Tom Verducci has posted a very long, interesting article about ARod on SI.com.
Interesting stuff. It doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence that he’s *not* what the critics say he is (a wuss who wilts under pressure).
Then again, I remember him doing great things under pressure, in the playoffs even. Baseball is such a crazy game. Reggie begging a catcher to tell him what was coming? Damn, man.
wow, what a great article. so much insight. i’m an a-rod defender, but i admit there’s a lot not to like. the obsession with his own numbers, self image, money, lack of “clutchness”..etc. but i also still really like the guy as a ball player. it was so hard as a yankee fan, (but also as a baseball fan) to have to watch him slump like that.
i really enjoyed reading about giambi’s thoughts and reactions to what was going on. and some of the other unquoted teammates. I really think this postseason is the time for a-rod to win over the fans. and i think he will.
I also loved that reggie story. nuts.
also, it’s so weird that he could bat over .300 in the postseason this year, but still be derided because he didn’t have a “big” hit. crazy.
man, for his sake i hope he does.
That ia a fascinating article. I almost felt sorry for the poor guy…he’s shy and awkward, and lacks competetive arrogance? Screw that. I hate the jerk. Hell, he wouldn’t even admit he was in a slump.
Could Giambi give himself a pep talk as well?
you hate arod because the sox couldn’t pull off the deal to get him, otherwise you’d be loving him, and making excuses for him…can’t say that i blame you…you must be sick of sour grapes by now…
Personally, I think the most telling point in the article is that ARod makes an effort to get to know the journalists and ask questions about their personal circumstances. By Verducci’s description, this makes for an uncomfortable situation because it is somewhat uncommon for athletes to be inquisitive outside of their own sphere.
One might opine that ARod displays interest to curry favor with the journalist, hoping for a more favorable treatment in whatever piece that author may generate, but without knowing how ARod handles his personal interaction first-hand I think any dismissal of what may be genuine courtesy as cynical. I think ARod comes off as a sensitive guy in a sport that is not used to people being sensitive outside of the spotlight in which they stand; that general defensiveness or recluse by athletes may be sensible, considering where sensitivity has taken Álex.
…excellent point ag…i am a devout yankee fan, but i have a hard time with how i feel about arod…his sensitivity almost seems phony and makes folks feel uncomfortable that someone with such talent would really care about what everyone thinks of him…it’s almost like he’s sucking-up all the time, instead of just letting his playing do the talking…he has not had a horrible year overall, except he’s been inconsistent, and had some glaring defensive miscues…all in all, i’m glad he’s a yankee
> his sensitivity almost seems phony
That’s the crux, isn’t it? How can someone with so much phenomenal, once in a lifetime talent, actually be concerned about what someone else thinks? His numbers should speak for themselves, but they don’t, because writers will not allow that. He isn’t the highest-paid player on his team this year, but his Texas contract keeps getting thrown at him. Erase his name and look at his numbers, and there is no one anywhere that would think that a player that caliber would be considered a detriment.
My guess is that Alex is a really, really smart guy. Just ask him, he will tell you so, and such self-awareness is thrown back as ego instead of being straight-forward when talking about himself. No one has questioned his work ethic, anywhere. Whomever questions his talent is ignoring his compendium of work. The questioning in the article posed by Giambi regarding Torre’s need to address the fact that he needs direct help, that he can’t work through whatever mechanical flaw was going on was a great insight. He has been isolated. Some of that isolation may have been self-inflicted, but not most of it.
…agree….the writers are part of the problem…it’s almost as though they have targeted arod for failure and have fueled the fans ire over his occasional mistakes, in effect magnifying them bigger than they are….by his standards he’s had an off year, he may [or not] bounce back with a phenomenal season next year…i missed the article, but if giambi is annoyed that arod needs special attention, he’s ignoring the fact that he [giambi] got special attention while he got through his own struggles last year, but i get his point, arod seems more needy….
What pissed me off about this article was the timing of it. Sure it had some interesting insights, etc etc, but why make this the cover story now, a couple of weeks before playoffs, especially considering Alex is waaaay out of his slump. It almost seems like a purposeful attempt to distract the team (and Alex, obviously).
YM: the article has been brewing for quite some time. Wordy enough and with a longevity of quotes that shows an substantial amount of research; it’s a cover article which hits stands tomorrow. It’s possible that the release was calculated, but based on the content it seems to be released at a point to draw attention to the Yankees as much as ARod himself.
