Friday, March 06, 2009

Sam Borden's Hindsight Hatchet Job

Funny that Borden makes these "great points" right after A-Rod gets injured. Still, in fairness to Borden he has always tried to sell papers by ripping Rodriguez, even before he was fired by the Daily News.

Yankees should have let A-Rod go when they had the chance

By Sam Borden • Journal News columnist • March 6, 2009

Not March 6, 2008, nor January 6th, 2009. Nope, March 6th, 2009, right after the injury.
There is so much we don't know about Alex Rodriguez's hip injury, so much we won't know until Rodriguez makes it through the year and has surgery or slides into second base one day against the Royals and begins writhing in pain.

Suddenly, the season has become a six-month game of Jenga for Rodriguez and the Yankees: Will one more game be what topples him? One more slide? One more hard turn around third base as he heads for home? No one knows and no one can know. But here is what we do know for sure: The Yankees were out. They were out, free and clear of Rodriguez back in 2007, when Rodriguez decided to opt out of his contract. For about three weeks, Rodriguez wasn't the Yankees' problem anymore. Wasn't their PR concern. Wasn't their responsibility. And then Hank Steinbrenner brought Rodriguez back and gave him a 10-year contract, essentially marrying the Yankees to Rodriguez for the rest of his career.
Most free agents with no history of significant injuries after an 11 year career were, at one point, nobody's problem. Then usually a team signs them because they're one of the best fucking ballplayers on the planet.
The way things have gone lately for Rodriguez, you'd have to think the Yankees would probably have preferred Hank spend that $275 million a little differently. Like, say, on vintage turtlenecks and blazers for his dad. Or cigarettes. Or land under the Brooklyn Bridge.

But he didn't. So Rodriguez and his steroid use and poker playing and infidelity and propensity to put his foot in his mouth are the Yankees' problem for the foreseeable future, all of which would have been tolerable enough so long as he continued to be the greatest player in the game.
Infidelity? He's a major league ballplayer, for fuck's sake. It's just that you and your bretheren don't report on other guys cheating on their wives. You know it happens, but Xavier Nady cheating on his wife doesn't sell as many papers as A-Rod.

Borden is really reaching when it comes to the "poker playing." He was one of the douchebags who made that a big deal when he worked for the Daily News tabloid and reported that A-Rod (*gasp*) played poker (*gasp*) in a card room (*oh no!*) without breaking the law (*heavens to betsy!*).

Besides, who cares? The Yankees didn't sign him to have a happy marriage or play keno. He's paid to hit the shit out of a baseball. I mean, it goes without saying that the other stuff you drum up is tolerable is the guy continues to be the best player in baseball. Why does that even have to be said?
That was always the catch. The saving grace. The thing that made it all worthwhile. While the Yankees had to deal with a constant stream of activity from Rodriguez that showed him to be particularly amateurish in many facets of basic human existence, they could at least take solace in the fact that he was incredibly professional at playing baseball. He hit, he ran, he scored runs, he played the field, he won MVPs. Whatever else he did, he generally had a positive influence on the team's on-field results.
Gee, like the reason they signed him in the first place. Sam, do you think the Journal News hired you because of your marriage or your ability to write? (Wait, I think we may actually need to question that one).
That isn't necessarily the case anymore. This hip injury not only puts Rodriguez's season - and, at the risk of being overly dramatic, career - in murkier territory, it also locks the Yankees organization into an elaborate holding pattern predicated on whether or not their third baseman will or will not need an operation before next winter.
Chase Utley just had a similar injury, played through it, and won a ring. So because the dude got injured, the signing in 2007 was a bad move. Genius!
Before, when the stories about Rodriguez had to do with steroids and Madonna and Derek Jeter vs. Jose Reyes, the concern was whether these issues might be a "distraction" for Rodriguez or his teammates. They were potential sideshows, not real baseball issues.
These were your stories, Sam. Sometimes they were manufactered by you and your collegues.
This is a real baseball issue. The Yankees cannot go out and get a new third baseman right now because what if Rodriguez makes it through? What if he's able to play? Are they going to trade for Chone Figgins and then keep him on the bench? Make a smaller deal? Shift players around? It's difficult to shop for something you don't know you actually need.
Yeah it would be awful if the Yankees had a capable backup 3B. Why would they ever want that? (Oh yeah, unlike Sam I don't engage in revisionist history. I told you why they needed one already.) That Charlie Hayes backing up Wade Boggs thing seemed to work out.
That's why they're doing rest and rehab for Rodriguez. Rest and rehab and prayer. Of course, if Rodriguez does aggravate the hip during the season, does need surgery that could keep him out for four months according to GM Brian Cashman, the Yankees know they will then have no leverage in any talks with other teams, meaning they'll have to either overpay or give the third-base job to Cody Ransom, whose biggest accomplishment to date seems to be that someone once filmed him showing off his five-foot vertical leap and then put it on YouTube.
This is why you don't go into a season with Cody Fucking Ransom as your backup.
"We are hoping (Rodriguez) can play with it," Cashman told reporters in Florida yesterday. "That's the gray area, that's what we are all trying to figure out. He's such an asset that we want to try this way first."

In truth, the Yankees have no choice. Losing Rodriguez would be debilitating to their lineup, and this season is too important to shut him down right away.

I dunno... losing A-Rod for March-June and getting him back healthy sounds better to me than a hobbled A-Rod polaying the whole year and being weak down the stretch.
The Yankees need this season for their new stadium; Joe Girardi needs this season for his job; Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera and Johnny Damon need this season because they don't necessarily know how many more chances at a championship season they have left. So they wait. Wait to see if Rodriguez can play a little in spring training. Wait to see if Rodriguez can make it through the first dive for a ball in the hole. Wait to see if Rodriguez can stand up to 162 games with a hip that may feel like it's made of glass.They need Rodriguez. This team needs Rodriguez. Girardi needs him. The Yankees need him. Posada and Mo and Damon need him. But it was dumb of the Yankees to resign him. This is the logic of Sam Borden. That was if anything goes wrong you can always blame A-Rod.
The best-case scenario is the Yankees go into next season with a 34-year-old third baseman who just had major hip surgery. The worst-case is it all comes tumbling down in April or before.

This isn't another gossipy A-Rod story, isn't another two-day news cycle on how he and Jeter aren't soul mates anymore. This isn't a "potential" problem. It's a problem and one that isn't going away any time soon.
Don't worry, Sam. Everyone is familiar with your gossipy stories, and I'm sure we'll have a few more soon enough.
The Yankees were almost free of Rodriguez, almost, nearly on the tippy-tip-tip of getting away from him. Three weeks they got. Three weeks of freedom that somehow turned into 10 years of something else. Normally you'd say the team has control of the player for the length of that contract. With Rodriguez, it somehow feels like it's the other way around.
But the Yankees need him to win a championship. Except when he's injured. Then he's a bum.

How did another paper hire you?

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 9:59 AM   1 comments


At 3/09/2009 10:19 PM, Blogger susan mullen said...

Possibly he had a buddy there who rescued him from well deserved anonymity. Maybe he came cheap. He's reliable if you want certain Yankee players smeared or mischaracterized. He should seek another line of work.


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