Friday, September 21, 2012

Grandy jogged, Swish preened, and Alex ran: Something happened that needs to be noted

Last night, the Yankees beat the Toronto Santa Clauses 10-7. In the pivotal fourth inning, the Santas bestowed gift upon gift to their south-of-the-border hosts. I would have them back any time. 

The key gift was a roller hit by Curtis Granderson to the secondbaseman, who bobbled it thrice before finally just squeezing the ball like a rattlesnake in a revival tent.  The YES team, perhaps seeking to advance the theory that Grandy's speed forced the mistake - (batting .230, a guy needs every hit he can get) - watched the replay closely. Nope. Grandy was jogging. A hundred eighty strikeouts and out for a jog.

A few batters later, Robbie Cano smacked one to the secondbaseman. This time, the poor sap made the play, and we got to watch another Yankee aimlessly poodle down the line toward first. Nobody mentioned it. Of course, it came after Nick Swisher walloped a grand slam - a great Yankee moment, yep - and watched the arc of the ball almost entirely from the batter's box. It landed about five rows back - key blast, yep - but it was bracing to realize that, after the wretched adversity of August and September, Swish still feels he doesn't need to run hard on a ball that just might have been off the wall. Nope. Stand and watch. Don Mattingly is more than a half-continent away; he's 20 years gone.

We're in a cutthroat pennant race, and our players are jogging.

Let me repeat that: We are in a cutthroat pennant race, and our players are jogging.

Which brings me to Arod. Last night, to end the fourth, Alex smacked one up the middle, stabbed by the pitcher on one hop.  In full view of the play being made,  Alex sprinted to first. On a hopeless out, he ran hard.

Listen: A lot of Yankee fans get down on Alex. He's critics on this site. But it's time to remember that no player should be held responsible for the stupidity of owners. If a billionaire - yes, they are billionaires - wants to shell out excessively for Alex Rodriguez or Yu Darvish or Pedro Feliciano - that is their decision and it is not the players' fault. We have a tendency to forget that - especially when Arod marches to the plate.

Secondly, Yankee fans - most of all - are not supposed be penny-pinchers. Good grief, we are the Yankees. We play to win. We pay to win.  Let the KC Royals whine about how much a player is making.  Let the Redsocks do that. This is New York, folks. We don't negotiate during the season, we sign players who play to win, and we pay them well.

Thirdly... and this is most important.

We are in a killer race. It will go to the wire. We could end up in a one-game season, and if we're lucky to get beyond it, then face Texas in five.  Comrades, it is going to come down to Alex. He is going to have to hit. If he doesn't, we're done.

Let's give the guy credit.  We have never seen him dog it. Look at the superstars out there who become clubhouse cancers. Not Alex. He is, like Jeter, a throwback. He always plays hard. He never jogs. He never stands at home plate and admires his hit.

And somehow, we need to remind other players that we're in a race. 


JM said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.

After last night, we can replace Granderson with BJ Upton and Swisher with anybody who can hit over .270 and hustles. Oh, yeah, maybe that Ichiro guy is available.

Gabe Paul, wishing for Michael Burke's hair said...

Good point, which is easy to forget because Arod's flailings are as irritating as an ingrown toenail. You are correct that the season will probably come down to a handful of Arod at bats. The feeling here is that, regardless of his hustle on comebackers to the mound, he will do just that, groundout or strikeout when the game or the series are on the line. I'd love to be wrong about that, but the guy has always been a little off somewhere close to the place that counts the most. Grandy, Cano and Swisher are all guilty as charged, and boy, it sure would be fun to have a team with a little more youth, scrap and grit. Cespedes and Austin Jackson come to mind.

bennyboy said...

See my post from a few weeks ago. "A-Rod Rises". It always comes down to the A-Rod

coolnewyorker said...

A-Rod has always been irrelevant except notably and solely in 2009.

Yanks lose and win regardless of A-Rod. he hustles, he always does but he is visibly a lineup liability at clean up. Pitchers pitch around Cano 'cuzz they would rather face A-Rod especially in clutch situation.

Cano and company are joggin''cuzz Girardi ain't sayin' nothin'. This is one instance when I'd prefer B. Valentin to manage 'em joggers.

el duque said...

If you want Bobby V in New York, sign the petition!

I wonder how long Ichiro can stay hot? A week? Two? That's asking a lot. But the next month will define his image for a lot of New Yorkers.

Anonymous said...

What does "He's critics on this site." mean?

el duque said...

It's a contraction for he has.