Showing posts with label A-Rod. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A-Rod. Show all posts

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Is A-Rod Finally Coming Clean?

Is A-Rod Finally Coming Clean?

Alex Rodriguez drops the lawsuits: Where does this go from here?

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 8- To those who have been in the corner of Alex Rodriguez as to innocent or guilty, there was an answer Friday afternoon. Rodriguez, from all accounts admitted his guilt by dropping lawsuits against Major League Baseball and the players association regarding his defense in this latest and biggest steroid case that hit the game of baseball.

But from the beginning, A-Rod had guilt written all over him. Spending his millions that were earned, from what we thought he deserved, as the most talented player in the game, kept this an ongoing drama that appears to have come to a conclusion.

And hopefully this is the end of the A-Rod steroid saga and baseball can move on. Because from all accounts this amounts to a major victory for Major League Baseball and through all the hearings and lawsuits filed, baseball nailed the main culprit.

Blame Major League Baseball also from the beginning. When all this steroid and PED drama started almost a decade ago, they failed to take action because fans were coming to the ballpark to see the home run leave the ballpark. A-Rod from the beginning, along with the other culprits, took advantage.

Since that time, as documented, baseball took a hit. Illegal performance enhancing drugs were prevalent and the story. Many times those stories continued to overtake the good things that were taking place on the field, the good from those who played the game without the use of a stimulant that many times awarded big money contracts to the wrong guys.

One of those wrong guys, and a major culprit in all of this was Alex Rodriguez. And like him or not, you have to have some type of sorrow for this talented player, one who did not need PED’s to begin with.

But, A-Rod was able to get away with so much. The first time, he admitted his guilt when he hit over 300 home runs with the Texas Rangers. Then, he came to New York, as a Yankee and hit more, destined to become the lone player in baseball history to hit 700 home runs or more and rewarded with was the highest contract offered to a player.

Again, numbers on the field were rewarded, just unfortunate that those statistics that A-Rod compiled did not come naturally. The fact PED’s contributed to those balls leaving the yard, and a record number of runs batted in, not coming without the use of illegal substances made this story a worse case for baseball.

And now, whether one believes A-Rod was right or wrong, perhaps the game of baseball can get back to normal.  Though the stigma of this latest A-Rod drama of the last year will never go away, nor will it disappear from the names of other culprits who got a lesser suspension from their involvement of Biogenesis or other related PED cases over the past few years.

The difficult aspect is accepting a player who goes on a home run tear, or a pitcher who is throwing over powering stuff, or another record breaker for that matter. Their accomplishments will always be questioned and for that one has to put the blame on Alex Rodriguez and others.

More so, the blame goes to A-Rod for initiating this fraud, one that went further beyond expectations, because he had the money to take this to Federal court by utilizing the services of high profiled lawyers that looked at this case for prominence. And of course A-Rod had the money to pay them what they wanted.

So with his back against the wall, and with no more support from a player’s union that advocated better drug testing and banning of PED’s from the game, Friday afternoon those lawyers getting paid good money from A-Rod petitioned the court to drop their case.

Except, that lawsuit against Major League Baseball, the union, and the Yankees should never have been filed because from the beginning of this, Alex Rodriguez was always guilty.

One can argue that a drug test was never administered to A-Rod to clear his name. But that was never a question here because all the evidence was open via text messages and documents. And one can argue that baseball is at fault for allowing this mess of PED’s to continue, no matter what strict policies were implemented or what type of security was in place.

We do know this: Alex Rodriguez will not play baseball in 2014 for the New York Yankees. There will be no circus atmosphere down in Tampa Florida next week with the media when players report to spring training camp because Alex Rodriguez said he will not be there.

Though the prevailing question is, will Alex Rodriguez play baseball again and if so, will it be with the New York Yankees? That remains to be answered as the Yankees move forward from this, and focus on their goal to fill the void at third base and return to play post season baseball in October.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Mancuso 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Despite A-Rod Circus Yankees seem like a Playoff Team

A-Bum Strikes Out 5 Times, Grounds into Double Play,
Yanks Still Win

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 21- Maybe it took the return of Alex Rodriguez in order for the New York Yankees to make their season more interesting. With or without the A-Rod controversy, manager Joe Giaradi had said it would take 35 wins after the all-star break for his team to be eligible for October baseball.

