A-Rod Agonistes

A couple days ago I posted the equivalent of War & Peace on why the transition from the Yankees as Derek Jeter’s team to A-Rod’s team is so difficult compared to other major star-transitions in Yankee history.  All that verbiage boiled down to this: every other transition (Ruth/Gehrig, Gehrig/DiMaggio, DiMaggio/Mantle, Munson/Jackson) led to immediate post-season success.  Ruth and Gehrig won it all in 6 of the 10 full seasons during which they were both starters and the other three pairings won the World Series in every single season in which they played the entire season together (Gehrig/DiMaggio 3 times, DiMaggio/Mantle once, and Munson/Jackson twice).  A-Rod’s arrival has not brought similar success, so no matter how many records he may break, many die-hard YFs will never be comfortable admitting that he is more important to the Yankees than Derek Jeter no matter how ludicrous the stats may make that sound.  That sentiment – and that post – was all about championships.  This is all about hitting – in the clutch, and not.

In 2008 Alex Rodriguez is once again putting up huge numbers.  He is first in the AL in BA (.322); third in OBP (.402); first in SLG (.599); second in OPS (1.004); and fifth in HR (24).  Yet in every one of his seasons as a Yankee other than 2007 he seems to not come through in the clutch, and certainly in every post-season other than the 2004 ALDS.  Is this a fair assessment?

His 2008 numbers with RISP are .275 BA; .532 OBP; .375 SLG; .907 OPS.  In other words, he is not a black hole – that OBP is impressive – but neither would you guess from those numbers that he is one of the greatest sluggers of his generation let alone of all time.  With RISP and 2 outs he is significantly better (.313 BA; .621 OBP; .500 SLG; 1.121 OPS) and as someone who watches every game those number frankly surprise me a bit as I would have guessed he is worse in such situations.  But the numbers do bear out one of the most widely-held perceptions of A-Rod among YFs – that he compiles his numbers mostly when the game is not on the line.

If you look at A-Rod’s 2008 numbers in tie games, when the Yankees are within 1, 2, 3, or 4 runs, his averages shoot up as the game gets more out of hand:

  • Tie game: .265 BA; .410 OBP; .429 SLG; .838 OPS
  • Within 1 R: .296 BA; .447 OBP; .420 SLG; .866 OPS
  • Within 2 R: .340 BA; .473 OBP; .476 SLG; .949 OPS
  • Within 3 R: .339 BA; .458 OBP; .517 SLG; .975 OPS
  • Within 4 R: .354 BA; .465 OBP; .562 SLG; 1.072 OPS

Now the last figure does not disaggregate for when the Yankees are down by 4 (in which case his monster numbers are most welcome) vs. when they are up by 4, but in late & close situations (7th inning or later with the game tied or within one run), his numbers are especially anemic: .278 BA; .435 OBP; .333 SLG; .768 OPS.  These are the sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-and-pray-that-A-Rod-puts-a-charge-into-one moments and YFs are getting used to slumping back in our chairs disappointingly when they pass.

In his exceptional MVP 2007 season, his late & close numbers were gawdy (.357 BA; .439 OBP; .686 SLG; 1.125 OPS) and from week one he racked up game-winning hits at an Ortizian rate.  It certainly raised hopes that whatever mental issues might have hindered his performance on the big NY stage since his arrival might have finally been washed away.  But 2007 was to be an opt-out year and his numbers this year in tight spots are more reflective of his pre-07 numbers in pinstripes (check out the difference between "Late and Close" and "Larger than a 4-run gap" situations in 2005 and 2006):

In 2004:

  • RISP: .248 BA; .346 OBP; .439 SLG; .785 OPS
  • RISP & 2 out: .206 BA; .308 OBP; .456 SLG; .764 OPS
  • Late & Close: .275 BA; .359 OBP; .438 SLG; .796 OPS
  • Larger than a 4-run gap: .277 BA; .343 OBP; .500 SLG; .843 OPS

In 2005 (MVP year):

  • RISP: .290 BA; .410 OBP; .484 SLG; .894 OPS
  • RISP & 2 out: .302 BA; .429 OBP; .512 SLG; .940 OPS
  • Late & Close: .293; .418; .520 SLG; .938 OPS
  • Larger than a 4-run gap: .354; .456; .646 SLG; 1.102

In 2006:

  • RISP: .302 BA; .431 OBP; .508 SLG; .939 OPS
  • RISP & 2 out: .313 BA; .495 OBP; .475 SLG; .970 OPS
  • Late & Close: .237 BA; .326 OBP; .368  SLG; .694  OPS
  • Larger than a 4-run gap: .351 BA; .429 OBP; .619 SLG; 1.047 OPS

