Barry Bonds, Tim Duncan, Alex Rodriguez, Peyton Manning and the Skip Bayless Double Standard?

Does Bayless Flip Flop on the Criteria He Uses to Judge Who is Best?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 11th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

When asked on ESPN’s First and Ten on May 6th who is the best baseball player of all time Skip Bayless answered Barry Bonds. He discounted Bonds’ alleged steroid use. He sloughed off that Bonds ” — wasn’t that great in the postseason”.

Here is what Skip has had to say about other great athletes:

On Peyton Manning – He calls him the greatest regular season quarterback of all time but eliminates him from the greatest of all time QB discussion because of his postseason performances.

On Tim Duncan – Includes Tim Duncan on his list of top ten greatest basketball players of all time, and the first factor he mentions as to why is because of the four championship rings he won with the San Antonio Spurs.

On Alex Rodriguez – Before Rodriguez wins a World Series with The New York Yankees, Skip dubs A-Rod as A-Fraud, because of his poor playoff performances.

Now follow me Skip:

  • If Peyton Manning has won a Superbowl MVP…
  • If four NBA championships put Duncan in the conversation…
  • If A-Rod was A-Fraud in your eyes before winning a World Series…

Since Barry Bonds did not win a World Series than how is he not a fraud when his postseason numbers are not any better than A-Rod’s in the same sport? Or comparable with Manning’s for his sport? Not to mention how you discount Lebron James in basketball for what you call his lack of clutch gene.

By your own logic and past arguments how can you rate Bonds the best? Further, it is a gross understatement when you say Bonds was not that great in the postseason. Pre what the consensus was for Bonds’ PED use, he was terrible in the playoffs in his Pittsburgh Pirates days, especially when you apply the stringent standards that you do Skip when talking about superstars in any sport.

At best, if you do want to discount PED use (which I wouldn’t) I can see how you would reach the same conclusion with Bonds that you do with Manning and call him the greatest regular season player you ever saw. Because I don’t discount alleged PED years, I would take Ken Griffey Jr. as my best from Bonds’ era.

For all-time greatest? I’m sticking with The Great Bambino, Babe Ruth. Ruth would have probably hit over 900 home runs but he was too busy accumulating more complete games and shut outs than Pedro Martinez.

Look at it this way, when their careers are done I can see a modern-day debate between Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriquez for who is better. Now imagine one of them pitching and winning over 90 games and having a World Series pitching e.r.a. of under one. Who ya got under those circumstances?

What Babe Ruth accomplished would be like Tom Brady intercepting more passes and running back more punt returns for touchdowns than Deion Sanders.

Ruth is in the “who is the greatest discussion” with just his hitting. His pitching ends the debate for me. It’s to prisoner of the moment to say never as far as what we will or won’t see again in terms of an athlete. But the Babe, and a baseball player that dominant as a pitcher and a hitter tops the list of least likely to ever see again.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

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Why the St. Louis Cardinals Should NOT Resign Albert Pujols

Do You Think the Yankees Would Resign A-Rod If They Could Get a Do Over?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on April 13th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

No one is debating whether or not Albert Pujols is a great, first ballet, hall of famer. He has been great for the city of St. Louis, he’s a champion, and to date he is clear of any performance enhancing drug accusations. But if the money he’s going for after the 2011 season is as rumored, north of 300 million, that is a figure beyond what the Cardinals or any team should offer. Nothing personal Albert, but you’re not worth the risk.

To date the two biggest contracts in the history of the sport have been signed by Alex Rodriguez. No doubt the first time A-Rod was a free agent he was a better player than Pujols is now. A-Rod was younger, faster, had as much power, and was a better defender at a more premium position, shortstop, versus Pujols at first base. How did that contract work out for the Texas Rangers? A-Rod performed, but it financially handicapped the organization. They couldn’t build around him, so they dumped him to the NY Yankees, and ate ten million a year to do so.  And like the Seattle Mariners, Texas improved after he left.

Astonishingly, the Yankees eventually give A-Rod a second long term contract of ten years for 275 million. Not long after, there is the steroid admission, a hip injury requiring surgery and declining numbers.

