FIRE JOE MORGAN: Mission: Furnish Offices with Attractive Production Assistants and Gift Certificates to Outback Steakhouse


Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

FJM has gone dark for the foreseeable future. Sorry folks. We may post once in a while, but it's pretty much over. You can still e-mail dak, Ken Tremendous, Junior, Matthew Murbles, or Coach.

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Friday, July 28, 2006


Mission: Furnish Offices with Attractive Production Assistants and Gift Certificates to Outback Steakhouse

Boom, HatGuy!

I have to say, HatGuy has incredible timing. July 25, he posts (or updates, at least) an article called "A-Rod is finished as a New York Yankee." July 26, A-Rod homers in an 8-7 ballgame.

Oh, also the article is terrible.

You look at Alex Rodriguez after another failure to produce sitting in the dugout like an exhibit in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and you don’t see the best player in baseball. You see Ed Whitson.

So he's sitting in the dugout ... inanimately? Waxily? He's sitting still, so he can't play baseball anymore? Another one of HatGuy's patented Nonsensical Similes (tm). It's one thing if he pointed out that A-Rod were pouting like Nomar circa 2004, but he's not. He's saying he's a wax figure. Whatever that means.

It’s time to unload him, because once a player gets the Ed Whitson Look, he’s never going to recover.

I love -- love love love -- that A-Rod homered the very next day.

If that sounds drastic, it’s not.

It is. You know what else it is? Let's make a checklist. Knee-jerk? Check. A complete overreaction? Check. Based on nothing but HatGuy's intuition from the two or three times he's seen Alex Rodriguez make a face HatGuy didn't like? Check. Regurgitated? Unoriginal? Stale? Check. Check. Check.

A-Rod isn’t just in a slump. He’s shot. The boos and the headlines and the endless abuse on the talk shows have gotten into his head and set up permanent housekeeping. Naturally a man who wants to please everyone in the worst way, he’s pressing so hard to make it all better he can barely swing the bat.

A-Rod, July of 2006, the month that "isn't just a slump": 6 HR, OPS .932

If that's an A-Rod who "can barely swing the bat," they better hold on to him to see what he can do when he's okay. Unless a middle-aged sportswriter with a penchant for haberdashery has a gut feeling otherwise. If that's the case, trade him for some Single-A prospects.

He’s shot. Toast.

Cf. Hatguy one paragraph ago: "A-Rod isn’t just in a slump. He’s shot." We get it.

Finished as a Yankee, and there’s no sense pretending he can come back and be the man he was advertised to be. He could be that somewhere else, but not in Yankee Stadium, not half a base path across the infield from Derek Jeter, who reminds A-Rod every day simply by taking in oxygen everything he is not, not two bags away from Jason Giambi, who staggered, stumbled, fell, but never stopped being loved because he never lost the knack for getting big hits.

First of all, since when has Jason Giambi ever been loved by Yankee fans? He's certainly not in my Official True Yankee Handbook. They haven't won a championship since he's gotten there, so by definition he's a worse baseball player than Scott Brosius and Joe Girardi.

And secondly:

A-Rod, July 2006 (during the incredible slump that will inevitably force the Yankees to trade him): OPS .932
Derek Jeter, July 2006: OPS .934
Jason Giambi, July 2006: OPS .727

Wanna talk big hits? Let's use FJM's favorite, extremely accurate, infallible statistic, RsBI:

A-Rod, July 2006 (during the summer that will heretofore known as "The Summer A-Rod Was Absolutely, Stunningly Shot"): 18 RsBI
Derek Jeter, July 2006: 13 RsBI
Jason Giambi, July 2006: 17 RsBI

HatGuy goes on to talk about Ed Whitson, and then offers this jaw-dropping paragraph.

Country music fans know what the Ed Whitson Look is. It’s the face of a man whose dog got run over by the Prius-driving liberal who stole his wife, she being the same woman who broke his fishing poles, knocked a hole in the bottom of his bass boat, and took a baseball bat to his truck. It’s the face of that same man sitting at a bar that has just run out of Budweiser and Jack and has nothing left to drink but wine spritzers. And the juke box won’t play anything but hip hop.

There's so much to parse here my brain is about to explode. Keep in mind, HatGuy is now describing the look on the face of a hypothetical person country music fans would be familiar with because it's similar to the look of a mid-80's pitcher who was never that good beause he thinks this pitcher is comparable to Alex Rodriguez, one of the best position players of his generation. Plus he's trading in so many stereotypes it's mind-boggling. A quick rundown:


Drive Priuses (those sissies)

Country Music Fans

Like fishing
Really like bass fishing (haw haw!)
Get drunk in bars
Specifically, by drinking Budweiser and Jack Daniels
Hate wine spritzers (haw!)
Can't stand hip-hop (because you know what kind of people make that music!)

By the way: Ed Whitson, career ERA+: 97. The two years before he played for the Yankees, he was on the Padres. Here's what his ERA+s looked like:

81, 110

Then he went to the Yankees, where of course, this country boy was crushed by the bright lights of the big city. His ERA+ looked like this:


Then, the next year he was traded back to his home in the "country," San Diego. He was awful in both cities. But during the following year, his first full season in San Diego after the trade, assuaged by the kind, gentle, peace-loving southern Californian crowds, he posted an ERA+ of


And that's why Ed Whitson is like A-Rod. Because there's still no proof that they stopped being able to play baseball because they moved to a city with a larger population or more newspapers or anything like that. Ed Whitson had a fairly typical Ed Whitson year his first year in New York. And A-Rod, in his second year as Yankee, had a typical A-Rod year. He was the MVP of the league.

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posted by Junior  # 2:29 PM
Longtime reader Jeff makes a good point. HatGuy wrote:

If he [A-Rod] were making $10 million or even $15 million, the fans wouldn’t care. For the Yankees, that’s just a bit over the average paycheck. But he’s making $25 million, and if he’s going to make $7 million a year more than Jeter, he better be $7 million better than the most popular Yankee since Don Mattingly.

Jeff responds:

"The Yankees are paying Jeter $4 million a year, on average, more than
A-Rod. A-Rod is actually a decent deal for the Yankees."

That sounds about right to me. The Rangers covered 67 million of the 179 million dollars left on A-Rod's deal, leaving the Yankees to pay 112 million over 7 years. That comes out to an average annual value of 16 million. Jeter, meanwhile, signed a ludicrous 189 million dollar, 10 year deal in 2001. But the deal increases in value each year, so right about now he's making 20 million or so a year.

That's an overpay.
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