hurt, and be out for the season. Then, in October, the Yankees will win the World Series without his help.

Then we can watch him pursue 756 (or 763) career home runs with a clear conscience.

UPDATE: A-Rod did get hurt at the start of the 2009 season, but returned about a quarter of the way through, and hit great, and sparked the Yankees in the postseason, and we won it all with him. Alas, a chase for the career home run record didn't happen.


Arsenal is leading FC Twente Enschede 3-0 late in the game as I type this, so they will move on to the next round of the UEFA Champions League. Not exactly making up for their debacle against Fulham last weekend, but it should have them better prepared for a home match against a tough Newcastle squad on Saturday.


Days until Rutgers kicks off: 5.

Days until East Brunswick kicks off: 16.

Days until the last regular-season game at Yankee Stadium: 25. (Sob... )

Days until the Yankees' season ends: 32. (Grumble... )

Days until the Devils drop the puck: 44. (Corrected from an earlier entry. Days until the Rangers suck: 0, always 0!)

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