They're Professional Athletes, They're Used To This Kind of Thing, It Rolls Right Off Their Back!
Let's preface this by saying that Ken Davidoff is an idiot. Everyone's favorite punching bag, Alex Rodriguez, gets a "clutch" hit (Lord, how I detest that word now), hits 2 homeruns including a grand slam to take the lead and drives in 7 runs, and Davidoff has to focus on, and I'll paraphrase "Alex is an asshole."
I might not have known before where Davidoff's loyalties lie, and I've both criticized and praised him in the past, but now I'm pretty sure he's a Mets fan:
Let Alex Rodriguez tick everyone off, from Paul Lo Duca to Curt Schilling to the Yankees' own fans. Let him do that obnoxious seal clap each time he reaches base. Each time he looks at a ball out of the strike zone, if that floats his boat.
A-Rod, when he's right, uses all of the negative energy surrounding him as a weapon. The Yankees desperately need that weapon, as they move back into intraleague play. They can put up with the nonsense, as long as they get the homers in return.
So the fact that Rodriguez claps when he gets to first base - that's nonsense! But the Yankees put up with such appalling behavior as long as he hits homeruns! Yankees like St. Jeter and His Majesty Bernie Williams!
With a huge assist from jumpy Mets starter Alay Soler, the Yankees showed some might and, in A-Rod's case, both power and gall. So perhaps this can prove to be a momentous victory, although it's not as though the Yankees were slumping horribly before last night.
The gall of Rodriguez, with the clapping and all! Wait, was there something more galling than clapping going on? Inquiring minds want to know.
When Rodriguez stepped to the plate in the third inning, the Yankees had closed the gap to 4-2, and Jason Giambi had loaded the bases on what was generously ruled an infield single. It wasn't very shocking when A-Rod pounced on the shaky Soler, crushing a grand slam into the right-centerfield bleachers.Look, we're all human, and Rodriguez obviously feels pressure to produce. But that doesn't excuse his antics as he a) admired the blast for a second; b) did the exaggerated clap as he began his trot; c) spent an extra second celebrating with third-base coach Larry Bowa; and d) sang, "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" as he stepped on home plate.(Just kidding about letter d, although it would've been a natural progression from the first three.)
That show understandably upset Lo Duca, the Mets' catcher, who said something to A-Rod as he crossed home plate. Rodriguez turned back to respond, but home-plate umpire Tim McClelland astutely stepped in front of A-Rod. Giambi uttered a few words of support to Lo Duca, and the scene ended.
Well first I must admit, you don't get to the level of being a main sportswriter for a major New York newspaper like Newsday without having a rapier wit and savage sense of humor. I mean, "Na, Na, Hey Hey" was a great setup and I believed him until he admitted he was only joking! Jesus, Ken Davidoff, more warning next time before you break out the funnies!
So Rodriguez watched the blast "for a second." Ask yourself how long a second is. Count with me: "one-one thousand." Then Rodriguez - the gall of that man - proceeded to look into his own dugout to see his teammates, who were very happy that he'd just hit a go ahead grand slam. When was looking into your dugout ever considered offensive? Honestly after decades of watching baseball, this is the first time I have ever heard that this is taboo. Well, in any event, Rodriguez continues to circle the basepath and while Davidoff says he "spent an extra second celebrating" with Larry Bowa... he didn't. Since when is a high five spending extra time celebrating? You see this all the time. But when Rodriguez does it: lousy showboat! And of course Lo Duca was "understandably" upset.
I'm wondering if maybe we were watching two different games, me on ESPN on my Panasonic television, and Ken on NPSE on his Bizarrovision. (If I keep coming up with golden nuggets like that one, folks, perhaps I too can someday write for Newsday. Or, maybe even the Post! Squeeeee!)
It's like Davidoff's making excuses for the fact - not even mentioned in his article - that Randolph left Soler out to dry on the mound when he obviously had nothing left. I am almost positive that's what Lo Duca was really frustrated about, but took it out on the man who put the nail in the coffin of the pitcher he already knew was cooked.
As for Giambi, he "uttered a few words of support" to Lo Duca? It's like he wasn't even part of the story. Watch the replay on ESPN or Fox Sports or MSG or YES and watch Giambi. I guess "Fuck you Paul" are a few words of support.
Surprisingly, the Mets didn't retaliate by hitting anyone. Not Jorge Posada, the next hitter, and not A-Rod when he came up to bat in the fourth. They must have regretted that decision when Rodriguez singled and scored in the fourth, then drilled a three-run homer in the fifth, off the facade of the unoccupied black seats in centerfield.
Yes, one must truly applaud the Mets for not drilling Jorge Posada in the ear because Alex Rodriguez looked at his friends as he rounded the bases. What great fellas, those scraptacular amazin' Mets!
Davidoff does go on to say that if Rodriguez continues hitting and hitting well it would be better than anyone the Yankees can trade for and that they need him. Truly a revelation that the best player on the team is needed. I bet the Twins need Johan Santana, and the Angels need Vlad Guerrero and the Red Sox need Manny Ramirez (that's right, Ramirez. Ortiz is no where near his league despite what you see on tv and read in your papers).
If Davidoff thinks that was showboating, what does he think of the aforementioned Manny Ramirez? It wasn't that long ago this year where Rodriguez was also thrown under a bus by the New York and Boston media as well as Red Sox players (such as that stalwart citizen of good sportsmanship and the right way to play the game, Josh Beckett and the guy certainly worth trading for an All Star second baseman, Doug Mirabelli) for supposedly showboating on a homerun at Fenway Park. (Screwballs has the history of the event as well as videos of both the Rodriguez and Ramirez homeruns from that game for comparison - fun stuff). Check the youtube version below.
Manny got a pass then.
Lo Duca gets one now for overreaction.
What does Alex Rodriguez have to do over a game or a season in order to get any respect whatsoever from the New York media?
Then, of course, the fans read those papers and prove once again that sheep don't baa, they boo.
This is all not to mention his manager doesn't really support him either:
Joe Torre was asked to identify the Yankees' first-half MVP before last night's Subway Series finale and unintentionally delivered one of the strongest blows yet against Alex Rodriguez - and as opposed to David Justice this was not delivered from a YES-man. Torre not only picked Derek Jeter, citing the shortstop's seasonlong reliability, but named Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Robinson Cano as the rest of the pool from which he was choosing. To be around Torre in 2006 is to know he would have chosen Jorge Posada, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera before Rodriguez, as well. This is the reigning MVP of the whole league we are talking about. Yet, Torre said his picks were based on "consistency" and, "if you look at it, (Rodriguez) has struggled. If you ask him, he'd tell you the same thing."
Strawberry: You're pinch-hitting for me?
Mr. Burns: Yes, you see you're a left-hander and so is the pitcher. If I send up a right-handed batter it's called playing the percentages. It's what smart managers do to win ballgames.
Strawberry: But I hit nine home runs today!
Mr. Burns: You should be very proud of yourself. Sit down.