If anything, I hope it serves as a reference point in a season of personal turmoil that eventually will be a bump in the road; Mo said he has never seen anything like the scrutiny afforded ARod this year. Eight or nine years from now, when he is still getting lambasted for whatever point of relative or real weakness of the moment upon which writers choose to capitalize, and his cumulative stats are seasonAverage*8 summed with his current numbers, baseball fans will remember that they had a chance to watch one of the best to pick up a bat.
YM: to clarify, I think you are right that the article has interesting timing in its release, but it’s because of the fact that the Yankees are now serious contenders for the pennant, not in spite of it. Otherwise, we would be reading an article about Papi, or Ozzie Guillen, or Ron Gardenhire.
My guess is that SI has had several of these articles cooking for a while, and now that NY is a virtual lock for the post-season, it’s the front story that they ran with. Over the next few weeks, the other stories that still have relevance will be re-cooked to reflect the framing of that week. The ones that are burnt out (ala ChiSox) will be cast off.
It’s not a coincidence that ARod turned smoking hot with his bat, and NY has for all intent and purpose a lock on the division when SI chose run the story.
Oh my God. Check out today’s NYPost…Why oh why won’t this story just die?!
Great way to make a living. Rip all the quotes out of an article and all the follow up to the article researched by other people, spin them to make them sour, offer no legitimate insight or original follow up, and publish. Pathetic cut and paste hatchet-job.
I think the thing that hurts him the most is that he can never surpass Jeter. It affects him mentally that it is impossible for him to be the number 1. The amazing thing is is that Jeter is probably the only person in baseball on any team that he can never outshine.
I like it how different news sources refer to the same article. Can you guess which headline belonged with what source?
#1 SPOILED ROTTEN – JASON LEADS CHORUS OF A-ROD BASHERS
#2 SI: Torre, Giambi counseled A-Rod
Third baseman reportedly received help during August slump
#3 Giambi told Torre to get tough on Alex.
Your choices are Yankeees.com, NYPost, & NY Daily News
Among other things, I also thought it was interesting that Reggie thinks he needs to play with more swagger on the field. Americans love a showman, after all.
What I didn’t like was his throwing his teammates under a bus – pointing out how much Moose, Jetes and Giambino earn and also referencing Posada’s 0 for 25 and Jeter’s 0 for 32.
I’m one of the biggest A-Rod defenders out there, but sometimes he really doesn’t help himself.
Sam: agreed. His pointing out those specifics is far from endearing and sounds rather petty.
It would be fair of those who have openly gagged when Curt Schilling talks about how God assists him to have similar reactions now that A-Rod has attributed his rebound from a slump in comparable terms.
I am working my way through this article: very interesting, it seems quite fair so far (I am about 1/3 of the way through it). I find it just a little distasteful that Jason Giambi, an avowed cheater, has the audacity to lecture anyone (specifically Miguel Tejada) on how to play the game “right”.
What I draw from that article is that A-Rod is just as most of us suspect: a self-involved, self-important, world-class narcissist, with some insecurity issues. One who has the best game of anyone on earth, basically. Distill the article and you get:
— a guy whose teammates, on numerous occasions, question whether he is listening to anyone
— a guy who believes that he was helped out of his slump by God
— a guy who still believes himself the victim
— a guy who a teammate, the revered, all-time Yankee God and, most pertinently, the current TEAM CAPTAIN, won’t even publicly praise, even mildly (this is shocking to me, to a great extent)
— a guy who sincerely believes his teammates are upset about the criticism tossed his way when empirical evidence and on-the-record quotations shows exactly the opposite, that they don’t really care and that they think it was deserved
— a guy who remembers that Jeter was 0 for 32 in 2004 in the context of an article about his own slump
The article is good reading, but it is much less flattering than the Gerb makes it out, at least in my opinion.
And P.S. I don’t understand how Verducci turns “the slap” into evidence of A-Rod’s “softer side”. Wow, that’s a stretch. Is Verducci suggesting that he should have elbowed Arroyo in the head? Is that a common thought for even the most thuggish of ballplayers?
The fact that Jeter wouldn’t praise him and had such a lame excuse to justify it was telling to me, as was Verducci’s apology for A-Rod’s slap (his soft side prevented him from bulldozing Arroyo — and apparently running outside the baseline to do it).
Verducci wasn’t fair to A-Rod — he bent over backward for him. It’s not good journalism, even if you feel Rodriguez has been unfairly criticized. He’s got his faults, too, and those should be part of the story, not just glossed over. Oh yeah, except he’s “too nice.” That really counts.
As posted in another thread… What kind of athlete talks about how good-looking he thinks he is?
I mean, this guy just invites ridicule. The picture of him carrying a purse while trying to slap the ball out of Arroyo’s glove in front of an audience of millions is entirely deserved, and emblematic of the, um, man.