Consequently I don’t see any fifty home run seasons in A-Rod’s future. Stolen bases? Not so much. Defense? Declining. Home run chase? Who cares? Between Texas and New York you see all the things that can potentially go wrong for a mid market team like St. Louis: Paying too much money to one player, off the field issues, declining skills due to injury and or aging.

A-Rod is the first example but far from the last. Let’s eliminate the everyday players who are clear of a performance enhancing drug connection and show me one that has produced 30 million a year numbers beyond the age of 37. Albert would be into his forties by the end of a ten year deal.

Based on the highest paid players through 2010, ask yourself are these players worth the money they were paid to their teams? Alex Rodriguez (33 m) Derrick Jeter (22.6 m) Mark Tiexera (20.6 m) Johan Santana (20.1 m) Miguel Cabrera (20 m) Carlos Betran (19.4) Ryan Howard (19 m) Carlos Lee (19 m) Alfonso Soriano (19 m) Carlos Zambrano (18.8 m) John Lackey (18.7 m) Manny Ramirez (18.6 m) Torri Hunter (18.5 m) Barry Zito (18.5 m) Maglio Ordonez (17.8 m) Todd Helton (17.7 m) Aramis Ramirez (16.7 m) A. J. Burnett (16.5 m).*

That is eighteen out of the top twenty that were debatably overpaid last season. Do you think all of these players could find a team willing to pay those figures if they were free agents again?

Think the New York Mets would like a do over on the big contracts they gave the injury prone Santana, Beltran, or even Jason Bay or Francisco Rodriquez? Generally, pre free agent numbers are better then post.

Miguel Cabrera is an exception however his off the field alcohol issues add a question mark to him. Plain and simple the odds are stacked that you’re paying for past performance and you will not get value out of a long term deal.

More logic used to justify such a salary for Pujols by analysts like ESPN’s Jon Kruk is that, “well A-Rod has a 275 million dollar contract and Albert is better then A-Rod now so, you know, Albert should get more”. If I walk into a car dealership and the sales agent says to me that the idiot before me paid ten thousand dollars over sticker price for a car that doesn’t mean I will do the same.

A team (the Yankees) that is clearly playing on a different financial field than any other cannot be used to set the market. Nor can the actions of a desperate owner, Tom Hicks of the Texas Rangers, who made a deal that set his team on a path to financial ruin.

Being from New York I am not a Boston Red Sox fan but I respect the way they do business with their players and how they created a climate where players take less money to stay there…they accomplished this by showing fiscal discipline and letting stars like Nomar Garciaparra and Mo Vaughn and Johnny Damon leave. Theo Epstein and company assess the value of a player, don’t get emotional about it and make a take it or leave it offer. Star players like David Ortiz and Jason Varitek have taken less money and or diminished roles to stay a part of Red Sox nation.

If Albert wants to be a “true” Cardinal, and spend his career with one team, let him take a little less and not break your budget. If he wants to go to the Chicago Cubs for some extra coin let him. Don’t be sucked into a bidding war and pay what will handicap you like A-Rod did with Texas.

The Cubs are not about to win even if they sign Pujols. In order for the Red Sox to break through their curse, they needed a juiced up Manny Ramirez (allegedly), David Ortiz, Curt Shilling, Pedro Martinez, Keith Foulke (who was closing like Mariano Rivera that year), Johnny Damon and the rest of the idiots. If the Cubs or anyone pay Pujols three hundred million, they will get the first laugh, but odds are you will get the last.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

The One Problem The A-Rod and Biogenesis 13 Ban Doesn’t Solve

Arodselig

 

 

 

In the absence of seeing the evidence, it does seem like Alex Rodriguez is getting what he deserves.  Same can be said for the rest of the Biogenesis 13.  Commissioner Bud Selig is receiving much kudos for nailing A-Rod and for cleaning up baseball. However, one major hole in all of this is that these players were not busted by drug tests (previously, Ryan Braun was but it got overturned on a technicality).  They were caught by an investigation of a fraudulent clinic, text messages and emails and a rat looking to save his own hide.

One of the reasons, or the main reason we are given as to the length of Rodriguez’s suspension is that he repeatedly used PED’s over three years.  So he used PED’s for three years and didn’t fail one drug test?  What does that say about the efficiency of the major league baseball-testing program?