And A-Rod’s cumulative post-season stats as a Yankee over 5 separate October series are terrible for the clean-up hitter on what is perenially one of the best offenses in the league:

Post-season as a Yankee:

  • 24 games; .244 BA; .342 OBP; .436 SLG; .778 OPS

In the end, the 2007 A-Rod may have been the real anomaly, and it may be that a version of the 2004-2006 A-Rod is what we YFs are likely to be watching for the next decade: huge stats getting posted, seemingly unassailable records falling, but not necessarily when the team most needs them.  By comparison, a brief perusal of Derek Jeter’s or David Ortiz’s numbers over the past 5 years reflects quite the opposite: incredibly steady and high performance regardless of the game situation or extraordinarily heightened performace in clutch situations.  I’ll enjoy watching the former as a spectacle and I’ll cheer on A-Rod’s record-breaking as a fan of baseball.  But as a fan of the Yankees, I sure would like to see more of the latter out of A-Rod.  Especially since his next contract year doesn’t get here until 2017.

39 comments… add one
  • > one of the most widely-held perceptions of A-Rod among YFs – that he compiles his numbers mostly when the game is not on the line.
    This is an interesting statement to me because that is the reality that applies to all ballplayers. It’s just that he is so damned good most of the time, on those relatively uncommon occasions when he is in a late game-jeopardy situation at the plate, people demand that he comes through and slam him when he doesn’t, while most other players are held to a more realistic set of expectations.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 12:23 pm
  • “that is the reality that applies to all ballplayers”
    Perhaps I should have said that – aside from 2007 – he does his best work as a Yankee in non-clutch situations. And the less clutch, the better he does.
    That’s not the case with either Jeter or Ortiz over the same ’04-’08 period. Other than 2007, he has been 3rd or 4th best on the Yankees in clutch categories behind the likes of Damon, Jeter, Abreu, and Matsui. Those are all great hitters admittedly. But he is our clean-up hitter and one of the best to ever play the game so I don’t think expecting him to perform equivalently or better than them in those situations is unwarranted.

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 12:35 pm
  • And the less clutch, the better he does
    Good, interesting post, IH.
    Question: How does A-Rod do relative to league average in tight situations? Frankly his numbers this year when within 1/2/3 runs are fantastic. The fact that he does better when the Yankees are rolling isn’t a shock: if they are up by four or more it would imply they are not having much difficulty scoring runs in that specific game.
    As for Jeter’s clutchness, I can only note that in the post-season series over the last several years his average has fluctuated pretty wildly. Starting in 2003 with the ALDS he has gone .429, .233, .346, .316, .200, .333, .500, and .176. It seems like it is all or nothing. More all than nothing, granted, but still. In LCS’s, career-wise, Jeter is hitting a measly .262 with a .744 OPS, that’s well below his career averages. But is he “unclutch”? Nobody ever accuses him of this, despite some real post-season dogs.
    A-Rod has seemingly gotten worse in the post-season as he’s gotten older, but is that because he’s not clutch or just small sample sizes?

    SF August 5, 2008, 12:53 pm
  • “if they are up by four or more it would imply they are not having much difficulty scoring runs in that specific game.”
    I was going to make this point as well, except the 4-run gap also implies they could be losing, which might suggest a different context entirely.

    Nick-YF August 5, 2008, 12:59 pm
  • I agree with SF; quality post.
    > expecting him to perform equivalently or better than them in those situations
    I’ll agree that ARod’s regular season clutch stats betray his general performance and depending on the window picked do not compare well to guys like Jeter and Ortiz. There is the caveat that expecting a better than career overall average performance in a late/close scenario by a batter when they are more likely to be facing the best short-game solution pitcher the opposition can offer is a raised expectation. Also, his clutch numbers are not “terrible”, he just appears more average, which is a terrible thing to be perceived to be at those times when you are a guy like ARod.
    Post-season stats are the apex of cherry picking, ripe for abuse and false conclusions. In a short series, three lucky dinks turns a .200 hitter into a .420 hitter making that batter look like the second coming. At the same time, those batters are facing the three best starters on one of the eight or nine best teams in the league.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 1:04 pm
  • Jeter has been decidedly anti-clutch this season. He is on pace to set a career high in GIDPs and is hitting .280 with RISP (which isnt terrible really) compared to A-Rod’s .322…

    Sam-YF August 5, 2008, 1:04 pm
  • ARod’s numbers across varying leverage situations are consistent.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 1:06 pm
  • In a short series, three lucky dinks turns a .200 hitter into a .420 hitter making that batter look like the second coming. At the same time, those batters are facing the three best starters on one of the eight or nine best teams in the league.
    agreed, Gerb.
    And digging into BR, A-Rod’s clutch stats are, over his career, insanely consistent. I didn’t do the math to isolate his Yankees’ tenure, though, so I’d be curious to know the difference between Seattle and NYC.