And by the way: Sox fans don’t dislike him because the Yankees got him in 2004. We dislike him because he’s proven to be a self-centered diva.
But he does hit solid with an accelerated bat head… at times.
All good points, SF.
I re-read the article with a fresh set of eyes this morning and had a different reaction after reading a couple of things. some of which you have listed above, especially the name dropping when talking about salaries and cold streaks which bothers me much more today than it did yesterday for some reason.
Your take on the slap psychoanalysis is spot-on.
Regarding the belief in teammates: I may be misreading your position, or missed something in the article, but I think he believed that his teammates were supportive of him in that he shouldn’t be outrightly booed on a regular basis by the home fans, not that he believed his teammates thought he was not deserving of legitimate criticism.
You’re right in that much of the article isn’t a flattering read, but it’s not a torpedo attack either. Verducci did a respectable job getting good quotes and for the most part, letting them stand on their own.
“I mean, this guy just invites ridicule. The picture of him carrying a purse while trying to slap the ball out of Arroyo’s glove in front of an audience of millions is entirely deserved, and emblematic of the, um, man.”
You see, this is where I can’t take certain criticisms of A-Rod seriously. Beth posted this a while ago in response to, what I believe, was a similar comment. Why must people resort to sexism to ridicule the man? The oft-emailed photo of A-Rod with a purse during the slap play is sexist and not funny. Call me sensitive, overly pc. I think to harp on A-Rod’s lack of manhood is simple-minded and backwards.
anyway, I think it’s a pretty balanced piece about A-Rod. I don’t think Verducci’s bending over backwards to support or hurt A-Rod. I do think his analysis of the slap play is muddled. As Hudson displayed, the “effeminate” characteristic of the slap has become part of the public dialogue about A-Rod. Some people just thought it was a weak attempt to cheat during a game. Others have connected it to his lack of manliness. Undoubtedly the fact that he slapped the ball (instead of say punching at the ball as Fick did a few years back in the post-season) has influenced the nature of the discussion. But I don’t think the play showed A-Rod’s soft-side. I think it showed the sexist character of a lot of sports fans.
This whole thing has just gone way overboard. This whole devastating slump was an 80 game stretch where Rodriguez batted .257. Give me a freaking break.
So the guy has some social awkwardness issues. Big deal. Giambi comes across worse than Rodriguez, in my opinion.
From that article, the only people who came off as genuine good guys were Mariano, and David Ortiz of all people. Whatever the hell goes on behind closed doors is fine, but why can’t these people just kee their mouth shut? That’s all of them: A-Rod, Giambi, everyone!
…well said, Nick YF….sf’s are bummed because arod is not on their team…once again, they were scooped by the yanks…would arod have been more manly if he punched arroyo in the mouth?….it’s no more a cheap shot than when the “holier than thou” veritek sucker-punched arod [with his stinkin’ catcher’s mask still on] after the pedro beaning 2 years ago…you sf’s still haven’t answered my “giambi still cheating?”, or are you hiding from the truth?…..geez…your guys just haven’t been caught yet.
sf’s are bummed because arod is not on their team
this is an equally lame line of argument to those who think that the “slap” indicates some sort of softness. Personally, I will never regret that A-Rod isn’t on the Sox, simply because the World Series proved he wasn’t necessary for my team to win one. That shouldn’t be very hard to explain and shouldn’t have to be defended.
And stop, please, with the generalization that all SFs don’t like A-Rod or are “bummed” that he isn’t playing in Beantown. I personally marvel at A-Rod – seeing him in person the other night was a thrill, no matter what the uniform and no matter whether I “like” him. Rooting for him to fail against the Red Sox is the same treatment afforded to every player I watch. That’s different than rooting for someone to fail always.
As for Giambi: there’s no evidence he’s still cheating. But he did cheat, probably for a long period of time. I think that colors my perception of him, and I would hope that it would color most everyone’s.
…i respect your comments, but the argument’s not lame…sox did win without arod, as have the yanks…i do believe that some sf’s [i never said all..if i mean all, i’ll say it, ok?] were bummed about arod becoming a yank and not a sox, but not all…and yes, just like i root for the sox not to do well, since it helps the yanks cause, i would expect sf’s to root against the yanks….that’s part of being a fan….to say otherwise is intellectually dishonest…finally, thanks for admitting that giambi may not still be cheating…as you say, there’s no evidence…we don’t know for sure..i’d like to think he’s not, but no one knows who is or isn’t…he wears the “scarlet letter” because he more or less got caught…he’s certainly not the only guilty ballplayer…it would be hard to believe that every team doesn’t have at least one user…even the sox
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