No matter how one feels about the player known as A-Fraud, Rodriguez enhances the Yankees lineup. Robinson Cano can vouch for that. In the first game of the Tuesday day-night twin-bill sweep over the Blue Jays, Cano went 4-for4 and hit his 200th career home run.

In the night game, another win in walk-off fashion, the Yankees sixth of the season, Cano went 2-for-4 and has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games. In that span, he is hitting .456 with eight runs, five doubles, two home runs and 11 runs batted in.

Yes, like him or not, A-Rod does make a difference despite striking out five times and hitting into a double-play in the second game Tuesday night.

“You can see it’s a different lineup when you have Alfonso, Curtis, you have Alex,” commented Cano about the return of A-Rod, Curtis Granderson and the addition of Alfonso Soriano.

Despite all the controversy with A-Rod, and the fireworks from Friday night up in Boston, Girardi never gave up. He always said when his team came back to full strength they would get back in it.

Again, Alex Rodriguez has not been a distraction. Despite the lawsuits, an appeal process of a 211-game suspension, and the hierarchy not talking to their troubled player, the Yankees say A-Rod has been a vital addition and now every game is a run to keep playing in October.

“We’re a different team offensively,” Girardi said after the Yankees won their eighth game in their last 10 overall. Two more with Toronto on this brief home stand and then the battle continues with three down in Tampa Bay, a team in a battle with the Red Sox for the AL east division lead.

With Robinson Cano hitting his 200th career home run and right hander Ivan Nova allowing four runs in 6.1 innings, New York came home to the Bronx and defeated Toronto 8-4, in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

Not like they were in April, May, June, and some of July, they overcame a four-run deficit for the first time this season. Right hander Phil Hughes (4-12) took the mound for the second game. He had better command with the changeup, the fastball had location, and he did not allow a home run at Yankee Stadium since June 19th.

And, Hughes also said, the offense helped. Alex Rodriguez is not a distraction. “He makes us a better team,” said Hughes about his controversial teammate.

Earlier as Nova (7-4) and the Yankees took the field for the first game, Major League Baseball announced Joe Girardi had been fined an undisclosed amount for his actions Friday night at Fenway Park. Later it was reported the fine was $5,000.

Girardi was ejected from that game in the second inning after arguing with plate umpire Brian O’Nora after Boston pitcher Ryan Dempster threw three pitches at Rodriguez, the last of the three that hit him and made things appear worse for A-Rod and the Yankees.

Dempster was also fined and suspended five games for his actions. Girardi wants this to end, and the frustration is unfolding. Because Girardi is only concerned about one thing, that is winning ballgames and the Yankees seem to be doing that more the past few weeks.

“I don’t really have any comment,” said Girardi about the suspension of Dempster. “Think I made my feelings pretty clear then,” he said. Girardi seemed annoyed about the questions being asked about Dempster, feeling he offered enough about the situation that happened Friday night.

Though Girardi said, a suspension for intentionally throwing at a position player does not always make sense as it related to five games, because Dempster will probably not miss a turn in the rotation.

As for winning another game, he said, “Win the game that is at hand. The guys went out and did that today and came from behind and got some big hits and that’s what we have to concentrate on.”

Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-5 with a double in the third inning and a single in the seventh. He is one hit shy of career ht 4,000, 1,278 of those hits came as a player in Japan. That was supposed to be another storyline, but A-Rod was the center of attention.

Suzuki did not start the second game. He pinch ran in the ninth for Mark Reynolds who walked. He advanced on a bunt, stole third and came home with the winning run on the first walk-off RBI hit from Jayson Nix.

In the end, winning ballgames is what it all about. A-Rod was not available for the media all day. He never is when not contributing, but has to have his forum when the timing is right.

With 37 games remaining, the Yankees are getting the timely hit, and overall, good starting pitching. The bullpen has been better and the home run trot is getting better for more than one.

“It’s fun in here again,” commented catcher Austin Romine who tied his career high, 3-for-3 in the second game. He too, has been a part of this resurgence that has the Yankees back in the wild card hunt and closing in for that second spot.

But they have to keep winning, and taking series in this stretch run for October. “That’s baseball, anything can happen. It’s not over till it’s over,” said Romine.

We heard that before, of course from the Yankees of years past and there was no A-Rod controversy then.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Mancuso

Monday, August 12, 2013

Boos? What Boos?