As fans, are we to believe that only the Biogenesis 13 have been the only recent cheats?  Apparently the cheaters are way ahead of the testing once again.

After an initial lowering of numbers when testing was first implemented, there has been some interesting increase in productivity in certain players again.  It’s as if they now feel comfortable with the testing that is in place and that they know how to get around it.  At least the risk of the 50 game first time suspension is worth the reward of getting a bigger contract… or in the case of an older or fringe player, any contract at all.

I won’t suggest anyone in particular, because I don’t have a morsel of evidence to do so.  But when you look at baseball’s history and the fact that the Biogenesis 13 were not suspended for failing any tests you have wonder, who else is doing it?

No, the chapter, ending with A-Rod doesn’t shut the door on steroids/ PED use in baseball, it keeps it wide open.

Please Stop Making Me Defend A-Rod

Arod

Look if Alex Rodriguez is guilty of all that is alleged against him that I cover in my previous blog, here, than I am all for the 211 game suspension and if possible, him never donning New York Yankee pinstripes again.  Further, if the latest allegation, reported by 60 Minutes, is true and he actually ratted out other players for the purpose of diverting attention from himself, including his own teammate, Francisco Cervelli, and Ryan Braun, than that elevates A-Rod to a new level of sleaze.

However, the key word repeated in the paragraph above is, IF.  Like or disliking, and or wanting something to be true doesn’t make it true.  And it doesn’t eradicate someone’s right under due process or the MLB collective bargaining agreement.

Now some players on the Boston Red Sox, outfielder Jonny Gomes and pitcher John Lackey, and Tampa Bay Rays Evan Longoria and team owner Stuart Sternberg are saying A-Rod shouldn’t get to play while he is appealing his suspension.

Johnlackeybrawl

John Lackey as part of a brawl with the Oakland Athletics. Hmm.

I’m guessing that Gomes, Lackey and Longoria have either been or played with other players who have been suspended and also appealed them.  Did they have a problem with that then?  Other players have been suspended for PED use and appealed it, where were the cries of not allowing them to play during an appeal?

We don’t get to make special rules for players with a more marquis name or whom we may not like.  This is not how the system works.

Maybe in addition to A-Rod, it is also a case of Yankee hating.  When the talk was of suspension, we heard how unfair it was, from Baltimore Oriole manager Buck Showalter, that the Yankees may benefit from saving the money they would have to pay him.  Now that A-Rod is playing we hear it is unfair that pitchers should have to face him.

Sorry, but you can’t make rules for individual players or teams.  Or change rules after the fact depending on who is involved.  However, these situations can inspire change.  

If players and owners want to change the system and make stiffer penalties for PED use, I’ll vote for that.  If they want to take away a players right to appeal a suspension, that one I am not so sure of.

I’ll tell you what, if you’re going to take away a players right to appeal, do it for pitchers who are suspended for beaning a hitter and potentially ruining his season or far worse. 

A beaning is a case where the evidence is far more immediate and evident.  For events such as beaning, or brawls, I’m open to taking away the right of appeal.  But in situations where we need to see and or hear evidence to support allegations, not so much.

Despite the tough talk on A-Rod, I’m guessing Gomes, Lackey and Longoria wouldn’t be so quick to give up their right to appeal, nor do I see the union voting to make that change.

Right now with A-Rod we have strong allegations and leaks of rumored evidence, that if true and provable, I want him gone as much as anyone.  However, for now he deserves to play as much as any head hunting pitcher who has ever appealed his suspension.

 

 

No Deal Between A-Rod and MLB is a Good Thing

Arodselig

I hope Alex Rodriguez gets what he deserves.  That sounds like a loaded statement against A-Rod, but it is not.  If someone is guilty of a crime I want him to get the sentence the crime calls for.  If he is innocent, I want him to go free.  If he is guilty of a lesser crime, than the person should be punished accordingly and in line with what others who have committed the same offense and who have the same history or record.

There are a lot of people out there who do not like Rodriguez.  I’m a Yankee fan who never wanted him to be on the team.  When A-Rod opted out of his contract I was praying for the Yankees to sign a Boston Red Sox free agent, Mike Lowell, so third base could be filled and they could move on from A-Rod.  But alas, they didn’t, and then they signed A-Rod to an absurd extension.