    SF August 5, 2008, 1:10 pm
  • > lucky dinks
    Got myself steamed thinking about this. Luis Gonzalez was 6-27 in 2001 in the WS before he hit the most painful, fluky broken bat dink I have ever seen.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 1:10 pm
  • Great post IH! Your statistical data is impressive. But it’s unnecessary for me. I’m not even close to a “stat guy” like some of you…as i’ve said before, I don’t like baseball, just the Yankees, but I know what I see. I watch every single game. I know that ARod chokes. Not always, but most of the time. You know it’s coming. Big spot = K. I think you put it best IH:
    “These are the sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-and-pray-that-A-Rod-puts-a-charge-into-one moments and YFs are getting used to slumping back in our chairs disappointingly when they pass.”
    This sums it up so perfectly. I want to like the guy, I root for him, but at some point this guy has to step up and play like the guy everyone says he is that I, aside from last year, have never seen play???

    krueg August 5, 2008, 1:10 pm
  • “A-Rod’s clutch stats are, over his career, insanely consistent. I didn’t do the math to isolate his Yankees’ tenure, though”
    I totally agree SF – I looked at A-Rod’s career stats and they are incredibly consistent, but his tenure with the Yankees has, other than 2007, reflected a big disparity between close game performance and blow-out performance, esp. late in games, which is why I listed the comparative stats across those situations from each of his years on the team.
    As for Lucky Dinks, isn’t he the White Sox closer?

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 1:19 pm
  • > ARod chokes. Not always, but most of the time.
    But that’s the whole nugget: everyone “chokes” most of the time, but I the more accurate phrase is “gets out.” Close and late: batter “A” gets a hit 6 out of twenty times, while batter “B” hits 7 out of twenty. Batter “B” still chokes most of the time. He looks a far sight better than “A”, especially if both are considered superstars and therefore subject to comparison, but that 1-in-20 difference is the ratio we are talking about, and is what dooms ARod (unfairly, in my opinion) to ignominy.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 1:25 pm
  • > but I the
    but I suggest the

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 1:25 pm
  • I’ll refrain from joining the ARod debate because it’s a busy day at work, but I think it’s a fair assessment that IH has become the Paul of Yankees-posts. Well done.

    Atheose August 5, 2008, 1:31 pm
  • Since we all use OPS+ nowadays, what’s the OPS+ for adjusting these stats? I don’t mean just taking the league average OPS and adjusting it, but adjusting it to the situations to see if it would show anything – if almost everyone is worse in late/clutch/whatever, then it’s not too surprising to see a drop off from ARod..

    Lar August 5, 2008, 1:57 pm
  • As much as I appreciate the complement Atheose, I can’t accept the comparison to Paul for at least two reasons. 1) I don’t want the pressure, and 2) It’s not accurate (and that’s not false modesty). Fact is, I wouldn’t know where to dig up or analyze half the stats Paul does – for instance, I don’t know where to find the answers to SF’s question re: league-average in clutch situations and I don’t have the patience to look for it.
    I am actually much more a Krueg-type fan anyway – I form most of my opinions on impressionistic hunches based on watching every game. I like stat-digging when I have time, but I am not that good at it. And in those terms, I have to say that my impression of A-Rod is that he is one of the mentally weakest superstar athletes I have ever watched. He seems to often over-swing for the fences rather than settle into the moment and rake. He seems to fear failure more than be confident about success. He seems to excel when not much is on the line or when someting happens so fast that he has to react on instinct rather than think about what’s coming These are the kind of unverifiable impressions that tend to drive sabermetric types nuts, and I am full of them.

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 2:12 pm
  • Speaking of which, anyone else hear Greenberg and Olney on the M & M radio show a couple days ago after the interview with Mariano? They went on about how many great athletes are actually motivated by fear of failure but how their impressions of the elite superstars (Jordan, Woods, Ali, Brady, etc.) is that they are on a completely different level on which they don’t seem to consider the possibility of failure and they go into situations supremely confident that they are going to kcik their competitors’ butts. Olney named two baseball players he’d put in that category and they are both Yankees – Mo and Jeter. He went on to say that A-Rod seems very much a fear-of-failure guy.
    For those who think such psychoanlaysis is baloney, it was a waste of 15 minutes of air-time. As for me, I enjoyed (and agreed with) it.