A-Rod Only Hears Home Run Cheers,
Tunes Out Jeers for Everything Else

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 12- Humans are strange beings. Most have very short memories and are only concerned with what one has done for them recently. The deeds of the past, both good and bad, are quite quickly forgotten. Most also overlook their own shortcomings but are quick to point out the weaknesses in others.
An example of the above is Alex Rodriguez on Sunday afternoon. In the second inning, as he approached the batter’s box for his first at bat and his name was announced on the public address system, a loud noise of mixed cheers and jeers were heard.

A-Rod lifted the second pitch thrown to him into the stands in leftfield. The home run was greeted with a thunderous ovation, many fans standing in tribute while applauding. The homer was his first of the 2013 campaign, the 648th of his career and accounted for his 1,951st RBI in the majors, giving him sole 5th place in major league history.

With two out in the top of the next inning, Rodriguez had difficulty picking up a ground ball and was issued an error. He was immediately jeered loudly, probably by many who cheered his home run.

In the bottom of the same inning, Rodriguez again received a mixed reaction as his name was announced. As the hard grounder he hit went into rightfield for a single, he was again cheered. The only similarity to all these responses from the fans is they are louder and more emotional than the reactions to any other player on the field.

Rodriguez explained his feelings to the reactions of the fans after the game, “You want to turn boos into cheers; you want to go out and make them proud. All you want is really a chance. I think New York always gives you that.”

In addition to the daily A-Rod story, a baseball game was played on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. The heat and humidity may have help carry baseballs into the stands as seven solo home runs were struck in the nine inning contest.

The first Detroit run came without the benefit of a homer. Starter Andy Pettitte gave up three singles and a base on balls in the first. It was the eighth consecutive start in which Pettitte yielded a run in the first frame.

The veteran gave up no further runs but his outing was cut short after 4.1 innings as he had thrown more than 100 pitches. Later, he commented, “It’s taxing on my body to throw that many pitches early in the game.”

The Yankees scored the next four runs. After A-Rod’s homer in the second, the Yanks gained another run on a sacrifice fly by Eduardo Nuñez.

Each of the remaining runs crossed the plate via a solo round tripper. With two out in the third, Robinson Cano blasted his 23rd homer of the year.

Alfonso Soriano led off the fourth with his 20th home of the season, three as a Yankee and 17 as a Cub. The long ball was the 2,000 major league hit for the veteran outfielder. He is the 16th active player to reach that milestone.

The Yanks kept the 4-1 advantage until catcher Brayan Peña led off the eighth with a home run to right.

The major’s premier closer, Mariano Rivera, entered the game in the ninth. Superstar Miguel Cabrera blasted a long ball to lead off the frame. The home run was his second off “Sandman” on the weekend, making him only the second player, with Edgar Martinez, to homer twice in a single season off Rivera.

After the game, Cabrera, a true professional, put his accomplishment in the perspective of winning, “I don’t know how to explain it. The only thing we can explain is that we lost the game. At the end of the game, the home runs mean nothing.”
Later in the ninth, Victor Martinez’s 10th homer of the season tied the game at 4. The homer gave Rivera a third straight blown save for the first time in his lengthy career. Rivera remarked, “At least it’s only the first time. I don’t pay attention to that stuff. I just try to go out there and do my job.”

With two out in the bottom of the ninth, Brett Gardner recorded his second walk-off hit of the weekend series as he homered to right.

The Yanks begin a four game series with the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night with Hiroki Kuroda (10-7) starting and Garrett Richards (3-4) on the mound for the Angels.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A-Rod a No Show

Boos continue, but this time it's Hughes
Yankee Win Streak Ends at One Game

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 11- The excitement of the return of Alex Rodriguez to Yankee Stadium for the first time since October drew a sell-out of 46,545 on Friday night. Love him or hate him, the desire to see A-Rod on the field at Yankee Stadium attracted only the fourth sell-out of the 2013 season.

The fourth walk-off win of the year on Friday brought hope to Yankees fans, who again packed the house with 45,728 on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. To their disappointment, the Yankees did not win and Rodriguez did not play.
The result of the top of the first inning brought an unsettling feeling to many of the oft-disappointed Yankee rooters. The presence of Phil Hughes on the mound did not add a feeling of confidence to the fans present.

A former minor league phenom in the Yankees organization, Austin Jackson, led off Saturday’s game with a triple to center. The next batter, Torii Hunter, drove the speedy Jackson across the plate with a sacrifice fly to center.