However, not liking someone is not an excuse for not sorting through the facts to reach a fair conclusion, or for abusing power.  It’s not for the state to unilaterally do that to its citizens, nor for Major League Baseball (or management) to do it to players (or workers).

A recent example is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell overreaching in the bounty-gate scandal.  Yes, we need to make football safer for players, and yes bounties are wrong and a rule violation, but in his zeal to make the game safer, Goodell went too far with his punishment and New Orleans Saints players won on appeal.

With performance enhancing drugs, we have an issue where there is seemingly even more agreement that it has to go.  And because Goodell overreached, that doesn’t mean MLB commissioner Bud Selig is currently about to do the same.

belichickgoodell

Bill Belichick & Roger Goodell

The reason I don’t want a deal is because I want the full truth to come out.  When deals get made, the truth often gets lost or filed away with clauses that bind both parties from talking.  Evidence gets locked away.  I still want to know what is on those spy-gate tapes that Roger Goodell destroyed in the New England Patriot scandal.

If A-Rod is guilty of the things being reported:

  • Using steroids for three seasons.
  • Obstructing investigations.
  • Leading other players to use steroids.

Further, that the evidence collected against A-Rod far exceeds what they have collected on others, than the ban being talked about, 214 games, sounds fair to me.  And if A-Rod thinks he has received negative press before, wait until all of this supposed evidence comes out.  It will be unrelenting.  Again if the allegations are true, he will deserve much of the scorn he will receive.

However, if MLB is bluffing and or doesn’t have the evidence, like what happened with Goodell and bounty-gate, than regardless of your feelings for A-Rod, he should be punished accordingly and closer to what the other players are receiving, in the 50 game range.

Further, while he still may be guilty of PED use, if the evidence is not there to punish him to the extent being rumored, there will be some small measure of vindication for A-Rod.  And another reminder to the guilty until proven innocent crowd that judgment should be delayed until the all the facts are in.

Personally, I am rooting for MLB to have the evidence that has been suggested they have.  Ever since 2000 when A-Rod talked smack about Derek Jeter, A-Rod has been on my sh*t list.  He hasn’t earned his way off since.

As a Yankee fan, it would be good for the team, to be rid of him and get the salary relief they would receive from such a suspension.  That is $34 million plus whatever they save in luxury tax money that could be applied elsewhere.  Also, if true I want A-Rod to be exposed for the fraud that he is.  I want all of the evidence to be known.

However, if he is just another steroid user, than he deserves to be evaluated, judged and punished in that context.

 ####

One way or the other, as a result of Biogenesis scandal, I think baseball will increase PED penalties for all.  Which is a good thing.  And I applaud the MLB Union and MLBPA director Michael Weiner for their cooperation on this issue. Rather than the usual close ranks and protect the guilt at all costs because that is what is we do.  By taking the big picture view, the Union is helping to protect its players long-term and protect the integrity of the game.

Why It’s A Bigger Deal When LeBron James Flops or Dwyane Wade Is “Dirty”

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers

Fair or not we expect more from superstars.  Love’em or hate’em, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are stars of the highest order.  (Albeit Wade is past his prime).  We tend to exaggerate their successes and failures.

Another way we judge players of all sports is in how they play the game.  Playing the game, “the right way”, or “the way it is supposed to be played” are two common expressions of coaches and players meant to validate:

  • Hard-nosed play.
  • Physical play.
  • All out effort.
  • Honest way of playing.

True there is also a sports expression that states, “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.”  But that best represents a sentiment from a pre-social media era.  With drug testing, digital technology, and the traditional media no longer in the back pocket of the games, players simply cannot get away with the things they did years ago.

Technically, since flopping is now a fine-able offense, you can say it qualifies as cheating.  And as much as we don’t like cheating, we like it even less when stars do it.  See the reaction when a player like Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens gets suspected of using steroids versus someone like Melky Cabrera actually testing positive for something.

Hypothetically, if a 45-year-old knuckleball pitcher named Phil Niekro got busted for doctoring up a baseball that would be viewed one way.  If Clemens did it?  It would be stop the presses and call into question everything he ever accomplished.  Again, we expect more from superstars.  This is not entirely new.

