Friday, January 29, 2016


The vultures chasing Alex Rodriguez got an early start this year. Maybe it’s a slow news week for the Yankees, and ESPN decided to mix it up and create their own news. ESPN New York Yankees writers Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews decided to publish a chatty dialog about the odds that Alex Rodriguez used PED’s last year. If you read it, it’s not a groundbreaking exposition with evidence or analysis. It sounds more like two guys at the bar talking about Alex over a couple of beers. Because if you position it like a casual chat, you're not burdened to do things like, you know, have proof. You can pretty much say whatever you want. They certainly did.

I mean, two hip surgeries, his 40th birthday and basically two years of inactivity and A-Rod was great for three-quarters of the season. My mom taught me a long time ago, if it is too good to be true, it usually is. That said, maybe A-Rod was doing things on the up and up -- but at this point, it would be naive not to at least wonder if he still had some extra help.” Really? This is the kind of stuff you say that sounds believable, hoping the whole time that no one does a fact check. Like the statement about inactivity. As if all of a sudden, he became sedentary and spent the whole time in a rocking chair. Most accounts have it that he worked hard to stay in shape during 2014. His being physically fit and ready to play in 2015 made perfect sense.

The line on older hitters is that bat speed slows down, and you see a drop in productivity. Since he was great for three-quarters of the season, he must have had help. I hate to burst your bubble, Andrew, but at best, that’s an exaggeration. At worst, an outright lie intended to mislead. He was great for the first 10 games of the season, and then again for about 4 weeks between May 7 and June 1. In his first 10 games, he hit .344 with 4 homers in 32 plate appearances. During his second hot streak, he hit .342 with 5 homers in 92 plate appearances. The rest of the time he was good, but not great. He finished the season with a .250 average. Given that he hit .244 in 2013 and .272 in 2012, that’s right about where a 40-year old Alex should be trending. Sorry Andrew.

But what about his hip surgeries? How could he perform without getting hurt unless he was using? I don’t know, maybe the fact that he almost never played the field might have something to do with it. Three times he played the field for seven innings or more – all in April and never on consecutive days. After May 1, he only played the field three times – once for 3 innings and the other two times he played one inning a piece. It was a consistent theme throughout the year, how Alex’s rest was a priority and DH'ing him gave him durability.

Besides all the exaggerations, there’s something else that bothers me about this. These guys are supposed to be serious journalists, working for a serious sports news organization. The fact that they would take a cheap shot at an easy target like Alex is just shameful for a journalist. I say easy target because of Alex’s history with PEDs. That's not an excuse for this kind of behavior. Would they have written this about Derek Jeter? Would they have ever suggested that after missing most of 2013 that his 2014 season was stellar and perhaps he had some help? They would have been crucified, and rightly so!

The fact is that he is a polarizing figure. Some love him and some hate him. Personally, I think he’s a changed man based on how he’s opened up and I wrote about it last year - I'M CONVERTING: I'M AN AROD FAN. I still believe that because he has not given me a reason not to. Nevertheless, if someone is going to write about him in that setting, there is a measure of responsibility that they should accept. Taking a swipe like that, taking advantage of people’s irrational hatred for the man to get the spotlight on their product is bush league. You guys got a bunch of hits on your article. Congratulations.

--Ike Dimitriadis, 
BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon

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