Not surprising to anyone in the stadium Miguel Cabrera hit a solo home run to left on a 0-1 pitch in the third. The player most fans, regardless of team, consider the best player in the majors today hit his 35th round tripper and his 109th RBI. Cabrera’s skipper, Jim Leyland, a 50-year veteran in baseball, commented upon his superlative player, “It’s hard to believe, really, what we’re seeing, to be honest.”

The above two Tigers contributed to the four-run fifth inning. Jackson led off the parade of hits with his ninth homer of his season shortened by one month on the disabled list. A single by Hunter terminated Hughes’s outing.

The offensive onslaught continued against reliever Preston Claiborne. Cabrera’s third hit of the game was a single. With two out, Victor Martinez doubled in a run and Don Kelly followed with a two-run single.

Hughes left the game after surrendering four runs in 4.1 innings. He walked off the field to the sound of resounding jeers. The two homers he yielded raised his yearly total to 22 in 22 starts. Another reason for the removal at that moment was the next batter he was to face was Cabrera, who had a .560 batting average against Hughes (14 for 25). He had also hit successfully off the righty in his last seven at bats.

After the game, the starter admitted, “It was never like I was really comfortable out there. I was always working out of tough situations. That’s what led to the high pitch count.” Hughes threw 99 pitches in 4.1 innings.

The offensive assault continued against reliever Preston Claiborne. Cabrera’s third hit of the game was a single. With two out, Victor Martinez doubled in one run and was followed by a single by Don Kelly that drove in the third and fourth tallies of the inning.

The final three Detroit runs came on a three-run homer by Torii Hunter in the sixth off Joba Chamberlain.

Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez retired the first nine batters he faced. He gave up only two hits in the fourth and two in the fifth during his seven inning stint. This was the eighth of his 20 starts in which he has yielded four hits or less and the 11th in which he has fanned at least eight.

The veteran hurler Justin Verlander aptly summed up his team’s strength, “I think that this is the team that we want to be. Right now, I think we’re pitching well, we’re hitting well and we’re playing good defense.” It’s not surprising the Tigers are currently 23 games above .500.

The Yankee offense was named Lyle Overbay. He knocked in all three Yankees tallies. He hit a two-run homer in the fifth and the final run with a single in the ninth.
The finale of the three game set on Sunday afternoon will have Andy Pettitte (7-9) and Justin Verlander (12-8) in the starting roles.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fans to A-Rod: You're a Bum

'He is a disgrace to the game of baseball' - player says

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 10- Fans at Yankee Stadium Friday night waited 52-minutes because of a rain delay before they could let Alex Rodriguez know how they felt. He was introduced as a part of the starting lineup. The reaction appeared to be mixed. Then the famed row call from the “Bleacher Creatures” was heard.

A-Rod heard his name, and the reaction was also mixed, though at one point it sounded like he was getting booed out of the building. A-Rod gave his wave to the creatures in the right field bleacher area.

It was the second part of the Alex Rodriguez Hollywood script that finally landed back in the Bronx. It ended with a successful Yankees win in 10-innings that made them feel a little better about themselves.

Some will say all of the attention Alex Rodriguez is receiving overshadows the problems his team is confronting. The Yankees, with 50-games left on the schedule, are as far away from playing October baseball as the Rodriguez decision on his appeal that is pending with Major League Baseball.

Also, don’t believe that the entire membership of the Major League Baseball Player’s Association is in the corner of Alex Rodriguez. A prominent player with the Tigers said before the game, when asked if A-Rod was a fraud, “That’s being nice. He is a disgrace to the game of baseball.”

He added that that the sentiment of membership has to be tolerant with this sensitive issue. There does though, need to be a line drawn. “Take the suspension and go," he commented.

A-Rod, the 211-game suspension abusing, baseball’s anti doping policies continuedHollywood script. Nobody does it better, another reason why the Yankees had only their fourth sell-out this season. Perhaps the model athlete, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, spoiled the script with a two-out- ninth inning two-run home run off the great Mariano Rivera.

However, A-Rod was not around to see it. His night was over after going 0-for-4, striking out three times.

“It’s probably 50-50 tonight and maybe more cheers,” said the manager Joe Girardi about the crowd reaction in this latest script revolving around a ballplayer that knows how to write a perfect script for himself, that being Alex Rodriguez.