We admire greatness but feel betrayed by it when it looks to cheat, or for lack of a better word, a weasely advantage.  It was one thing for Vlade Divac or Derek Fisher to be floppers for the Los Angeles Lakers.  It would be another if Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal or Kobe Bryant were habitual floppers.  Just wouldn’t feel right.

LeBron refers to it as a legit strategy.  Forgetting for a moment that it is now a fine-able offense, so is bunting a runner to third base in a critical late game situation in baseball.  If a pitcher or even a leadoff hitter like Brett Gardener does so, we’re excited, but if Alex Rodriguez or Albert Pujols did that in their prime, it would not be greeted with the same enthusiasm.  Plaques aren’t built for bunt sacrifices and floppers.

jordanutahIt was much more satisfying watching the Chicago Bulls win games on Michael Jordan clutch shooting as opposed to if he flopped to draw an offense foul.  MJ, Magic, Bird, Russell, they weren’t known as floppers.  Lebron, do you want that attached to your resume?

Now let’s look at hard fouls/ cheap and or dirty play.  Unless you’re talking about the 80’s bad boy Detroit Pistons led by Isiah Thomas, at best that is a role player function.  Kurt Rambis of the Magic Johnson Lakers, Dennis Rodman with Michael Jordan’s Bulls, and Bruce Bowen for earlier versions of Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs are examples.

dwadeelbowIf Duncan fouled people or executed the cheap shots that Bowen did it would be a bigger deal.  As it is now with seemingly nice guy Dwyane Wade who is slowly building a resume of questionable plays.  Because of his nice guy persona he has enjoyed the benefit of the doubt, but elbows, like the one he threw in game three against Indiana’s Lance Stephenson are starting to add up.

For reasons already well documented, fans already root for the Miami Heat and their not five, not six, not seven proclamation to fail.  Flopping and dirty play only gives them two more reasons to root for them to lose, and minimize them if they win.

As players, James and Wade do so many things the right way and are so talented, they shouldn’t need to flop and or cheap shot to win.

It’s fine for people to trot out the old cliché about only remembering the winner… But with Twitter, Youtube and Facebook, that is not as true as it used to be.

Memo to Commissioner Stern:  Kudos for instituting a fine for flopping, but increase it.

 

Shut Jeter Down Now!

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees - Game One

I don’t want to say it was overly optimistic that Derek Jeter could be in the NY Yankees‘ starting lineup to start the 2013 season.  If it was just Jeter saying so than yes, but I’m assuming the Yankees and Jeter are not taking his medical problems to the free clinic and their doctors are top notch.  If they thought it was possible to likely he could be ready than so be it.  But now reality has come crashing down and Jeter’s ankle is barking.

Barring a pennant race, if this were the middle of the season a team wouldn’t worry about getting a player back before he was ready.  There should be no additional angst because it is opening day.  Even if that opening day is against the Boston Red Sox.

Opening day hysteria is just that, hysteria. All is not necessarily right or wrong with the world if Jeter or any player makes or misses opening day.  Home teams that win openers on walk off home runs usually don’t go on to win world series and it is okay for DJ to miss opening day.

ANGELS YANKEES

And just because Jeter may not be ready for the opener doesn’t mean this is the beginning of the end of Jeter’s career.  I forget, would this be the second or third beginning of the end for Jeter?   Do not count the Captain out!

No, the way this would or could be the beginning of the end for sure is if the Yankees, or Jeter rush himself back.

True, the Yankees are in a bind with all of their other injuries to players like Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez, but Jeter’s injury, yes coupled with his age, cannot and should not be rushed.

To help ensure that this is not the beginning of the end for Jeter, put him on the DL, end any thought of him for opening day and let him continue to focus on proper rehab.

How Much Money Should The NY Yankees Offer Robinson Cano? (Not as much as you’d think)

***The blog below was originally posted on 2/23/13 on: http://sportsnuthub.com/   The site is no longer up so I am re-posting on my personal blog.

canoRobinson Cano may be the best second baseman in baseball.  Robinson Cano may be the best free agent heading into the 2014 season.  Does that mean he is entitled to be the next grossly overpaid athlete?  We know his agent Scott, “who cares what it does to the rest of a team or baseball”, Boras thinks.

