Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Straw That Stirs the Pot

I'm happy Darryl Strawberry (of all people) had the conviction to come forward and say what needed to be said:
Strawberry: Jeter must embrace A-Rod
By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
December 19, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- Darryl Strawberry thinks the Yankees' clubhouse is beset by bad chemistry that can be cured only one way: Derek Jeter needs to "embrace" Alex Rodriguez.

"They've got to come together," Strawberry said Tuesday. "It's time for them to mend their relationship and get back to, like, OK, let's have some fun. We're here in New York together. We're on the greatest team that we possibly could play on. Let's try to win instead of going separate ways. Because I remember them when they were young and they went to dinner together and they did everything together."

His remarks about the Yankees' chemistry were sparked by questions regarding the return of Andy Pettitte, who played with Strawberry on three of the Yankees' World Series championship teams. Pettitte was in New York for a physical Tuesday, and his contract could be finalized Wednesday.

"Hopefully, it will rub off on the team, guys will get more supportive of each other," Strawberry said. "I think the Yankees' problem is that they just don't support each other enough. I mean, back when I played in those years we were winning, we all supported each other, we all cared for each other. I think they need to get back to that, because the talent is there, but everybody seems like they're going their separate ways."

Rodriguez was booed by fans at times last season, and Strawberry said A-Rod has been treated like "an outsider."

Jeter, the Yankees' captain, has been cool toward A-Rod since a 2001 Esquire article.

At the World Series to accept an award, Jeter was asked whether there was anything he could do to make things easier for Rodriguez.

"What would you like me to do? I'm trying to think," Jeter said. "Well, you're there. You support him. Everyone supports all your teammates at all times. I don't really know if there's anything else I can do. Maybe I'm not that smart."

Strawberry said for Rodriguez to gain acceptance in the Yankees' clubhouse, Jeter must take the lead.

"I hope Jeter would embrace him this year, in spring training, and bring him into the full circle as a part of the Yankee family," Strawberry said. "If Jeter does it, I think everybody else will respond. I hope that works out for him, because once upon a time, they were best of friends and some things happened, which is life. And hopefully they will put those things behind them and hopefully they can come together."

Strawberry said the pair must take it upon themselves to right the Yankees, who despite nine straight AL East titles have not won the World Series since 2000.

"Both of them are leaders and they need to come together as leaders and bring that Yankee team back up to par, because the last few years they've been nowhere in sight," Strawberry said. "It's not about just getting in the first round. When you have talent like that, it's about winning."

While Jeter has won four World Series titles and six AL pennants, Rodriguez has never been to the World Series. Jeter has a .314 average in the postseason, leading in career hits (150) and tying for third in RBIs (48) and fifth in homers (17).

Still, Strawberry said Rodriguez is a two-time AL MVP who has put up impressive regular-season statistics in three seasons with the Yankees.

"OK, so what, he hasn't hit well in the playoffs yet," Strawberry said. "How many years did it take Barry Bonds before he clicked in the playoffs? Think about it. I know he hasn't performed like Jeter has in the playoffs. Jeter's a different breed. There's ice water in his veins. There ain't no pressure on him. He knows he's been there and done that. I just hope they work it out."

Maybe this is finally someone that will wake up Mon Capitán.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 8:56 PM   0 comments


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