"It’ something he has to put out his mind,” added Girardi. “He’s had to deal with stuff before.” Indeed, A-Rod has dealt with this before, and like the legendary Frank Sinatra said, “I did it my way.”

That way, spring training, Tampa Florida in 2009. A-Rod said he would not disappoint fans and the game of baseball again. The script would continue with an MVP type performance of a post season, a fraud because it was done once again using performance enhancing drugs. All the evidence without a jury makes it look that way.

And with an Alex Rodriguez Hollywood script, that would be the first case scenario.

The start of a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers, a team coming in with a 12-game winning streak was also put on the side because of more A-Rod theatre. The Yankees came back to the Bronx Friday night having lost four straight, at 57-56, and one game over .500.

Yes, Alex Rodriguez was more important as the Yankees try to find something to get back in the pennant race mix. The Yankees crowd saw the return of Curtis Granderson. He has not made much of an impact since returning from the disabled list last Friday night in San Diego.

But, he was also overshadowed because this was the return of Alex Rodriguez to the Bronx, a ballplayer who can write a script as good as they come in Hollywood.

There were some signs in the crowd. “Welcome back A-Rod” and “We are behind you 100 Percent.” That is expected, because Alex Rodriguez is that type of ballplayer who gathers that attention, whether you love or hate him.

This entire Biogenesis fiasco of a scandal has become Alex Rodriguez drama, as it always is. It has not centered on the other 12- players that were suspended and did not appeal. The drama continued with his first time back in the Bronx since being benched last October in the ALCS that the Yankees lost to the Tigers.

And surly the drama will continue. Because this is a script Alex Rodriguez has created that belongs in Hollywood when his farce of a career is finally over.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Mancuso

A-Rod Circus Comes to Bronx

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 10- After a disappointing road trip in which they lost six of eight games, the Yankees returned to the Bronx on Friday to begin a three game series with the American League Central leading Detroit Tigers.

Going into the series, The Yanks had won only six of their last 20 games, the Yanks are a season worst 11 games out of first place in the A.L. East and seven games behind the Texas Rangers for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. The Tigers brought a 12 game winning streak to Yankee Stadium and were winners of 16 of their last 17 contests.

Although Alex Rodriguez received a 211 game suspension from MLB that began last Thursday, his appeal will probably keep him in the Yankee lineup for the remainder of the season. The arbitrator’s ruling will most likely not be made until public until after the 2013 season concludes.

Rodriguez, as was expected, spoke enthusiastically of his return to his home ballpark, “I’ve been waiting a long time for this day. I’m just privileged to come home on a Friday night against a tough opponent. I’m just really excited.”

When asked his expectations of the reaction of the home fans, he responded, “I haven’t thought about it. I’m not sure.” The decibel level in the stadium rose at each mention of his name on the public address system. The fans reacted strongly, both positively and negatively. Most observers in the park described the reaction as mixed.

According to Yankees skipper Joe Girardi, “I look at it as 50-50, maybe a little more cheers.” Asked if he believed Rodriguez would have too much difficulty dealing with the pressure, the manager responded in an understatement, “Alex has had to deal with stuff before.”

A-Rod did not contribute to any of the four runs scored by the Yanks. He struck out in the first with a runner on third. He again struck out with a runner on third in the third. He fanned a third time and flied to right in his final two trips to the plate.

Rodriguez was replaced by Jayson Nix in the ninth for defensive purposes. That may have been instrumental in the victory for the Yanks as Nix scored the winning tally in the 10th inning.

Nix walked to lead-off the 10th. He moved to second on a single by Curtis Granderson. He moved to third on wild pitch by the losing pitcher, Al Alburquerque. With two out, Brett Gardner singled to left to drive Nix across the plate for the 4-3 walk-off win.

Before the game, Gardner was presented with the MLB Players Association Heart and Hustle Award. The Yankees winner of this prestigious honor lived up to it during the game.

He walked and scored the first Yankee run in the first. He singled and scored the Yankees second run in the third. He singled again to lead-off the fifth. His third single of the contest drove in the winning run. Rather than taking personal credit, he remarked, “We feel like every game now is a must win.”

The win ended the four game losing streak of the Yanks and the 12 game winning streak of Detroit.

Phil Hughes (4-10) and Anibal Sanchez (9-7) will be the starters in the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon.