Well, forget the Orioles and the Playoffs because now it’s starting to get personal.
Just the way I like it.
Among my Yankee rooting friends and relatives the reaction to Ibenez’ substitution for ARod and subsequent hitting of both the game tying Home Run, boosting his formerly losing team into extra innings and game winning Home Run on the very first pitch of his next at bat has not only been universal, it has been unanimous.
Why is ARod playing for the Yankees?
Ok, so I’ve cleaned it up a little, seven letters divided into two words beginning with ‘t’ and ‘f’ usually are inserted between “Why” and “is”, but we try and keep it clean for the kiddies and I think you get the picture anyway.
Those people (aka Yankee fans) tend to focus on the depressing statistics- 12 post season at bats so far this year with 1 hit and 7 strikeouts to show for it. ARod’s defenders, and there are a few, point out his regular season OPS (yes, I had to look it up) is 116 points higher tha Derek Jeter’s and over the stellar .900 or higher that “puts the player in the upper echelon of hitters.” Even in post-season ARod is .011 ahead.
One of the flaws of this metric is that it doesn’t mention that the average OPS for all of Major League Baseball is .749 so ARod is a mere .196 better at all than just some random player.
Another flaw is that it ignores what every Yankees fan instinctively knows. The Yankees are not a team built for succeeding in the regular season and making the Playoffs. That is a given. The Yankees are a team of greatness built to win World Series, and over time they’ve been remarkably good at meeting those expectations.
This is what George Steinbrenner, for all his faults, understood that the corporate beaureaucrats at CBS did not. He was willing to do what ever it took within the rules of the game to deliver a consistently winning product.
And that is why ARod is still playing for the Yankees. At the time of his acquisition he was an offensive force that in the hands of any other team would increase their competitive advantage against the Yankees. As a Yankee he may be no asset or even a liability, but at least he’s not out there being a thorn in their side. They paid and will pay way too much for any marginal contribution he has made and they’ll never be able to trade him because no team will take the contract of this washed up has been off their hands and because doing so would be to admit they made a mistake.
Did they make a mistake? Perhaps, but if so one they can easily afford financially. The question is whether the fans can stand to have him around anymore.
The Yankees also buy pitching and tonight they’re sending Phil Hughes (16 – 13, 4.23 ERA) against the Orioles Joe Saunders (9 – 13, 4.07 ERA) but it’s not about the Orioles, it never is until you beat the Yankees.
ARod will bat 5th. Jeter will bat 1st as DH due to leg injuries from a foul tip.