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 2:18 pm
  • “I have to say that my impression of A-Rod is that he is one of the mentally weakest superstar athletes I have ever watched. He seems to often over-swing for the fences rather than settle into the moment and rake. He seems to fear failure more than be confident about success. He seems to excel when not much is on the line or when someting happens so fast that he has to react on instinct rather than think about what’s coming.”
    That sums up my feelings perfectly. I understand that a successful hitter fails 7 out of 10 times but when he gets the 3 hits is what I am talking about. If ARod gets his 3 hits out of 10 when we are way ahead or way behind…it doesn’t matter. ARod is supposedly the best player in the game, so you would think he would at least run into one in a big spot once in awhile but alas…see IH quote above.

    krueg August 5, 2008, 2:33 pm
  • > They went on about how many great athletes are actually motivated by fear of failure
    I have a difficult time agreeing with that concept. I’ll see if the clip is on ESPN and listen, but that sounds completely counter-intuitive.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 2:35 pm
  • I’ll agree to disagree with you guys. “Seems” is where we part ways.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 2:37 pm
  • AG, I guess I would remember the big hits if ARod had any and then it wouldn’t “seem” that he is a choke artist…can’t really remember any this year.

    krueg August 5, 2008, 2:49 pm
  • AG, I think part of the Olney/G-berg bit was based on athletes acknowledging fear of failure as a motivator – they gave a couple examples but one I remember was a pro-bowl o-lineman whose name I forget now (it wasn’t Golic) who said his fear of getting beat was the number one motivator that made him work as hard as he did during the season and in the off-season.

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 3:50 pm
  • I agree with you, Krueg, in that I don’t remember any clincher moments for ARod this year either. And yeah, his late/close numbers at a glance look pretty dismal this season but it’s a really small sample set for everyone involved in that metric.
    Just for fun I looked at ARod’s game logs until I got bored. I made it through the first 16 games of the season but by then already found the center of the tootsie pop. In those 16 games seventh inning or later, he came to bat 19 times. He recorded 8 outs, 6 hits and two walks (one intentional).
    Here are the productive plate appearances:
    4/1 – Bottom 7: Ahead 3-2, leading off against Halladay: single
    Bottom 8: Ahead 3-2, 2 outs, two men on: IBB
    4/2 – Top 7: behind 0-5, runner on 1, no outs: HR
    Bottom 9: behind 2-5, runner on 12, no outs: strikeout swinging
    4/5 – Bottom 8, trailing 1-6, runner on 1, no outs: single
    4/9 – Top 9, trailing 0-4, one out: single
    4/10 – Top 9, leading 4-1, two outs: HR
    4/11 – Top 8, leading 3-1, one out: single
    4/12 – Top 7, trailing 2-4, leading off: walk
    4/14 – Top 7, ahead 7-2, leading off: single
    4/16 – Bottom 8, leading 11-9, 1 out, runner on 1st: ground rules double
    I acknowledge that one may have to argue specific situations to qualify any of the above as “big hits”. I left off the situational line on the outs recorded except for the April 2nd game because it was the clincher: I don’t really don’t vividly recall any of the hits, but found it very curious that I do remember that ninth-inning strikeout. What is also curious is that I don’t remember Giambi and Cano popping out after him in that game. My point is that what I remember and what actually happened may line up from time to time, but the totality of what happened is far larger than my recollection.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 4:03 pm
  • IH, thanks, I’ll definitely look for it. Isn’t the totality of the job of an offensive lineman to “not get beat”?

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 4:06 pm
  • AG: please don’t look all those up for two reasons: 1) you would go insane, and 2) we would probably all turn on ARod when you looked at the full picture!!!