As great as he is, I thought the St. Louis Cardinals did the right thing in passing on Albert Pujols.  I outlined a host of issues and other overpaid players prior to Pujols’ free agency here.  (You can now add Joe Mauer to the list.)  It’s just year one, but Pujols’ old team made the playoffs, and his new team, the Los Angeles Angels, did not.

Even by ludicrous standards, as good a player as Cano is, he is more hype than fact if he wants Pujols or Alex Rodriguez  money.  To get an absurd ten-year 225 – 300 million dollar contracts, which is what Boras is rumored to want for Cano, you’ve got to be an elite five-tool player.  Historically great.  Not just the best free agent in a given year who is repped by Scott, “I’ll manipulate a player’s numbers to get insane money” Boras.

And if you’ve been given an opportunity, like Cano has, to bring it in the playoffs, you’d better perform.  At a minimum, an elite star should perform to his regular season standard.  Ideally, he should be taking it to an even higher level and carrying his team for that kind of cheese.

In seven seasons, Cano has hit over 30 home runs one time.  In lefty, hitter friendly Yankee Stadium, that is not exactly the second coming of Babe Ruth.  On the offensively stacked NY Yankees, he has hit over 100 rbi’s, twice.  His career batting average is .308.  That’s better than very good, but not Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs either.  Cano has hit over .320 twice.  No batting titles.  He has 31 stolen bases.  For his career!  He has been caught stealing 27 times.

So, Cano is not a speed guy.  He has some power, hitting over 20 home runs four times, but he is not an elite power guy.  Speed and power would be two of the five very important aforementioned five tools.

Let’s look at Cano’s playoff stats.  Has he carried his team?  No.  He has appeared in fifty-one games, so not a small sample size.  His batting average is .222.  In his lone World Series he hit .136 with no home runs and one RBI.

By comparison, A-Rod, whose contract often gets justifiably ripped, hit .250 in the same World Series and has a career .263 post-season batting average.  Forgetting PED use for moment, A-Rod’s regular season numbers dwarf Cano’s.  A-Rod has won three MVP’s, Cano has never finished higher than third in the voting, (which he did once).  A-Rod wasn’t worth his money and I don’t see Cano being worth that neighborhood either.

jeter

Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t bring this up but Cano doesn’t exactly have Derek Jeter’s reputation for hustle and running out ground balls or fly pops.  Some say, “this is unfair and mention how former Yankee Paul O’Neill was the same way, and it was never talked about with him.”  Paul O’Neill was never asking for the kind of money Cano is rumored to want.  O’Neill was never going to be the face of the franchise.  It’s the difference between how the media and the public scrutinize someone who is running for congress versus running for President.  It’s a higher standard when you’re asking for that kind of contract.

So how much money over how many years should the Yankees offer Cano?  I’d offer him the highest contract in baseball for a second basemen.  Ian Kingsler  currently has that distinction with a five year $70 million deal with a sixth year option that can raise it as high as $82 million or a buyout that makes it worth $75m.  Working off of that, the Yankees should offer Cano five years at $85 million with an option for a sixth year that could raise it to $100 million.  This offer is nothing to sneeze at or apologize for.

I expect Cano will make much more.  He is a solid all-star,  great fielder, good guy, with no off the field issues.  He will garner interest from a few clubs that spend money like its monopoly.  And, “the all you need is one dumb owner” rule is always in play with Scott, I’d rip the teddy bear out of a dying babies hands if I could find that teddy bear a better offer”, Boris.

The Yankees have broken with their tradition of not negotiating new contracts while a player is still under contract because they are wisely trying to change their ways.  They have hit their financial ceiling at the same time that many other clubs are raising theirs.

In other words, the Yankees can’t buy their way out of mistakes like they used to.  Two of those mistakes, A-Rod and Mark Teixeira,  sit on their roster until 2017 and  2016.  The old Yankees could have spent ridiculously on Cano and Curtis Granderson (who will also be a free agent at the end of 2013).  There are rumblings now are that they can’t afford both.