    krueg August 5, 2008, 4:17 pm
  • “Isn’t the totality of the job of an offensive lineman to ‘not get beat'”
    I would only say that on passing plays. I guess you could technically say the same on rushing plays but I don’t think any lineman thinks of that similarly as it is a much more offensive/aggressive act than pass defense. Anyway, I was an OG and when I failed on running plays I never thought of myself getting beat so much as just missing my block. Maybe it’s just semantics.
    As for your point on A-Rod, I very much get the small sample sizes and the heightened expectations around A-Rod. I do. I recall lots of big hits last year starting with the walk-off GS vs. the O’s on a Saturday in early April because I was at that game and it was a thrill.
    And I think some players skate. For instance, I feel like Giambi is the opposite of A-Rod – not putting up very impressive overall numbers but his hits always seem to be in huge spots – and that probably gives him too much credit, esp. given how much he is paid and how weak his overall performance has been. He probably skates more than any Yankee in recent memory and survives based on being a likeable guy and coming up huge periodically, but not nearly as much as that salary would demand.
    But I think 4 out of 5 years with A-Rod performing RELATIVELY (for him) poorly in late and close situations is starting to add up to a not-so-insignificant sample size and I sort of feel the same way about 4 out of 5 October series being mediocre-to-terrible as well, though the sample there is particularly small I know.
    For the record, I’m not one of those boo A-Rod guys. I just have a feeling that we’ll see him break most of the offensive records in the book and yet I’ll never feel about him in the clutch the way I do about Jeter or that I imagine sfs do about Ortiz and I don’t feel like it is all unfair. But perhaps it is. It’s nothing that a single great hot streak in October leading to a championship wouldn’t fix…

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 4:23 pm
  • I’ve been holding back the boos for a few years now…it’s…getting…tougher…every…game!!!

    krueg August 5, 2008, 5:46 pm
  • How many guys on the Yankees went opposite field with a home run off of Jonathan Papelbon last year in a late and close situation?
    I think Gerb has something: we don’t remember the guys around the guy who failed who also failed, mostly because they aren’t that guy. I, like Gerb, think A-Rod is (mostly) unfairly maligned. And I say “mostly” because, as IH has shown, there are some chinks in the armor. But for the most part I believe that A-Rod’s failures are magnified. I also understand why, and am not sure that I find that magnification inexplicable or undeserved. Such is playing baseball in reality and not in a computer simulation.
    As for motivation due to fear of failure, I get that. I’ve spoken in public on numerous occasions, to groups ranging from 50 people to 350 people, including to colleagues far more accomplished then myself. I find the experience, to this day and after many instances, terrifying. And I am completely afraid of doing it poorly. I am told I appear completely comfortable when I speak publicly and belie almost no nervousness, even showing a sense of looseness that seems natural. I am certain that my nerves, my fear of failure, sharpens my delivery and focuses my speaking. I do not write this in order to equate myself with a world-class athlete (hardly!) but rather to express an understanding for the motivations that drive us to excel. As for Olney calling A-Rod a “fear of failure” guy, I find that perhaps a reasonable idea, but to me it is a statement motivated by a possible desire to stigmatize and demean Rodriguez (and, perhaps, elevate other players who don’t necessarily deserve such elevation) despite larger samples which don’t bear that out. Because what people hear when a writer describes A-Rod that way is the “failure” part, and that, to an extent, makes him into a weakling, the cliche of “choke artist” that has taken hold. He is certainly not that. He is a great player, who, if given enough opportunities, will win far more games for the Yankees in the clutch than those who are inferior to him were they given the same opportunity.

    SF August 5, 2008, 5:51 pm
  • Funny thing about sample sizes and entrenched beliefs. Tim Wakefield has/had a reputation as a Yankee killer. He had this reputation far after he started SUCKING ASS against the Yankees. But I have encountered several fans in the past two years who still, because of the foundation set by Wakefield’s mid-career successes against the Yankees, believe that Wake is a Yankee killer. He’s not. He had a run of four years of strong efforts against them from 2001-2004. But some people still don’t get vomitous when they hear that Wake is starting against the Yankees, even though, for the better part of his career, he’s been inarguably AWFUL against them. Embedded mythologies (or, maybe “pseudo-mythologies”, if we believe at least some of the myth if not all of it) are hard to resist once they have momentum.

    SF August 5, 2008, 5:56 pm
  • > entrenched beliefs
    I fell victim to those in the Matt Holliday debates.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 6:24 pm
  • More data for your analysis tonight….