Despite my argument here, I like Cano a lot.  It would be great if Cano could be the next Yankee lifer after Derek Jeter, retires.  But not at the expense of further handicapping the roster with a seven to ten-year north of 25 million per season contract.  Post PED era, giving that to a thirty-one year old all but guarantees you’re not going to get close to value.  And Cano’s peak numbers don’t warrant that kind of money anyway.  Further, by spurning the Yankees in talks now to chase every last dollar in free agency, while it is Cano’s right, it reminds us it is a business and hurts his “true Yankee cred”.

Yankee money, which is no longer limitless, is better off being spread out over pitching, multiple players or even player development.

 

Is The N.Y. Yankee/ Boston Red Sox Rivalry Dying?

***The blog below was originally posted on 2/18/13 on: http://sportsnuthub.com/   The site is no longer up so I am re-posting on my personal blog.

Yankees-Red-SoxHi, my name is Jeff Schubert; I am a lifelong New York Yankee fan, Boston Red Sox hater. (I feel like some sort of support group should over enthusiastically respond, HI JEFF!). Maybe it’s because I’m over 30.  Okay over 35, but the rivalry just doesn’t seem to have the bite it used to.  And we all should have seen it coming.

Thurman Munson & Carlton Fisk

Thurman Munson & Carlton Fisk

Firstly, kudos to the national sports media for keeping it alive as long as it has.  The truth is, since the advent of free agency and players changing teams, the rivalry hit and past its peak in the Thurman Munson / Carlton Fisk days of the 1970’s.

Sure it got a nice spike when Major League Baseball added the wildcard round and we got to see them go head to head in the playoffs.  Yes, I reveled in delight in the Yankees lighting up Pedro Martinez in game seven in the 2003 ALCS.  And yes, I shriveled into a ball in the corner and wept after Boston came back from an unprecedented three games to none hole to beat the Yanks in game seven in the 2004 ALCS .

But the Red Sox winning the World Series was yet another nail in the coffin of the over hyped rivalry.

Winning not one, but two WS last decade, had Red Sox fans deservedly feeling pretty good about themselves.  It went a long way towards soothing their inferiority complex.  And with the fun of being able to chant, “1918”, gone (1918 was last time Boston won a World Series prior to 2004), Yankee fans just went back to rooting for more championships.

The Yanks and Sox compete in the same division and with their history of course the rivalry will never be dead.  However, aside from free agency and the Red Sox finally winning, here are more reasons it is not the same:

  • Former Yankee and Red Sox managers, Joe Torre and Terry Francona, respectively, ushered in a new era of class and respectability from the teams towards each other.
  • They are no longer the only financial bullies on the block.  More teams are generating bigger revenues and spending more.
  • There are more good teams with marquee players and story lines so the media doesn’t spend as much time on the Yankees / Sox as they used to.
  • More competition within the American League East from teams like Tampa, Toronto and Baltimore means spreading the hate a little.
  • Both teams have a combination of internal issues and questions that detract from caring as much about what the other is up to.
  • They play each other so much and the media replays the same stories over and over (Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez getting into, Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer etc) it is just getting old.  And the new players get along too well to spice it up.
Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek gets into it with Alex Rodriguez after Arod gets hit by a pitch by Bronson Arroyo

Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek gets into it with Alex Rodriguez after Arod gets hit by a pitch by Bronson Arroyo

Bobby Valentine had some potential to juice things up.  But while he is a very good baseball analyst, he became kind of a caricature of his asinine managerial self with the Red Sox.  He imploded before he could be any good to the rivalry, or the Sox, and was fired after one season .

Don’t get me wrong, when the two teams play each other it isn’t like playing any other team.  And while the national media may not be devoting as much attention to the rivalry, the local scribes and talking heads still try to instigate and milk it for all it is worth (See Kevin Youklis’ recent harmless comments.)

A major difference today is it used to be that the rivalry was authentic and built from the inside out. The players not liking each other, and the fans and media reacting to that.

Today, the rivalry gets perpetuated, yes from some diehard fans, but mostly from a media infusion that keeps it alive because it is good business to do so.  I choose to not being so easily manipulated by them.