    Dan August 5, 2008, 11:46 pm
  • How can you justify leaving 2007 out of the equation?
    If clutch is something to be harnessed, what happened to Jeter?
    Or Ortiz? (BA, OBP, SLG):
    2004 – Late and close: .324 .380 .634
    2005 – Late and close: .346 .447 .846
    2006 – Late and close: .314 .443 .756
    2007 – Late and close: .263 .371 .395
    2008 – Late and close: .190 .300 .333

    Ben (YF) August 6, 2008, 6:38 am
  • Case in point last night…grounds into the game-ending DP. Garbage.

    krueg August 6, 2008, 9:54 am
  • Copy of Speeding ticket, signed by A-ROD, that became a “Failure to Appear” in court
    http://webofdeception.com/arodspeedingticket.html

    Robert Lewis August 6, 2008, 10:02 am
  • Ben, I didn’t mean to leave 2007 out of the equation. On the contrary, I noted it for A-Rod and acknowledged it as superb. But I couldn’t help but also note that 2007 – by far his best as a Yankee overall and in clutch situations – was also his contract year. Nothing wrong in that – just a fact. But a particualrly pertinent fact if there is any correlation to his impreoved performance (as there often is for players in their contract years) given that A-Rod’s next one won’t come around for another decade and his performance in the other 3+ seasons as a Yankee reflect that he does better the bigger the scoring differential in the game.
    As relatively bad as Ortiz was in 2007 L & C situations, he was superb – and superbly consistent – in close games:
    (BA, OBP, SLG)
    Tie games: .335 .469 .671
    Within 1-R: .325 .446 .593
    Within 2-R: .328 .449 .609
    Within 3-R: .330 .447 .606
    Within 4-R: .331 .446 .616
    > than 4-R: .338 .443 .662
    But I completely acknowledge that you make a good point in exposing that one can cherry-pick stats (which I arguably did in the original post) to make almost any argument. And I completely agree with SF’s point that impressions, once formed, are incredibly enduring things – even when a monster MVP season (that includes the Papelbon HR) stands in complete contrast to the perception that has been set.
    Regardless, as noted in the thread, I don’t think the perception is wholly or even mostly unjustified and, whether or not it is, I don’t think A-Rod sheds it without either re-producing 2007 for multiple years (probably humanly impossible) or has a great October in pinstripes that leads to a championship. It may be completely unfair (I think it is only a little unfair), but I think that’s your lot when you are one of the best to ever play the game and you join a team whose fanbase and media-followers have a dynasty in their not-so-distant memories and a history of seeing the arrival of superstarts followed shortly by additional championship rings.

    IronHorse (yf) August 6, 2008, 10:35 am
  • Okay, but it seems you’re trying to have it both ways. Clutch exists, A-Rod doesn’t usually show it, but he also suffers from perception problems.
    What happened to Jeter’s clutch mojo then?:
    2008 –
    Within 1-R: .253 .297 .365
    Within 2-R: .263 .315 .368
    Within 3-R: .274 .327 .385
    Within 4-R: .275 .329 .384
    > than 4-R: .314 .426 .431

    Ben (YF) August 6, 2008, 10:55 am
  • Agreed though on how he can shed the perception. Still, he gets far worse than Giambi ever has (with half of his contract a total waste b/c he was a PED user) and he arrived right after the dynasty “ended” (according to Olney).
    A-Rod is today’s Joe Dimaggio. Totally amazing as a player, but completely incomprehensible as a public figure.

    Ben (YF) August 6, 2008, 11:02 am
  • On Jeter’s 2008 season, I totally agree with you and I noted this in the “A-Rod’s Team” post I put up last week, essentiallly remarking on how the performance gap between the two of them is getting so large – especially this year – that it is becoming hard to deny that this is A-Rod’s team and not Jeter’s, though I know no YFs who would say that before A-Rod actually wins a ring with the Yankees.
    Jeter’s performance this year is tough to take and it even includes some of the sloppiest base-running I’ve ever seen from him. But again, if you took 80% of Jeter’s time with the Yankees, as I am taking 80% of A-Rod’s time with the team – I think he comes out as having not nearly the disparity in his performance between tight and blow-out games that A-Rod does.
    I don’t know if I’m trying to have it both ways – perhaps. But I don’t see anythign wrong or inconsistent in acknowledging that some expectations of A-Rod are much too extreme while at the same time agreeing with those who say he seems to perform much better when the game is not on the line.
    As for Giambi, yeah – he is the teflon man in a city that I thought had no teflon men on their baseball team. Funny, I always saw Jeter as DiMaggio – totally instinctive and smooth player, airbrushed public persona, seemingly above the fans and untouchable and yet loved rather than resented for it.

    IronHorse (yf) August 6, 2008, 1:38 pm
  • It always looks to me (based on a limited sample of games seen) like A-Rod tries too hard to do too much in these clutch situations; in particular, swinging when he could be walking, as understandably nobody’s eager to really pitch to him.

    dr rick August 10, 2008, 1:59 pm

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.