So, Yankees / Red Sox is not dead, it might not even be dying, but it is not the same.  What do you think?

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About The Author:

Jeff Schubert

Formally the host/executive producer of the live web show Filmnut, http://thestream.tv/filmnut, Jeff Schubert now turns his research and writing abilities to sports. In the last couple of years, Schubert started a sports blog on Yahoo and WordPress.  Schubert grew up in New York City where he became a fan of the empire (N.Y Yankees) at an early age. The New York Football Giants would soon become his favorite team lead by his favorite athlete, Phil Simms. His favorite sports are Pro football, baseball, basketball, and tennis. As a blogger, Schubert is no homer. Nor does he just stick to writing about players and teams. Like many other fan of sports, the arrogance the blowhards on TV and radio display gets on his nerves. They think they know more then they really do and they need to be held accountable… And then God said let there be a blogosphere!

Why Mariano Rivera Is The Most Valuable NY Yankee In The Last Forty Years

MriveraNow that Mariano Rivera has announced his retirement it is the right time to start putting in perspective what he has meant to the most storied franchise in all of sports.

Without question he is the most valuable NY Yankee in the last forty years.  You can make arguments for others but for the sake of this blog, I’ll boil it down to Mo versus the Captain, Derek Jeter.

Of course they are both off the charts valuable and the Yankees would not have been the same without either player.  They are winners and class personified on and off the field.

But here is the question:  What do Raul Ibanez, Scott Brosius, Jose Viscaino, Aaron Boone, Luis Sojo, and Chad Curtis all have in common?  They have all gotten huge clutch hits or home runs to win playoff and or World Series games.  I specifically didn’t mention any of the major stars that have done likewise.

And lest you think anyone can get lucky once, Scott Brosius was the World Series MVP in 1998.  True, you can counter that the first of five rings won by Rivera and Jeter, Rivera was the set-up man and the MVP was closer John Wetteland.  Wetteland, already having notched seasons of 43 and 37 saves prior to joining the Yankees was more accomplished than any of the aforementioned hitters.  But as the future unfolded, history now reflects Wettleland was far from a Rivera.

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And while Jeter did win a WS MVP in 2000, (Rivera won his in 1999) there have been plenty of other stars that have helped carry the load.  From Bernie Williams, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Tino Martinez, Darryl Strawberry, and Paul O’Neill, just to name some, Jeter has had a lot of help doing what he does as far as getting to the post season and clutch hits and game winning plays once there.  Rivera has been a part of some great bullpens but for the majority of the current Yankee run, he is the closer.

Personally, I don’t get why closing is so hard.  In the modern-day game it is one lousy inning most of the time.  (Although Mo would often go two in the playoffs.) Clearly it is the pressure.  With apologies to Trevor Hoffman who could not get it done in the postseason, part of the greatness that is Rivera is his unmatched combined consistent greatness in the regular and post season.

As iconic as Jeter is, there have been more consistently great shortstops than closers.  And since there are eight position players, if you have a weak or injured star shortstop you can balance it out with the production of other players (and the DH).  If you don’t have a lock down closer, you can’t hide that weakness.

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In other words, if you replaced Jeter with an average shortstop, you can get offense, defense and leadership from other players.  You replace Rivera with an average closer and you’re not going to win.

If you start a franchise with Mo, you don’t have to worry about closing games for fifteen years.  You start a franchise with Jeter, and your offense is just beginning.  Unlike Bugs Bunny, one position player can’t do it alone.

One of the things that make bad teams worse is not being able to close the games that they are leading in.  One of things that make good teams great and great teams legendary can boil down to the team that has the closer versus the team that doesn’t.

The inability to close puts more pressure on starting pitchers, the offense, everyone.  On the other hand, having “The Hammer of God”, in Rivera, at your disposal, is pretty comforting.  It has a ripple effect beyond the limited innings a closer pitches.

When David Justice came to the Yankees he said, of his Atlanta Brave teams of the nineties, that they would have won four or five championships if they had Rivera.  Even if it meant trading Chipper Jones or any one of the better position players, those Braves teams likely do better than one WS with Rivera.

It must be noted that if Jeter goes on to win more World Series’ after Rivera retires, and surpasses four thousand hits I may have to revisit.